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Jane Austen's Feminisms

ENGL 255.301
instructor(s):
fulfills requirements:
Sector 5: 19th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Pre-1900 Seminar Requirement of the Standard Major
Elective Seminar of the Standard Major

 

In this class, we will read a selection of Austen’s six completed novels together through the lens of gender and sexuality, asking how we might go about reading Austen’s feminisms in their own time as well as our own.  Can we use contemporary critical theories of gender and sexuality to discern or describe the politics of literary texts from the past?  And to what extent might such a project be compatible with the historicist imperative to remain sensitive to the contextual specificity of literary works?  Over the course of the semester, we will read selections from modern feminist theory, as well as samples of more traditional critical approaches to Austen’s canon. We will also consider 20th and 21st-century film adaptations of Austen’s works in order to explore our course’s guiding questions of critical anachronism in another key.