Final Assignment Guidelines, Due Thursday, May 12th

You’ll have two options for the final research project.

  1. A research paper involving at least one writer and work on our syllabus to be compared or contrasted with a second writer not on the syllabus, but which shares a common context with the first primary source. 12-15 pp., not counting sources, which should number around 6-8. Contemporary adaptations, sources, and contexts from other media are fine, but should incorporate current scholarship on those works and some attention to the major discussions of adaptation theory.
  2. An annotated bibliography on a specific topic generated from class readings and discussions, along with a reflective essay that synthesizes or organizes your results (e.g., chronologically, thematically, theoretically)  to highlight the insights your process helped produce (as in the Troost/Greenfield essay for Austen scholarship we read together last class). Think of this as the “literature review” for your particular topic, where you are outlining the definitive scholarship, key arguments, and discussion for your particular topic from some foundational book or article to the present. The topic and its specific focus should be articulated clearly, the results relevant and coherent, and the annotations about a paragraph long apiece. That should give you about 10-15 items (not counting your primary sources) and about 5 pp. for the reflective essay. 
  3. Email these to me sometime Thursday. The portfolio (format TBA) will be due the following day.

Let me know if any of this is unclear. I’ll be out of town looking in on my dad after the 5th, but will be answering emails the whole time.




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,