An Introduction to Jane Austen

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:

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.

Course Overview:

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.

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.

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!

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.

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!

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!


  1. your class sounds so much fun hannah! i haven't read a jane austen yet but have been meaning to for ages so i might actually print out this and follow the syllabus. i love how much detail you put into everything and your enthusiasm has definitely gotten me really interested in delving into some of jane austen's works. love love love this post!

  2. I usually don't comment on TTT posts but I love that you formatted this one as a syllabus. It actually sounds similar to some classes my real college offered although sadly I didn't get to take the Jane Austen one. (At least in Girls on Film I did get to write a scholarly article comparing Ella Enchanted as a book and movie!)

  3. Hannah! This was an excellent post! SO creative! I loved the way you formatted it. Very fun! I can tell you are certainly well educated in all Austen matters, and it sounds like a class I should definitely attend.

  4. I love this. And will read Mansfield Park if you give me extra credit. Or even if you don't - it's my favorite Austen novel, and I think the film adaptation (while ... not super great as an adaptation) is an interesting one to discuss.

    Imagining my own Austen course now. :-D

  5. Omg, I love this so much! I would absolutely take this class, haha. I've only read one of her books for school and am ashamed to say I don't even remember which one :/ I've been REALLY wanting to get started on reading her books, so at least now I know where to begin :D

  6. I would 100% take this class on Jane Austen! Your syllabus is FANTASTIC. I've only ever read Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility from her, and I've only seen Pride & Prejudice and Becoming Jane. It looks like I've got a ton of catching up to do if I want to ace your course ;)

  7. OMG Hannah this is amazing! I love how detailed you made this post...I'm having serious college flashbacks! Only I don't think I ever took a class that looks as good as this one haha. I wish I could actually take this course!

  8. This is a very thorough and well-thought-out class! I had some of the same picks for my TTT, but I'm intrigued by some of yours that I haven't read. I especially liked the last section, I hadn't realized that all of those were Austen-inspired.

  9. Wow, I really love how you formatted this as an actual syllabus! I'm definitely going to take this class as an independent study :P

  10. This is without a doubt one of the greatest posts I have ever seen, you are so clever and creative! And it sounds like a super fun class, I would love it. I actually took a Jane Austen lit class my senior year of college! it was a great quarter: Jane Austen, History of Witchcraft, and Renaissance Art! Anyway we read all 6 books which was awesome but your class would be way more fun :) I need to read Longbourn (I own it) and see Austenland!


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