About this course

Austen reputedly fainted on hearing that her family would move to Bath in 1801. Scholars have argued about her reaction: was it joy or horror? Certainly, the experience of living in the 'city of manners' marked her writing deeply. Bath itself features as the rational counterpart to the Gothic horrors of Northanger Abbey, while its social life provides the medium to bring estranged lovers together in Persuasion.

Alongside close reading of the key Austen texts - Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Persuasion - we will consider the social and historical context of her work. Each week, the seminars will be split between literary analysis of Austen's lively style, and study trips in and around Bath. As we uncover the double meanings of her novels, with their saucy word-play and counterplots, we will explore hidden aspects of eighteenth-century society, visiting the Assembly Rooms and a country estate at Prior Park.

While gaining a unique insight into Austen's historical context, living in Bath and walking around the streets she has helped to make famous, we'll also consider why and how Austen lives into the twenty-first century, and continues to exert an influence on popular culture - from Clueless to The Jane Austen Guide to Dating.

Professor: ASE Faculty (any queries to admin@asebath.org)


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