Persuasion, 1818

Because everyone is pushing to get their reading done and assignments underway, we’ll have a very simple prompt for class discussion tomorrow.

Choose a passage from Persuasion that lets you talk about Austen’s development as a novelist, or about the novel’s development since Haywood.

Because I know everyone is pushing hard to finish the reading and move their essays along, I’m making this weekend’s reading question very simple.

Use a passage of Persuasion to talk about Austen’s final development as a novelist.  Does your passage reveal an extension or elaboration of previous novelistic style or concerns, or does it show some sort of departure or opening towards the future?

You can answer here or bring these to class. We’ll use these to frame discussion on Monday. We’ll also continue to brainstorm and workshop the final assignments.

Good luck, DM

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

Greenfield and Troost, New Directions in Jane Austen Studies

This new Literature Compass essay has just appeared as part of their very useful series, and seems appropriate for a number of you as you think about the course readings and potential research projects. Taylin, for example, could consider the role of material culture as she thinks about the importance of dress, Serena could be thinking about the latest scholarship about masculinity, and adaptation has become an important component for a number of you in your thinking about our readings this term. Take a look, and let everyone know what you found useful.

Here is the abstract:

This essay identifies emerging trends in Jane Austen scholarship published between 2010 and 2020, with a focus on monographs and edited collections. In recent work examining Austen through contemporary theoretical and critical lenses, the following new topics have been central: material culture, animal studies, masculinity, place, and celebrity. The last of these includes Austen’s use of Regency celebrities in her novels and her connections with other women writers. Studies of the parallels between her and Shakespeare’s rises to fame have also surged. Connected to the interest in celebrity is the explosion of fan-culture studies: Austen is now a multimedia superstar with wide appeal. This expansion of audience has meant a shift in the style of much scholarly writing on Austen as books try to cater to both academic and non-academic markets.

Sayre N. Greenfield and Linda V. Troost, “New Directions in Jane Austen Studies,” Literature Compass n/a, no. n/a (n.d.): e12658, https://doi.org/10.1111/lic3.12658.

Good luck,

DM

Jane Austen, Juvenilia and Northanger Abbey

First, my apologies. I thought I’d already posted this. We’ll discuss the Juvenilia and other writings together, along with a few key pages of Northanger Abbey. We’ll read whatever we need to discuss on the spot, since I messed up the reading assignment.

https://jasna.org/austen/works/

https://jasna.org/austen/works/northanger-abbey/

Plan of a Novel:

(Q: 5 mins): Satire and Criticism? Use a passage from this “plan” to discuss JA not just as a novelist, or a parodist, but a critic of the 18th century novel and its conventions.

Parody=criticism of novel and conventions?  Interpretive exaggeration?  Capture of essential features of satiric object?

  1. Keywords: Vanity, wit, pride, duty, passion, duty, propriety, artless, genius, ?
  2. genre and sub-genre: Amatory fiction; sentimental fiction; satiric fiction; gothic fiction; radical fiction, ?
  3. Major themes:
  • Prescribed gender roles for both men and women, in courtship, marriage, and family-relations?
  • The relation between marriage, family, and property?
  • Religion and morality from the perspective of the (male or female) individual, or from that of the family and/or social order?
  • Theatricality, deception, disguise, or masquerade as a metaphor for social interactions and society at large?
  • Gendered sensibility and its accommodation within a (violent or antagonistic) social order?
  • Gendered taste and its accommodation within an (antagonistic) social order?

4. Some Early Parallels from Austen’s Juvenilia:

“Henry and Eliza” 

https://pemberley.com/janeinfo/henreliz.html

“Frederic and Elfrida”

https://pemberley.com/janeinfo/fredelfr.html

“The Beautifull Cassandra” and “A Letter from a Young Lady”

https://pemberley.com/janeinfo/juviscrp.html#lylwfbtsfhjlet

“Letter 5th of Love and Freindship”

https://pemberley.com/janeinfo/lovfrnd1.html#letter5

“Jack and Alice”

https://pemberley.com/janeinfo/jackalic.html

5. Northanger Abbey:

  • A. Free indirect Discourse: J Thorpe’s rudeness to sisters & C’s anger;
  • B. Books and Taste: ch. 6, reactions of Miss Andrews, Isabella, and J Thorpe to Udolpho; criticizing Udolpho but being a gothic novel too; 
  • C: Learning: Thorpe and balls; C’s realization of I’s cruelty and blaming of Tilney; boy craziness of I; J Thorpe’s echoing of Gen. Tilney; Henry scolds C for suspecting Gen.; Danielle, good nature or cowardice?

135-8: misunderstanding of riots in London:

From art to ruin to politics to silence:

“Something very shocking to come out in London”

“You speak with astonishing composure”

“The ladies stared” 

“The riot is only in your brain’ 

“A mob of three thousand men”

Real vs imagined monsters?

Feminine fears? Gender roles?

 

Q: Go to last 100 pp or so (chs. XX-XXXII) and identify a moment where Catherine, Henry, Eleanor, Gen. Tilney, Isabella or John Thorpe learn or provide a piece of information that advances the plot, clears up a mystery, or teaches Catherine something.