Lecture: Thursday 6pm (weeks 4 and 8 of each term)
Seminars: Wednesday 9:30-11am; 11-12:30pm
CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION VIDEO
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.
Dear students: Please note that you will be responsible for bringing a legible version of these texts to class with you, and on something larger than a cell phone screen. I would also recommend buying your own copies of the Hume and Smith--these are dense books, which you will need to read slowly and carefully.
Mandatory Primary Texts (on order at bookstore):
Austen, Jane. Persuasion (OUP, 2004).
---. Mansfield Park (OUP, 2008)
---. Northanger Abbey, Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon (OUP, 2008)
---. Pride and Prejudice (OUP, 2008)
---. Sense and Sensiblity (OUP, 2008)
Butler, Marilyn. Jane Austen and the War of Ideas (OUP, 1987).
Term One: Austen in Theory, 1790-1810
Week, Primary Text (Secondary Reading)
2: Sense and Sensibility (David Hume, "On the Origin of Ideas" (from the Enquiry)
(A note: this week’s class will need to be rescheduled—the instructor is away at a conference. Rescheduling to take place in class during week one. Students should come to class in week three having read S&S and the Hume “Taste” as scheduled for week three; there will be two classes, one as scheduled and one as rescheduled, during week four.)
3: Sense and Sensibility (Hume, "On the Standard of Taste")
4: Sense and Sensibility (Adam Smith, from the Moral Sentiments)
5: Pride and Prejudice (Smith, from the Moral Sentiments)
*N.b.: I've decided to do two weeks on the Moral Sentiments, at least in terms of the readings. I'll be summarizing The Wealth of Nations in class.)
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, from Culture and Imperialism, particularly "Jane Austen and Empire"; and Gayatri Spivak, "Four Women's Texts and a Critique of Imperialism")
3: Emma (Cultural Marxism: Raymond Williams, from The Country and the City; and Fredric Jameson)
5: Persuasion (Performative feminism: Judith Butler, "Bodily Inscriptions, Performative Subversions")
8: Persuasion (Slavoz Zizek, from The Sublime Object of Ideology)
9: Lady Susan (from D.A. Miller, Jane Austen; or, the Secret of Style)
10: Lady Susan, course wrap-up (Michel Foucault, "What is an author?")