Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, Final Projects

We’re going to read NA and MP and continue our discussions of the final project.

As you read NA or MP, think about Austen’s relation to the sentimental or didactic models of reading represented by Richardson or Burney. If there’s a “reformation” or “correction” of the heroine/coquet, how does it happen? What role does literary reading play in this process? What (or who) are the obstacles to the heroine’s pursuit of self-knowledge and agency?

As you read MP, think about the differences in the depictions of the West Indies and the slave trade between the Woman of Colour (1808) and MP. What representational choices did Austen make that Anon. did differently? What implications would you draw from those choices?

We’ll also discuss the differences between this heroine and her story and the earlier fiction. Whatever other issues you find of interest please bring to class for us to discuss.

As for the final project, I’d like you each to put into the comments some kind of status report about the emerging topic. It could take a number of different forms:

  • a formal proposal, including authors and works, topic, and a few potential scholarly secondary sources;
  • a free-write about your topic, with the literary works you’re using and any potential scholarly sources;
  • a passage from one or more of your sources that you feel could be researched and elaborated into a more extended essay.

Please post those by classtime on Monday.

See you soon,

DM