Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week they post a new topic and invite everyone to share their answers. I'm so obsessed with lists - so I obviously love this feature!
Top Ten Books That Would Be On My Syllabus
If I Taught "Jane Austen 101"
I know it sounds nerdy, but I've always been fond of school. I enjoy learning, and I had fun picking out my classes each semester in college. There were professors who made me love subjects that I'd been ambivalent about before... and the ones who made me hate a subject even more than I already did. But my all-time favorite was a class I took with an excellent professor about a subject that I was so obsessed with: Jane Austen. It was a busy class - we read all six of her novels (and some of her juvenilia), a biography, some Austen retellings and wrote several papers about it all. But I LOVED it! So, I decided to share my version of that class today:
Jane Austen Course Syllabus
Class Information: MWF / 1:00-2:00 p.m. / 305 So Obsessed Hall
Film Screenings: T / 9:00 p.m. / 305 So Obsessed Hall
Course Website: www.soobsessedwith.com
Office Hours: I'm available immediately after class for questions. Additionally, you can chat with me via Twitter (@soobsessedblog) if you'd like to continue our Austen-inspired discussions.
Unit 1: Selected Works of Jane Austen
We'll start the course by reading a selection of Austen's works so you familiarize yourself with her writing style and subject matter. To see her growth as a writer, we'll begin with her earliest novel - Northanger Abbey - which was published posthumously. My personal favorite, Pride and Prejudice, will be next. And we'll conclude with Persuasion - Austen's last full-length novel and another personal favorite.
- Required: Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion by Jane Austen
- Optional: Emma by Jane Austen and Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
- Film: Pride and Prejudice (1995) - We'll watch this mini-series during two film sessions.
Unit 2: Jane Austen's Life and World
Once we've journeyed into Austen's work, it will be time to find out more about her life and the world in which she lived. We'll read a short biography first, and then we'll dive into a book exploring the customs and culture of England during Austen's time. The first book will help you better understand Austen, and the second will help you approach her work with new eyes.
- Required: Jane Austen: A Life by Carol Shields and Jane Austen's England by Roy and Lesley Adkins
- Optional: Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin and What Matters in Jane Austen? by John Mullan
- Films: Becoming Jane (2007) and Miss Austen Regrets (2008)
Unit 3: Jane Austen's Influence
There's no denying Austen's fame! We'll explore her influence on one individual through a memoir that celebrates the transformative power of literature, and then we'll expand our view and examine the Jane Austen fandom. What makes Austen so popular today? Let's find out!
- Required: A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz and Among the Janeites by Deborah Yaffe
- Optional: A Truth Universally Acknowledged by Susannah Carson and Jane's Fame by Claire Hardman
- Film: Austenland (2013)
Unit 4: A Twist on Austen's Tales
Next, we'll turn our attention to contemporary books that offer a twist on Austen's tale. They take the story that you know (and hopefully love) and present it from a different perspective. In the first, we'll see Pride and Prejudice through Mr. Darcy's eyes. And in the second, we'll visit Longbourn belowstairs.
- Required: An Assembly Such as This by Pamela Aidan and Longbourn by Jo Baker
- Optional: Murder at Mansfield Park by Lynn Shepherd
- Films: Lost in Austen (2008) and Death Comes to Pemberley (2013)
Unit 5: Modern Austen Retellings
Finally, we'll end with modern Austen retellings. These book look at Austen's plot and/or characters in entirely new ways. The first is a contemporary adult title with a number of subtle nods to Pride and Prjeudice - see how many you can spot! And the second is a futuristic young adult take on Persuasion. We'll have lots to discuss!
- Required: Here's Looking at You by Mhairi McFarlane and For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
- Optional: Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding and Austenland by Shannon Hale
- Films: Clueless (1995) and Bride and Prejudice (2005)
Welcome to my class, and please let me know if you have questions.
I'm excited to begin, and I hope you'll love Austen as much as I do!