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Walled Gardens and Wild Moors: The Worlds of Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë

HNRS 2012 Sec. 900 - Spring 2022

Associate Dean Drew Lamonica Arms Ogden Honors College

Tu Th 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
200 French House

This course will explore many of the social, cultural, political, and economic ideas that dominated early to mid-19th century England through an examination of two of England’s most revered authors, Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë. While popular discourse often portrays both women as sheltered from the harsh realities of their societies, the novels reveal authors who were acutely aware of social ills and moral challenges and who used their fiction to enter the larger debate. They did so in radically different ways – Austen through the “genteel” novel of manners and Brontë through works considered by mid-Victorian critics as coarse, ungoverned, and excessively violent. Charlotte Brontë was herself a critic of Austen’s novels, considering them “more real than true,” and condemning Austen as unwilling to shoulder the moral and social responsibilities an author has to society. We will explore the validity of both Victorian and present-day criticism of Austen’s and Brontë’s novels Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Jane Eyre, and Shirley.

Fulfills General Education:

English Composition
Social Sciences