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EN3A4 Austen in Theory

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austenmoney

This module pairs slow and sustained readings of Austen’s primary novels with extended readings in the culture of what we call “theory,” both eighteenth century and contemporary (post-1995). Beginning with Marilyn Butler’s Jane Austen and the War of Ideas (1975), we will situate Austen’s novels securely within intellectual history. A particular focus will be how novels can be sources of freestanding ideas; and then, in turn, how freestanding ideas can give structure to plots and characters within the novel itself.

More information: full-year module, 30 CATS. Evaluation 50/50: choice of two papers (3,500 words) or one paper (3,500 words) and one exam. Seminars meet once a week for 90 minutes, and there will be four lectures over the course of the year, weeks TBD, addressing major course themes.

Outline Syllabus (subject to change)

Dear students: I'm starting to populate the module page with links to the readings. I would recommend buying your own copies of the Hume and Smith--these are dense books, which you will need to read slowly and carefully.


Term One: Austen in Theory, 1790-1810
Week, Primary Text (Secondary Reading)

1: Marilyn Butler, Jane Austen and the War of Ideas

2: Sense and Sensibility (David Hume, "On the Origin of Ideas" (from the Enquiry))

3: Sense and Sensibility (Hume, "On the Standard of Taste")

4: Sense and Sensibility (Adam Smith)

5: Pride and Prejudice (Smith)

7: Pride and Prejudice (Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, first half)

8: Pride and Prejudice (Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, second half)

9: Mansfield Park (Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France, 1-74)

10: Mansfield Park (Burke, Reflections, 75-105, 204-end)

Term Two: Austen in Theory, 1995-Present
1: Mansfield Park (Postcolonialism: Edward Said and Gayatri Spivak)

2: Emma (Structuralism and high deconstruction: Ferdinand de Saussure and Jaques Derrida)

3: Emma (Michael Foucault)

4: Emma (Poststructuralism feminism: Irigaray and Cixous)

5: Persuasion (Cultural Marxism: Raymond Williams and Fredric Jameson)

7: Persuasion (Slavoj Zizek)

8: Persuasion (ANT: Bruno Latour)

9: Lady Susan (Performative feminism: Judith Butler)

10: Lady Susan, course wrap-up