Department of English

University of Toronto


ENG323H1F L0101 MW2-5
Austen and Her Contemporaries
Dr. Mike Johnstone
Office Location: Jackman Humanities Building, TBD

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 Northanger Abbey (1818) alongside Matthew Lewis’s The Monk (1796) to consider the gender(ed) aesthetics and politics of the Gothic; and, Austen’s Emma (1816) alongside Amelia Opie’s Adeline Mowbray (1805) to consider the gender(ed) politics of courtship and marriage in the late 18th and 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, Emma, ed. Kristin Flieger Samuelian (Broadview, 2004); Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, 2nd ed., ed. Claire Grogan (Broadview, 2002); Matthew Gregory Lewis, The Monk, ed. D.L. Macdonald and Kathleen Scherf (Broadview, 2004); Amelia Opie, Adeline Mowbray, ed. Anne McWhir (Broadview, 2010); Janet Todd, Jane Austen in Context (Cambridge UP, 2005).

NOTE: All texts will be available at the UofT Book Store (Koffler Centre, at St. George and College Streets). You are strongly encouraged to purchase/use the assigned Broadview editions of the novels, as we will be using their contextual/background sources extensively in lectures and for Essay #2.

First Three Authors/Texts: Lewis, The Monk; Austen, Northanger Abbey; Opie, Adeline.

Method of Instruction: Lecture, discussion, group work.
Method of Evaluation: Essay 1 (15%); essay 2 (35%); participation (10%); final exam (40%).

Link to ARTSCI Calendar Course Description.

Link to ARTSCI Summer Timetable with Room Allocations.

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