Information below is for the 2017-18 session.
OverviewAusten 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.
This module appears in:
10 weekly 2-hour seminars
Method of assessment
5,000 word coursework assignment
Jane Austen, Emma (1816); Northanger Abbey (1817); Pride and Prejudice (1813); Mansfield Park (1814); Persuasion (1817); Sanditon (composed 1817); Sense and Sensibility (1811)