Jane Austen and Material Culture - EN895

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2017-18 2018-19
Canterbury
(version 2)
Spring
View Timetable
7 30 (15) DR JE Di Placidi

Pre-requisites

None

Restrictions

None

2017-18

Overview

Austen makes a particularly interesting subject for advanced study because her work is both widely enjoyed and the focus of much specialist academic work. The Austen of the (feminist) academy is often initially unrecognisable to the general (´feminine´) reader, and part of the project of this module is to explore the gap between these kinds of reading through the medium of material culture. ´Material Culture Studies´, focussing on the function and significance of physical objects in literary texts, has been increasingly important to scholars of the long eighteenth century in the last decade, and this approach raises questions that are especially pertinent to readings of Austen´s fiction. Is domesticity a trap or a refuge? Does the female body require liberation or control? Is material wealth the realisation of every woman´s dream or the basis of moral corruption? Is the 'improvement' of landscapes and estates a sign of culture or of arrogance? Approaching Austen´s writing through the objects which populate her fiction, we will situate these questions in relation to modern literary criticism and the unfamiliarity of early nineteenth-century artefacts.

Details

This module appears in:


Contact hours

10 weekly 2-hour seminars

Method of assessment

5,000 word coursework assignment

Preliminary reading

Jane Austen, Emma (1816); Northanger Abbey (1817); Pride and Prejudice (1813); Mansfield Park (1814); Persuasion (1817); Sanditon (composed 1817); Sense and Sensibility (1811)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

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