Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG323H1F L0101

ENG323H1F   L0101   T11, R11-1
Austen and Her Contemporaries
Instructor: Dr. M. Johnstone
Office Location: Jackman Humanities Building, Room 803

Brief Description of Course: This course will explore the fiction of Jane Austen in relation to its literary and sociopolitical context, particularly in view of the aesthetic and cultural issues prevalent at the time of the French Revolution and Regency in England (1789–1820). Austen’s novels reflect, confront, and challenge these issues (i.e., social and economic class, war, gender roles, rights, imperialism/colonialism, slavery, the status of the novel, genre, reading and readerships, and more), particularly as they affected women. We will read Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813) alongside Charlotte Smith’s The Old Manor House (1794) to consider the significance of women’s socioeconomic status, especially as related to property, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries; Austen’s Mansfield Park (1814) alongside John Thelwall’s The Daughter of Adoption to consider the representation(s) of and discourse about slavery — of various forms — in the early 19th century; and we will read Austen’s Persuasion (1818) alongside Amelia Opie’s Adeline Mowbray (1805) to consider the gender politics of courtship and marriage in the early 19th century. Finally, we will examine how Austen’s popularity today encourages us to question why she remains a significant literary and cultural figure.

Required Reading: Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, ed. June Sturrock (Broadview, 2001); Jane Austen, Persuasion, ed. Linda Bree (Broadview, 1998); Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, ed. Robert Irvine (Broadview, 2002); Amelia Opie, Adeline Mowbray, ed. Anne McWhir (Broadview, 2010); Charlotte Smith, The Old Manor House, ed. Jacqueline M. Labbe (Broadview, 2002); John Thelwall, The Daughter of Adoption, ed. Michael Scrivener et al. (Broadview, 2013).

First Three Authors/Texts: Smith, The Old Manor House; Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Thelwall, The Daugher of Adoption.

Method of Evaluation: Essay #1 (15%); essay #2 (30%); quiz (10%); participation (15%); final exam (30%).

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