English 150

Senior Seminar: Jane Austen (topic changed as of Jan. 5)

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Spring 2006 Miller, D. A.
MW 12:30-2 300 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Chapman, R.W., ed.: The Oxford Illustrated Jane Austen (6 volumes); also a course reader


While there is hardly a dearth of criticism on Jane Austen, it is rare to find her used, as Balzac, Flaubert, Dostoevsky, or Proust is used, as the basis for theorizing the Novel as a form. Classic continental novel theory ignores her, and even recent feminist historicism tends to do away with her originality as a creator of forms. Precisely this formal originality (to which we owe our very norms of impersonal narration, not to mention the virtual invention of free indirect style) will be the main object of our consideration in the seminar. We will also pursue some pertinent minor topics: the curiously popular genre of the Austen biography (so little life, so many lives!) and, on a broader scale, the late-twentieth-century transformation of Austen into that most unwriterly of things: an icon.

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