Research in Specific Author(s) or Work(s) (Post-1800)

L760 — Spring 2022

Nicholas Williams
Days and Times
11:30a - 2:30p M (4 CR)
Course Description

*AUTHORIZATION REQUIRED (Non-English Department students please contact the instructor first.)

Topic: Romantic Austen

Jane Austen’s rightfully prominent place in the history of realism and the development of the novel can sometimes inadvertently direct our attention away from her situatedness in her own times. This seminar won’t ignore her role in these transhistorical narratives, even paying heed to the way she’s taken up by today’s “Janeite” fan culture, but we’ll also consider her connection to discourses and problematics from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, including the fears revolving around women’s reading habits, the culture of sensibility, debates about individual liberty and happiness, and the varied responses to Great Britain’s global empire. Since the response to Austen also often involves a response to the vividness of her characters, I’d also like to turn our attention to discussions of the meaning of character roughly contemporary with her, such as William Godwin’s essay “Of History and Romance.” Our main texts will be the six novels , which fit nicely in an ambitious semester, with one or two of the shorter or incomplete texts, as well as a selection of recent criticism (including from the Clara Tuite study from which I’ve stolen my title for the course). Assignments include a class presentation and a seminar paper (20-25 pp.).

*This course may count for the pre-1800 requirement. Interested students should consult with Professor Williams about writing a paper based on the subject matter that would meet pre-1800 requirements.