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3500, September, Fall 2023


A statue of Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy rises above London’s Serpentine Lake (2013)

Tuesday, September 5th

Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Volume 3

How rich was Mr. Darcy? A BBC “More or Less” podcast:


What did Pemberley look like?

Thursday, September 7th

Pride and Prejudice film adaptations

Excerpts from Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s DiaryPenguin Books, 1996: Scene just after Bridget and Mark’s first conversation (12); two passages associated with the 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice(215-216)


Tuesday, September 12th

Baker, Longbourn (pp. 1-214)


Working-class women and their labor

I think of Longbourn — if this is not too much of an aspiration — as being in the same tradition as Wide Sargasso Sea or Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. It’s a book that engages with Austen’s novel in a similar way to Jean Rhys’s response to Jane Eyre and Tom Stoppard’s to Hamlet. I found something in the existing text that niggled me, that felt unresolved, and wanted to explore it further. That was the pull for me, that sense of unresolvedness* — I can’t really speculate on what it was for other writers: I’m afraid I don’t know the other fictions around Austen’s work terribly well at all.

The unresolvedness for me was to do with being a lifelong fan of Austen’s work, but knowing that recent ancestors of mine had been in service. I loved her work, but I didn’t quite belong in it — and I felt the need to explore that further.NPR INTERVIEW WITH JO BAKER

Thursday, September 14th

Finish reading Longbourn


Tuesday, September 19th

Zoboi, Pride

Thursday, September 21st



Young Adult Fiction and Jane Austen


Tuesday, September 26th

First Semester Exam

Thursday, September 28th

Emma, Volume I


What was it like to live in a small English village like Highbury?

Mansfield Park Bibliography

Lionel Trilling, “Mansfield Park.” Partisan Review, vol. 21, Sept. 1954, pp. 492-511.

Alistair Duckworth, The Improvement of the Estate; a Study of Jane Austen’s Novels, Johns Hopkins Press, 1971.

Marilyn Butler, Jane Austen and the War of Ideas, Clarendon Press, 1975.

Tony Tanner, Jane Austen, Harvard University Press, 1986

Nina Auerbach, “Jane Austen’s Dangerous Charm: Feeling as One Ought about Fanny Price.” Women & Literature, vol. 3, 1983, pp. 208–23. 

Claudia Johnson, Jane Austen: Women, Politics, and the Novel, University of Chicago Press, 1988.

Margaret Kirkham, Jane Austen: Feminism and Fiction, Harvester Press, 1987.

Moira Ferguson, “Mansfield Park: Slavery, Colonialism, and Gender.” Oxford Literary Review 13, no. 1/2 (January 1, 1991): 118–39. 

—. Subject to Others : British Women Writers and Colonial Slavery, 1670-1834. Routledge, 1992.

Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism, Vintage, 1993. 

Susan Fraiman, “Jane Austen and Edward Said: Gender, Culture, and Imperialism.” Janeites: Austen’s Disciples and Devotees. Ed. Deidre Lynch, Princeton University Press, 2000, pp. 206-23. 

Brian Southam, “The Silence of the Bertrams: Slavery and the Chronology of ‘Mansfield Park.’ (Jane Austen’s Novel ’Mansfield Park’).” TLS. Times Literary Supplement, no. 4794, Feb. 1995, p. 13. 

Joseph Lew, “‘That Abominable Traffic’: Mansfield Park and the Dynamics of Slavery.” History, Gender & Eighteenth-Century Literature, edited by Beth Fowkes Tobin, University of Georgia Press, 1994, pp. 271–300. 

Nora Nachumi, “Seeing Double: Theatrical Spectatorship in Mansfield Park.” Philological Quarterly, vol. 80, no. 3, June 2001, p. 233. 

George E. Boulukos, “The Politics of Silence: Mansfield Park and the Amelioration of Slavery.” Novel: A Forum on Fiction, vol. 39, no. 3, Summer 2006, pp. 361–83. 

Sheryl Craig, Jane Austen and the State of the Nation, Palgrave, 2015.

Christopher Stampone, “‘Obliged to Yield’: The Language of Patriarchy and the System of Mental Slavery in Mansfield Park.” Studies in the Novel 50.2 (2018): 197-212.

Patricia A. Matthew, “Jane Austen and the Abolitionist Turn.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language, vol. 61, 2019, pp. 345-361.

Helena Kelly, Jane Austen, the Secret Radical. Alfred A. Knopf, 2016.

Sarah Marsh, “Changes of Air: The Somerset Case and Mansfield Park’s Imperial Plots.” Eighteenth-Century Studies, vol. 53, no. 2, 2020, pp. 211–33.

—. “The Triumph of the Estate? Fanny Price and Immoral Ownership of Property in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park.” Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, vol. 44, no. 4, Dec. 2021, pp. 453–68.

On Memory

William Deresiewicz, Jane Austen and the Romantic Poets, Columbia UP, 2004.

Eron, Sarah. “Jane Austen’s Allegories of Mind: Memory Fiction in Mansfield Park.” Studies in Romanticism, vol. 60, no. 1, Mar. 2021, p. 79.


April 7th Writing Prompts

Respond to all three of the following prompts.

