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Jane Austen

ENGL 255.601
T 5:30-8:30
Benn 322

Readers of Jane Austen sometimes resemble addicts, and addiction has no prejudice, affecting men and women, young and old; Janeites are nothing if not diverse. During World War I, Austen's novels were immensely popular with the soldiers who read to remind themselves of the home they protected. Along with bandages and morphine, Jane was prescribed as a therapy for recovery from the stresses of war. The way we read Austen today is no less therapeutic, and no less addict-like. Reading groups, social clubs, and of course film adaptations make Jane into a cult-like figure, complete with action figures and board games. Our course will conduct itself not only as a study of Austen's novels, but as a study of the criticism, reinterpretation, and appropriation of these texts. We will seek to understand the way her novels bridge audiences ­ male or female, in war or at peace, young or old, highbrow or low. At a minimum, we will read Austen's major novels, several key critical works, and will screen a handful of film adaptations. Students can expect two shorter papers and a longer, research-based work.

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