Firstly, I made the ugliest graph in the history of the world, about how irony works in the novels. You definitely have access to this as a resource.
As you know, I’m writing, and continue to write, the course manual (now updated to “current manuscript project,” for me). I’m not sure how directly useful it will be for these exam replacement essays (hereinafter EREs), but it can’t hurt. What follows is some other resources I think you’ll find useful:
Almost exactly as with the Eliot class, there’s a Blackwell Companion full of American “famous” people and a Cambridge companion that, I’ll be honest, I find a bit more engaging. The Blackwell one is longer and has more focused topics—and William Galperin is always worth reading on Austen, I’m finding. (For anyone who wants it, his Historical Jane Austen is the best book I’ve read in the course of preparing the manuscript—but it’s really, really difficult, and it produces the kind of payoff that might not help with a short essay.)
Jenny Davidson’s Reading Jane Austen is really strong, if you want an overall guide to the novels and letters. There’s a particularly good section on the letters, as I remember.
You also have access, although it’s not up on the library website, to Deborah Kaplan’s Jane Austen Among Women. This is the most truly novel account of Austen’s historical context that I’ve read in a while—in particular, talking about how her novels evolved out of the world of women’s private letters. I hadn’t read this, and I’ll teach certain things differently after reading it—I recommend it because it’s interesting, not entirely sure if you’ll find it instrumentally useful to the essays:
Also, Robert Hume’s essay “Money in Jane Austen” is in its way perfect, a short piece that will totally reframe how you consider certain aspects of the novels—it makes Elinor Dashwood seem more Kardashian than you may have realized she was:
Finally, no clue how this is, but it’s famous, supposed to be excellent, and written by the person with the tightest name (“Alistair Duckworth”) in the history of Austen criticism:
Update, 25 April:
It speaks volumes about my life in lockdown that the most exciting thing that's happened today is finding that Claudia Johnson's Jane Austen: Women, Politics, and the Novel is available online. We take our euphorias where we can find them:
Given the short length of these EREs, I actually wouldn’t recommend a ton of scholarship past here—you know how to look for things that you need, in MUSE and JSTOR, should needs arise. I’m here to help, too, by email or MS Teams.