ENGLISH 313 - Topics in Literary Studies
Section: 005 Jane Austen and Adaptation
Term: FA 2019
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be repeated for a maximum of 8 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

Jane Austen is still wildly popular. An explosion of cinematic adaptations of her novels went off in the mid-1990s. Next came a flurry of Austenian mash-ups that merge zombies and sea monsters with the trappings of the Regency era, as well as a number of web series adaptations that modernize Austen’s stories for twenty-first century audiences. Austen erotica, meanwhile, has become a thing: in addition to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, we now have works such as Pride and Promiscuity and Spank Me, Mr. Darcy. Just what makes Austen so lastingly compelling and yet so open to diverse modes of adaptation?

This course approaches the question of Austen’s appeal through an in-depth study of her novels and some of their prominent film adaptations. We’ll attend to Austen’s particular narrative and rhetorical techniques (such as free indirect discourse and irony), consider how these techniques do or do not lend themselves to adaptation, and explore how the formal innovations of cinema foreground other, less noted elements of her writing. We’ll also pay particular attention to how Austen registers the social and political issues of her time (e.g. gender inequities, the marriage imperative, the slave trade, the Napoleonic wars) and query how and why different adaptations address or avoid such issues. Finally, we’ll be interested in examining what Austen’s novels might have to say about our own contemporary moment, particularly with regard to issues of race, gender, and class.

Readings include five of Austen’s novels, a number of their adaptations, and works of theory and criticism by Marilyn Butler, Mary Favret, William Galperin, Claudia Johnson, Deirdre Lynch, D. A. Miller, Edward Said, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and others.

Course Requirements:

Assignments include a short review essay, an in-class presentation, a final essay, and a group adaptation project.

ENGLISH 313 - Topics in Literary Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
004 (LEC)
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
005 (LEC)
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
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