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Jane Austen - ENG00074H

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  • Department: English and Related Literature
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Sophie Coulombeau
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module summary

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen gets an audience. From Hollywood to Bollywood her novels have been adapted and reworked in cinematic love stories, while Janeites the world over continue to pore over the details of the cuts of dresses, dance steps, and Regency courtship rituals. Literary critics, on the other hand, now tend to focus on Austen’s pioneering narrative technique, and to situate her work in its historical and cultural contexts.

This module will consider Austen’s published fiction (Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion) alongside some of her unpublished work. It will think about the way in which the novels explore the relationship between private feeling and the social world, and it will approach Austen as a writer whose work is suffused with politics – especially questions of gender, status, and authority – even as political ‘issues’ in a formal sense are absent from it. Our contextualized reading of Austen’s fiction will be accompanied by a focus on the history of its reception, and towards the end of the course we will consider some examples of recent popular engagements with Austen, in the form of films, television series, and/or fan fiction.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2022-23

Module aims

The aim of this module is to study the novels of Jane Austen, to situate them in their historical and cultural contexts, and to think about their diverse afterlives.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of and engagement with the novels of Austen in their historical and cultural contexts;

  2. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of and engagement with the distinctive features of Austen’s fiction, in particular its narrative innovations;

  3. Evaluate key debates within the relevant critical fields dealing with recent popular engagement with Austen in film, television, and/ or fan fiction.

  4. Produce independent arguments and ideas which demonstrate an advanced proficiency in critical thinking, research, and writing skills.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay - 3000 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

  • You will be given the opportunity to hand in a 1000 word formative essay in the term in which the module is taught (usually in the week 7 seminar). Material from this essay may be re-visited in your summative essay and it is therefore an early chance to work through material that might be used in assessed work. This essay will be submitted in hard copy and your tutor will annotate it and return it two weeks later (usually in your week 9 seminar). Summary feedback will be uploaded to your eVision account. All students will have the opportunity to give an in-class individual presentation during a seminar in weeks 2-9.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay - 3000 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

  • You will receive feedback on all assessed work within the University deadline, and will often receive it more quickly. The purpose of feedback is to inform your future work; it is designed to help you to improve your work, and the Department also offers you help in learning from your feedback. If you do not understand your feedback or want to talk about your ideas further you can discuss it with your tutor or your supervisor, during their Open Office Hours
  • For more information about the feedback you will receive for your work, see the department's Guide to Assessment

Indicative reading

Key Texts for this module will include all of Austen’s published novels (Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion).

Other key texts may include:

  • Jane Austen, Lady Susan
  • Jane Austen, The Watsons
  • Jane Austen, Sanditon
  • James Edward Austen-Leigh, A Memoir of Jane Austen
  • Clueless dir. Amy Heckerling
  • Pride and Prejudice adapted by Andrew Davies for the BBC
  • Sense and Sensibility dir. Ang Lee
  • Austenland dir. Jerusha Hess
  • Adaptations by Pemberly Digital (

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.