Jane Austen and her Contemporaries
Mandatory Screenings each week on Monday evening, 6:30-9:30
This freshman seminar provides students with an introduction to studying English at the university level through the study of a single author: Jane Austen. At once acutely aware of her culture and a product of it, Austen read and wrote in popular forms, from Gothic horror to raucous satire. Her love of popular theater enters into her work constantly. Her gift for writing dialogue has produced successful screen adaptations of every one of her novels.
During the semester, we'll read four of Austen's novels, most likely Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion. We'll also read her contemporaries (Fanny Burney, Lord Byron, Maria Edgeworth, Ann Radcliffe, and Walter Scott) as well as seeing a number of screen adaptations, from faithful adaptions of her novels to films like Clueless and Bride and Prejudice. As this will be a real introductory research seminar, part of our aim will be learning what it means to do real literary research and to make the kinds of interpretations and interventions that professional critics make. Required work: three responses, two short assignments, two essays, and either a final examination or a final project.