New Class – Jane Austen Book Club
A new class is now being offered by Jude Seaboyer for literary enthusiasts who want to dig deep into the writings and emotion of one of the most loved authors of our time, Jane Austen.
Course code: 22BKG306 | Start Date: 9 August 2022 | Private Residence
Critic Claudia Johnson succinctly sums up Jane Austen as “a simple-seeming but profoundly difficult, superbly self-conscious writer.” As we read Austen together, members of this U3A reading group will explore the pleasurable complexity of her six completed novels as we consider her status as the most loved English novelist.
Austen is still central to university literary research and curricula but increasing numbers of readers are as likely to have come to Austen from screen adaptations as from formal study. The Jane Austen individual contemporary readers engage covers the spectrum from ‘simple-seeming’ to ‘profoundly difficult’.
Members of this group will be invited to delight in Austen’s wit and wisdom but at the heart of our work will be the discovery of the difficult novelist through the process that is deep reading. In other words, we will assume from the outset there is more to Pride and Prejudice than the twists of the marriage plot and the tricky politics of country dancing.
We will come to each text taking care to read what’s there on the page rather than what we know from our immersion in the Austen industry, and we will take into account the novels’ socio-political contexts. What effects can we trace of the Industrial Revolution or the Napoleonic Wars or Britain’s involvement in the triangular slave trade or education for girls? In other words, together we will trace the socio-political thread that runs through her romantic comedies and gives them at once their extraordinary power over us and the power they share with us as readers of her world and of our own.
By the time we reach the end of Persuasion, her sixth and posthumous novel, we may better understand why Austen continues to matter more than two centuries after her death.
Texts: Any editions of Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion.