Jane Austen and the Creation of the Modern Novel (EAS3156)

StaffDr Margaret Yoon - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

We will consider Austen’s importance as a writer who is fully engaged with the social and cultural issues of her own time and who responded in subtle and complex ways to the new forces of social mobility, politics, the rising professional class, and the questions of women’s rights. We will read her work in chronological order, tracing the development of her style and thought from the cheeky comedy of her juvenilia to her last novel’s rich response to Romanticism, as well as her final unfinished work. Particular areas to focus for this module are the philosophical and medical ideas that emerge in Austen's works. In addition, we will examine the enduring popularity of Austen’s works today both in the original and in film adaptations.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. demonstrate knowledge of Austen's major works and of key critical approaches to them;
  • 2. discuss Austen's fiction in its historical context and in the context of its place in a developing fictional tradition;
  • 3. analyse Austen's fictional techniques and demonstrate an understanding of her continuing cultural influence;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. demonstrate an advanced ability to analyse the literature an earlier era and to relate its concerns and its modes of expression to its historical context;
  • 5. demonstrate an advanced ability to interrelate texts and discourses specific to their own discipline with issues in the wider context of cultural and intellectual history;
  • 6. demonstrate an advanced ability to understand and analyse relevant theoretical ideas, and to apply these ideas to literary texts;

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. through seminar work and presentations, demonstrate advanced communication skills, and an ability to work both individually and in groups;
  • 8. through essay-writing, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, an advanced capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose;
  • 9. through research for seminars, essays, and presentations demonstrate advanced proficiency in information retrieval and analysis.

Syllabus plan

  1. Experimenting with Narrative Styles: Austen’s juvenilia and excerpts from The Loiterer
  2. The Gothic Novel: A Sicilian Romance, Ann Radcliffe
  3. Northanger Abbey
  4. Sense and Sensibility
  5. Pride and Prejudice
  6. Mansfield Park
  7. Mansfield Park (cont.)
  8. Emma
  9. Narrative Techniques and Film Adaptations
  10. Persuasion
  11. What would Jane have done? Austen’s unfinished novel: Sanditon

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad
33 267 0

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
ScheduScheduled Learning and Teaching Activitiesled33seminars
Guided independent study33study group preparation and meetings
Guided independent study70seminar preparation (individual)
Guided independent study164reading, research and essay preparation

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group presentation2520 minutes1-2, 4-5, 7, 9Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up.
Essay251500 words1-6, 8-9Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up.
Essay503000 words1-6, 8-9Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up.

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Group presentationEssay (1500 words)1-6, 8Referral/deferral period
EssayEssay1-6, 8-9Referral/deferral period
EssayEssay1-6, 8-9Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

Primary texts
Jane Austen's works:

Selected Letters (ed.) Vivien Jones (Oxford World's Classics)

Catharine and Other Writings (eds.) Margaret Anne Doody and Douglas Murray (Oxford World's Classics)

Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion (all Norton Critical Editions)

Sanditon (available on ELE)

Ann Radcliffe, A Sicilian Romance (Oxford World's Classics)

Recommended texts
The Loiterer, by the Austen Family, ed. Robert L. Mack (Edwin Mellen Press)

Frances Burney, Cecilia, eds. Margaret Anne Doody and Peter Sabor (Oxford World's Classics)

Eliza Haywood, Fantomina (Broadview; also available on ELE)

Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho (Oxford World's Classics)

Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (Oxford World’s Classics)


Selected secondary texts

The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen (eds.) Edward Copeland and Juliet McMaster (CUP, 1997)

A Companion to Jane Austen (eds.) Claudia Johnson and Clara Tuite (Blackwell, 2009)

Peter W. Graham, Jane Austen and Charles Darwin (Ashgate, 2008)

Peter Knox-Shaw, Jane Austen and the Enlightenment (CUP, 2004)

Gina Macdonald (ed.), Jane Austen on Screen (CUP, 2003)

Alan Palmer, Fictional Minds (Univ. of Nebraska, 2004)

Brian C. Southam, Jane Austen and the Navy (National Maritime Museum, 2005)

Kathryn Sutherland, Jane Austen's Textual Lives: from Aeschylus to Bollywood (OUP, 2005)

Ashley Tauchert, Romancing Jane Austen: narrative, realism and the possibility of a happy ending

(Palgrave, 2005)

Mary Waldron, Jane Austen and the Fiction of Her Time (CUP, 1999)

Barbara Britton Wenner, Prospect and Refuge in the Landscape of Jane Austen (Ashgate, 2005)

Lisa Zunshine, Why We Read Fiction: Theory of Mind and the Novel (Ohio State UP, 2006)

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Eighteenth-Century Collections Online (ECCO), via Exeter University Library Electronic Resources

The Jane Austen Fiction Manuscripts Digital Collection http://www.janeausten.ac.uk/index.html

The Republic of Pemberley http://www.pemberley.com/

The Jane Austen Society of North America http://www.jasna.org/

Persuasions On-Line http://www.jasna.org/persuasions/on-line/index.html


Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Reading for Week 1

Before the first seminar, please read Volume the First, Volume the Second, and Volume the Third of Austen’s juvenilia. We will pay close attention to the following stories:

  • Volume the First: “Frederic and Elfrida”, “Jack and Alice”, “Edgar and Emma”, “Henry and Eliza”, and “The Three Sisters”
  • Volume the Second: “Love and Freindship” and “Lesley Castle”
  • Volume the Third: “Catharine, or the Bower”

These selections can all be found in Catharine and Other Writings, eds. Margaret Anne Doody and Douglas Murray (Oxford World’s Classics).

A short and entertaining early precursor to the novel is Fantomina, by Eliza Haywood. Students are advised to read it prior to the first seminar. An electronic copy is available at this website: http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Texts/fantomina.html

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Jane Austen, novel, gothic, romanticism, adaptation