It is a truth almost universally acknowledged that Jane Austen (1775-1817) is the greatest novelist in the English language. This course will give students an opportunity to read all of her six completed novels and to develop a comprehensive understanding of her fiction. Her novels are of course unrivalled in the accuracy with which she depicts the society of her time, but the enduring power of her fiction lies more in the psychological depth of her characterization: reading Austen gives us insight into who we are as well as who she was.
This course will be run as a seminar with a focus on close reading of her six novels. Austen demands to be read with attention, and we will give her work the attention it deserves. There will be no final exam and no quizzes in the course. The written work for the course will be a series of short papers due across the semester, one each on the first five of her novels, and a final paper comparing one of her novels to one of the myriad of film or television adaptations.
Given the continuation of the pandemic, this course will be a synchronous course taught on-line.