Jane Austen: A Reappraisal

Ref: C3671545

So you think you know Jane Austen? This course will challenge popular preconceptions about the esteemed English novelist and reconsider her literary works in light of recent criticism/biographies. We will explore the subversive elements of Austen’s prose and interpret her commentary on social class, gender, politics, race and slavery. In addition, we will explore how she interacts with various literary genres and modes, such as the Gothic and social realism. We will also consider the impact of modern adaptations of Austen’s work, from faithful dramatizations (such as the beloved BBC series) to bold reimaginings (such as Death Comes to Pemberley)

Course aim

This course reconsiders Austen's literary works and commemorates the bicentenary of her death in 1817.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Knowledgeably and confidently discuss Austen's fiction
  • Demonstrate an awareness of literary devices used by Austen
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the key themes and issues within the texts

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • See course reading list.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • You will need to read Austen's 6 novels, plus some selected shorter fiction (details provided during first session). Please ensure you have read 'Sense and Sensibility' (1811) prior to the first meeting.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full course outline

Jane Austen: A Reappraisal Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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