Jane Austen Then and Now

This course will focus on the fiction of Jane Austen and its representations in film. This author, who never travelled outside England and had the opportunity for little formal schooling, has nonetheless wielded enormous literary and cultural influence across the globe. Austen societies can be found on six continents, and her novels have been the inspiration for films set in contemporary India as well as the California teenage scene.

What is the secret of her global appeal? What does she represent to contemporary American society? What is gained or lost in adaptation from novel to film? In order to address this issue, we will read all of her major novels and selected juvenilia, along with the novel Jane Austen’s Book Club, and many of the most influential film adaptations. Students will have the opportunity to enter an essay contest, design a website, and create their own film interpretation of one of Austen’s opening scenes.