English 24

Freshman Seminar: Two Novels by Jane Austen: Sense and Sensibility and Emma

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Fall 2011 Paley, Morton D.
Paley, Morton
Tues. 2-4 (9/6 - 10/25 only) L-45 Unit III (on Durant)

Other Readings and Media

Austen, J.: Sense and Sensibility, ed. James Kinsley; Austen, J.: Emma, ed. James Kingsley, Introduction and Notes by Adela Pinch


This seminar is meant to be an interesting and pleasant introduction to the study of a great novelist: Jane Austen. We'll read and discuss two novels: Sense and Sensibility and Emma. We'll approach the novels from a number of different perspectives, including (but not limited to): the roles of class and gender, Austen's language, plot structure, "point of view," the thematization of moral concerns, and the interplay of her fiction and the history of her time. We’ll spend at least one meeting (or two if there is sufficient interest) on film versions of the two novels. We'll also discuss various critical approaches to the two works.

Your responsibilities will be 1) to attend regularly, bringing with you the assigned texts (see Note on the Texts below); 2) to participate in discussion; 3) to make a 15-minute (not longer) presentation, and 4) to write a short essay (about 1500 words, 7-8 double-spaced pages) on a subject of your own choice, due at the last seminar meeting. I’ll be glad to read rough drafts of your essays in advance.

At the first meeting we'll consider a number of possible presentation subjects for you to choose from, and of course you may also suggest your own. Each of you will have a meeting with me during my office hours to help prepare for this. Some of you may wish to collaborate on presentations. In the latter part of the term, conferences on choosing an essay topic will be encouraged.

Please note that our first meeting will be on the Tuesday after Labor Day.

Regarding the book list: Because we'll be examining a number of passages closely each time, going quickly from passage to passage, we'll need to locate these quickly by page number. For that reason it’s important that everyone have the same text of the two novels.

This course will meet September 6 through October 25 only.

This 1-unit course may not be counted as one of the twelve courses required to complete the English major.

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