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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Summer 2009

E s379M • Jane Austen on Location-- England

Unique Days Time Location Instructor

Bertelsen, L

Course Description

Please refer to the course schedule for course days, time, room location, prerequisites and possible cross-listings:

This class reads four novels by Jane Austen in the context of the real-world locations that served as settings for her stories and her life. We will read Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Persuasion, and visit the estates and towns featured in these fictions. Like the heroine Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice, we will tour rich country estates and extant eighteenth-century gardens, particularly those of Blenheim, Prior Park and Stourhead. In the century prior to the publication of Austen's works, British landscape architecture changed dramatically—as the manicured French-inspired symmetrical garden, with its clipped hedges, fountains, and mazes, gave way to the sweeping sheep-dotted vistas of Capability Brown. Austen's novels comment on how these aesthetic alterations to the landscape reflect moral, religious, and political changes in British culture. On field trips and in the environs of Oxford, we will chart these changes as well as exploring the significance of more urban environments in her work. Northanger Abbey and Persuasion both feature the city of Bath, where Austen and her family lived for many years and where we will spend an entire day. Persuasion is particularly eloquent about the land and seascapes of Lyme Regis, where Austen once holidayed, and the importance of the Royal Navy, in which two of her brothers served as officers. We will visit Lyme, with its striking cliffs and the famous curving breakwater called "The Cobb," and, on another trip, we will travel through Hampshire to the village of Chawton, where Jane Austen's former home is now a museum. Throughout the course, we will spend as much time as possible outdoors—reconstructing both Austen's real world and her imagined one.

Further Austen-related locales (plus details about some of the ones mentioned above) can be found at

Grading Policy

3 research reports of 2 pages each on PERSON, PLACE, AND THING (20% each); 2 interpretive essays of 2 pages each (15 % each); Participation and attendance (10%)


Note: under no circumstances purchase the all-in-one Penguin edition of Austen's novels. Northanger Abbey, Marilyn Butler, ed. (Penguin, 2003); Sense and Sensibility, Ross Ballaster, ed. (Penguin, 2003); Pride and Prejudice, Donald Gray (Norton Critical 3rd ed., 2001); Persuasion, Linda Bree, ed. (Broadview, 1998) or Gillian Beer, ed. (Penguin, 2003)


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