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Winchester Cathedral interior
Winchester Cathedral

Cassandra Austen's grave marker, Chawton
Cassandra Austen's grave, Chawton

Jane Austen's grave marker - Winchester Cathedral
Jane Austen's grave-Winchester Cathedral

Jane Austen's house - on a rainy day
Jane Austen's house - a rainy day

Winchester Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral


Lock of Jane Austen's hair

E101w | Austen | Spring 2015

In describing her own method as a novelist, Austen wrote that she worked on a “little bit (two inches wide) of ivory  . . . with so fine a brush as produces little effect after much labour.”  Sir Walter Scott commented that although he could do “the big Bow-Wow strain” of novels very well, Austen had an “exquisite touch which renders ordinary common-place things and characters interesting.”  Modern critics have written variously of her “regulated hatred,” her conservative propaganda, and her often skeptical view of social conventions.  In this E101w, we will read three of Austen’s six completed novels in the order of their publication; biographical material on Austen; historical material on the period; and numerous critical works. We will consider many, often conflicting, views of her work and ask questions both about her novelistic practice and about the social problems that her novels engage.  Our course is writing intensive and satisfies the upper-division writing requirement.
|| Although we will read various kinds of Austen criticism, our general approach will emphasize cultural history and feminism.




Week #1

March 31 (Tues.)

 Introduction to course

Discussion: Sense & Sensibility (1811)
Please read to p. 75 of the Broadview edition for the first class session (tha's to the end of ch. 21).

April 2 (Thurs.)

If your last name begins with letters A-H, write a close analysis of a section of Sense and Sensibility on our course message board. See close analysis assignments. OR SELECT A SECTION YOURSELF AND WRITE A CLOSE ANALYSIS. Please post your entry by 5:00 p.m. on Wed., April 1 so that other students can read it.

Discussion: Sense & Sensibility

Repton on landscape gardens (See Broadview text.)

Week #2

April 7 (Tues.)

Discussion: Sense & Sensibility

Read and be prepared to discuss Edward Copeland, "What's a Competence? Jane Austen, Her Sister Novelists, and the 5%'s."
| | | What are Copeland's main points? What's so shocking about Austen's concern for money?

If your last name begins with "K" to "Z," write in response to one of these two questions. Please post by 5:00 p.m., Mon., Aril 6.

April 9 (Thurs.)

Discussion: Sense & Sensibility

Anyone who wants to should write an entry on Galperin's article.

Free, indirect discourse

Week #3

April 14

 Discussion: Mansfield Park (1814)

Where is Antigua?

Does Copeland's article apply to MP?
What does the title of the novel mean?

April 16

 Discussion: Mansfield Park

Jane Austen and Antigua

Discussion of Edward Said’s and Susan Fraiman’s articles to prepare for Short Paper assignment

Said and Fraiman - SQ - supportive material for writing short paper

Week #4

 April 21

Discussion of Mansfield Park
Reading Fraiman
Continued Discussion of articles for Paper #1

April 23

PAPER #1 is due today or tomorrow (April 24) or Monday, April 27.
My office hours on Thursday (April 23) should allow review of drafts if you'd like.

Discussion: Mansfield Park

Week #5

April 28

Discussion: Persuasion (1817)
What does the title mean?

April 30

Look up and bring to class abstracts of articles on Austen (look for articles that focus attention on one or two of our 3 novels).

Supportive quotations for "reading against" Austen

Week #6


Everyone should now be writing on the "Writing Thoughts" page.


May 7 Persuasion
Week #7

May 12

 Each student should present 3 abstracts of interesting articles on the message board and choose one for presentation in class.

May 14 Discussion of paper topics.
Week #8

May 19


Presentation of theses in class and abstracts on the messageboard

Lunch at my house

May 21

Continued discussion of theses and beginnings

Week #9

 May 26


DRAFTS due. Each student should bring to class 3 copies of the draft (one for AJVS and 2 for peer readers)

By 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 25, please mail draft comments to the students whose drafts you are reading.

May 28 Peer Conferences 8:00-9:15 and 12:30-------(no regular class session); no regular office hours.
Week #10

June 2 H R


Discussion of Austen criticism: What have you found most helpful?

June 4


Paper due with commentary


You could not shock her more than she shocks me;
        Beside her Joyce seems innocent as grass.
It makes me most uncomfortable to see
        An English spinster of the middle class
        Describe the amorous effects of 'brass',
Reveal so frankly and with such sobriety
The economic basis of society.

--W.H. Auden