About this course

From Clueless and Bridget Jones to Becoming Jane, Jane Austen continues to exert a powerful influence on popular culture. This course will explore how Austen's acute social observations of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries live on into the twenty-first. It is structured as a chronological survey of all six major novels, from the youthful optimism of Northanger Abbey, through to the cool irony and narrative games of Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Emma, and the experimental style of Persuasion. Seminars will combine close reading - analysis of Austen's narrative technique, her use of parody, irony, and free indirect discourse, for instance - with thorough historical and literary contextualisation. We'll also discuss re-interpretations of Austen, using a wide range of texts and films, both academic and popular - from postcolonial readings of Mansfield Park to The Jane Austen Guide to Dating and Bollywood.

Walks around the streets of Bath featured in the novels allow a unique insight into Austen’s social dynamics. A study trip takes us to Jane Austen’s home at Chawton in Hampshire, and to the Chawton Library research centre, established to promote women’s writing of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (tbc).


Check with your home institution for specific information on fulfillment of major / course requirements.