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Jane Austen is one of the most popular English authors ever, her novels, written in the early 19th century and focussing on love, courtship and marriage, still selling widely. While she features both as a canonical textbook author and the subject of recent popular films, Austen has inspired and continues to inspire academic controversies reflecting paradigmatic shifts in literary studies such as feminism and postcolonialism. In particular, critics have discussed the presence of the larger world in novels which apparently confine themselves to the domestic sphere of the rural gentry only. In view of these critical issues, we shall study a selection of Jane Austen's novels in their literary and cultural contexts. By way of intermedial comparison, we shall also look at a couple of film versions.
1. Sense and Sensibility (Norton Critical Edition)
2. Mansfield Park (Norton Critical Edition)
3. Pride and Prejudice (Norton Critical Edition)
4. Persuasion (Norton Critical Edition).
Participants are asked to be in possession of and have read Sense and Sensibility (Norton Critical Edition) by the beginning of term.