Jane Austen and Popular Culture
This course provides students with an introduction to English through the study of a single author: Jane Austen. At once acutely aware of popular culture and a product of it, Austen read and wrote in popular forms, from Gothic horror to raucous satire to popular theater. During the semester, we'll read four or five of Austen's novels, certainly Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Emma. While the first few weeks of the course will look at Austen through the popular culture of her own time, we'll turn pretty quickly to Austen as contemporary pop phenomenon. We'll read of the soldiers during the first world war who read her obsessively in the trenches, as well as of the fans who have made the Austen film industry possible. Required work: three responses, two essays, and a final examination.