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The Novels of Jane Austen (Non-credit)

Course Times & Enrolment

Fridays from 17th April 2020 (Code LI331-301) Fridays from
17th April 2020 11:10am - 1:00pm • (10 classes)
Holyrood Campus • Tutor: James Ellison MA DPhil
Sorry, this course is cancelled

Course Summary

Jane Austen has become a canonical figure within literature and a much loved author by the reading public, the literary critics and many filmmakers. However, this has allowed for a specific, almost standardised ‘reading’ of her characters and even Austen herself. Join this class to discuss all six of her novels, challenge established views and discover what makes them so enduring.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No prerequisites, although the reading of the set texts is essential.

Content of Course

1. Money, love and wit: Pride and Prejudice (published 1813 but largely written c.1796).

2. Empire, theatre and poverty: Mansfield Park (written 1811-13, published 1814).

3. Jane Austen and Romanticism: Sense and Sensibility (started 1814, published 1816).

4. Satirising the Gothic: Northanger Abbey (begun 1798, also posthumously published in 1818).

5. Persuasion, possibly Austen’s most personal novel (started 1815, published posthumously 1818).

Teaching method(s)

A combination of lectures and discussion. For the duration of the course, clips from some of the productions will be shown in class. The reading of the set texts is essential.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Go beyond immediate opinions about Austen’s novels to the production of well-informed and supported arguments;

  • Critically assess the importance of recurring themes within the novels;

  • Explain the importance of a historical and cultural context regarding the novels and on the way they influence one’s reading;

  • Compare and contrast Austen’s literary practice from the first to the last novel.


Core Readings

Any edition of the following 5 novels:

  • Mansfield Park

  • Northanger Abbey

  • Pride and Prejudice

  • Persuasion

  • Sense and Sensibility

Class Handouts

Study questions will be e-mailed to the students on a weekly basis. Some handouts and articles will be provided in class ahead of the week that the material will be studied. A list of further suggested material will be distributed in class during week 1 for those who wish to do additional reading.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.