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Austen on Screen

Class at Faculty of Arts |


This course offers a unique opportunity to explore the world of the famous English novelist, Jane Austen, in close contact with a variety of media – from text to screen, small and silver, to internet phenomena. From Ang Lee’s award-winning Sense and Sensibility to the more radical adaptations such as Bride and Prejudice or indeed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, we will get to grips with issues of representation, commodification, sexual politics, genre and gender issues, and the ways in which, following T.S. Eliot’s organic concept of canon formation, Austen continues to shape our imagination, while we in turn shape Austen’s.

Austen remains a major contender in the sphere of popular culture as well as contributing to the tourist industry.

One drawback of this popularity is the commodification of Austen for public consumption – while her novels were in part intended to be just that, they also aspired to be much more. It is time to recast Austen as an innovative, even radical, author in many respects that proved formative for the development of narrative techniques, gender and sexuality, as well as irony and satire. It will be our task to discuss recent direct adaptations of each novel, paying attention to the diversity of approaches to visual adaptation, before moving on to the more loosely adapted

Austenian progeny such as The Jane Austen Book Club, or Lost in Austen; we will also discuss Austen memes and, of course, the Gothic aftermath of zombies. Critically assessing the ramifications of post-1995 Austenmania will be a crucial part of our scholarly endeavour.