Submit your responses on our eLC course site: Tools > Assignments

  1. Shelley employs the terza rima stanza in “Ode to the West Wind.” Define the terza rima stanza and discuss how Shelley uses it in the poem.
  2. Each section of “Ode to the West Wind” is 14 lines long. In what way does Shelley evoke the sonnet structure here? How can each section be considered an experimental sonnet? Can this be considered a sonnet cycle?
  3. All three of the poems read for today are written in the wake of political violence following the conclusion of the Napoleonic War. Shelley was particularly disturbed by the Peterloo Massacre of 1819. What was the Peterloo Massacre and how does Shelley respond to it in his poetry? Focus your response on one of the two sonnets read for today.

March 30th through April 23rd

Tuesday, March 31st: Complete Writing Prompt by Monday, March 30th at 5:00pm

Thursday, April 2nd: Complete Writing Prompt by Wednesday, April 1st at 5:00pm

Tuesday, April 7th: Complete Writing Prompt by Monday, April 6th at 5:00pm

Thursday, April 9th: Complete Writing Prompt by Wednesday, April 8th at 5:00pm

Tuesday, April 14th: Complete Writing Prompt by Monday, April 13th at 5:00pm

Thursday, April 16th: Complete Writing Prompt by Wednesday,

April 15th at 5:00pm

Tuesday, April 21st: Complete Writing Prompt by Monday, April 20th at 5:00pm

Essay Prospectus Due

Thursday, April 23rd: Complete Writing Prompt by Wednesday, April 22nd at 5:00pm

Essay Due on May 5th

4500, Poetry Reports Advice, Spring 2020

1) Please note that you are asked to provide the dates of composition and publication, and to note where the circumstances are particularly interesting. Your focus should be on the text and not the poet’s life (unless the poet specifically invites such speculation by referring to him or herself in the poem). If socio-historical context plays a role in the composition and publication, you could mention that.

Throughout the poetry report I’ll expect you to notate genres correctly: i.e. long works are italicized Songs of Innocence and Experience and short works are signified by quotation marks: i.e. “The Lamb”

2a) It may be that you’ll need to look up several words before you find really productive vocabulary. Do not be content with the first two words you look up if they do not lead you in interesting directions. You should also note the source that you used. Please italicize the words you are working with or otherwise clearly indicate them.

b) Please be clear about what an allusion is before you embark upon this task (Broadview Glossary 11). If there aren’t any allusions there are not any allusions, recognizing that there aren’t any there is worth 5 points, but that means you can’t miss any either. You can use allusions noted in the footnotes, but you must take them further either by exploring the significance of the allusion to the work. Some poems are full of allusions: choose the ones that are most evocative. If there are not allusions, you will want to speculate as to why? Often it has to do with the poem’s audience, form and/or intent.

3) Sometimes you must describe the poem rather than relying upon formal nomenclature. In either case, you should describe what is going on specifically: identify the meter, the stanza form, the rhyme scheme (if there is one), and the significance of the structure. Here is a strong entry.

On Smith’s Sonnet LIX: “The piece is a Petrarchan (or Italian) Sonnet. The meter is iambic pentameter, except lines 3 and 6 which both begin with a dactyl, before resuming the iambic pattern, but still remaining pentameter. Lines 8 and 9 seem to use words with heavy accents and in scansion are slightly different using more dactyls [unsullied and dignity] perhaps to draw the reader’s attention to the rumbling clouds below the serene moon, lest they be forgotten. The rhyme scheme is abbaababcdcdcd.


on the same poem: “Sonnet (Italian). The standard consists of an octet in ABBA then a turn or resolution presented in the following sestet of CDCCDC or CDECDE. Smith varies a bit on form having Sonnet LIX rhyme ABBAABABCDCDCD. However, the turn is clearly marked with the pause in the dash. The poem shifts from the observation of a simple natural occurrence to a representation of great human unrest. The turn feature of the sonnet form is very important to this piece.

4) Here is where you get to suggest an interpretation of the poem. As a rule, the rest of the poetry report collects information, rather than poses an interpretation. Please be specific and precise in your language. Always include at least 1 (and ideally more than 1) direct citation from the poem under consideration. Please use the MLA citation method. Here is a link to a helpful site (although it does not replace the book): The Purdue OWL

5) The key to getting 10 points here is being specific. Do not traffic in vague generalities about similarities and differences, or in vague references to other works. Be specific.

6) You will need to go beyond #5 if you are still working with the same texts and ideas.

Don’t run out of steam! The last three entries are worth 25 points.

4460 Writing Prompts #1

Choose one of the following topics as a prompt when constructing your thesis. It is important for your essay to have both a thesis and specific evidence from the literature to support that thesis. Remember: saying that there are “similarities and differences” does not a thesis make. When comparing two or more things we can always find shared elements as well as disparate elements. In your thesis you need to specifically identify the grounds of your comparison. Think of a thesis as the first step in proving your particular reading of a piece of literature.

The topics below are just that: topics. You will find an array of suggestions rather than prescribed questions. Furthermore, I have specified no texts. You will eventually “customize” the topic as you form your thesis. You need not feel compelled to answer all of these questions in your essay, and you should certainly also engage with questions of your own.

Paper Length: 5-7 pages

Please follow MLA guidelines from the MLA Handbook. If you don’t have an MLA Handbook, you should probably purchase one. The Purdue Owl website has been updated, however, and may be sufficient.

Refer to Writing Presentation 2019 for guidelines and expectations

Please turn all essays in electronically (google doc link or .doc to

Essay due by Tuesday, February 12th

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