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ENGL6113 Jane Austen's Style

Module Overview

Jane Austen is today indisputably the best-known and most widely read author of the long eighteenth-century. She is increasingly admired as an innovator in her style, although she also drew influence from several precursors and contemporaries. This module invites you to trace the development of Austen’s style and narrative technique alongside works by the most successful writers of her day, such as Ann Radcliffe, Frances Burney, and Maria Edgeworth. The curriculum includes the six completed novels, some of the teenage writings, and her unfinished final novel Sanditon. In addition to reading her fiction closely, you will learn about the Regency publishing world and some of the novelists she most admired, in order to assess the balance between emulation and innovation in her work. The method will be an immersion in Austen’s literary culture, with an emphasis on close analysis of primary texts.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Allow the works of Jane Austen to be understood in relation to the work of influential precursors and contemporaries. • Develop skills in the analysis of literary style and genre. • Introduce a focus on readership and reception, using concepts from prominent literary theorists.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The works of Jane Austen in relation to developments in the literary culture of her time.
  • Key concepts in reception theory.
  • The principles of stylistic and generic analysis.
  • Issues of authorship, readership, and critical discourse in the period c.1750-1820.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Manage your time effectively to meet deadlines.
  • Engage in self-managed research.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Apply the principles of practical criticism to close reading of poetry and fiction.
  • Utilise concepts in reception theory.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Undertake stylistic and generic analysis of literary texts.
  • Reflect on the significance of reception in the understanding of literary texts.
  • Evaluate the works of Jane Austen in the context of changes in literary culture in the period.

Syllabus

Jane Austen is today indisputably the best-known and most widely read author of the long eighteenth-century. She is increasingly admired as an innovator in her style, although she also drew influence from several precursors and contemporaries. This module invites students to trace the development of Austen’s style and narrative technique alongside works by the most successful writers of her day, such as Ann Radcliffe, Frances Burney, and Maria Edgeworth. The curriculum includes the six completed novels, some of the teenage writings, and her unfinished final novel Sanditon. In addition to reading her fiction closely, you will learn about the Regency publishing world and some of the novelists she most admired, in order to assess the balance between emulation and innovation in her work. The method will be an immersion in Austen’s literary culture, with an emphasis on close analysis of primary texts. Our discussions will be informed by the broad historical and literary issues such as contemporary theories of genre, questions regarding literary language, problems of characterisation, plot, and narration. At a conceptual level, reception theory and the notion of intertextuality will be important. The final section of the module gives an opportunity to consider the historicity of taste, as we study Austen’s later published and unpublished fiction with reference to some of the bestsellers of the day. The seminars in the second part of the course will cover Austen’s later and unpublished work, looking at the print culture context, trends in novel production, as well as issues of editing and format. The aim overall is to provide you with expertise on Jane Austen and the literary culture of her time and encourage awareness of historically-specific issues of authorship, readership and critical discourse in the period c.1750-1820.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The course consists of seminars, student presentations and small group teaching. Seminars for the first half of the course will be focused on presentations by students, which will compare in detail formal and thematic features of the works of Austen and of precursors, practising methods of close reading and textual analysis which will be required in the final assignment. Students will have an opportunity to utilise the library collection at Chawton House, in order to examine first editions of works from the course and gain a better awareness of the material aspects of literary culture and reception. Teaching methods include • Tutor-led seminar discussion • Student-led seminar discussion • Guided visit to a rare book collection. Participation on these trips is a requirement for completion of this module. In the event that you have an issue such as a disability or illness that may prevent you from attending these study visits, you should discuss this with the Module Convenor. Wherever reasonably possible, efforts will be made to accommodate you on the trip, or to provide a suitable alternative study activity to substitute for the trip. Learning activities include • Individual study • Preparing and delivering a presentation • Leading seminar discussion • Archival research

TypeHours
Teaching24
Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Frances Burney (1782). Cecilia. 

Brian Southam, ed. (1968). Jane Austen: The Critical Heritage, vol. 1. 

William Deresievicz (2004). Jane Austen and the Romantic Poets. 

Susan Morgan (1980). In the Meantime: Character and Perception in Jane Austen's Fiction. 

Deirdre Shauna Lynch (1998). The Economy of Character: Novels, Market Culture, and the Business of Inner Meaning. 

Jane Austen (1814). Mansfield Park. 

William Cowper (1785). The Task. 

Jane Austen (1817). Sanditon. 

Hans Robert Jauss (1982). Literary History as a Challenge to Literary Theory. Toward an Aesthetic of Reception. ,0 , pp. 0.

Lord Byron (1813). The Giaour. 

Tony Tanner (1986). Jane Austen (. 

Katherine Sutherland (2005). Jane Austen’s Textual Lives: from Aeschylus to Bollywood. 

R. Pascal (1977). The Dual Voice: Free Indirect Speech and its Functioning in the Nineteenth-Century European Novel. 

Samuel Richardson (1753-54). Sir Charles Grandison, extracts. 

Ann Radcliffe (1794). The Mysteries of Udolpho. 

Jane Austen (1818). Persuasion. 

Jane Austen (1811). Sense and Sensibility. 

Anthony Mandal (2007). Jane Austen and the Popular Novel: The Determined Author. 

Samuel Johnson (1750-52). The Rambler, extracts including No. 4. 

Frank W. Bradbrook (1967). Jane Austen and Her Predecessors. 

Jan Fergus (1983). Jane Austen and the Didactic Novel. 

Walter Scott (1814). Waverley. 

Peter Knox-Shaw (2004). Jane Austen and the Enlightenment. 

Jane Austen (1818). Northanger Abbey. 

Maria Edgeworth (1801). Belinda. 

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 100%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments  (4000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Costs

Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Costs for this module should not exceed £40, for books and stationery equipment

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

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