Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813) in context

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813) in context

Pride and Prejudice is most often described as Austen’s best-loved novel and adaptations of various kinds have emphasised the romance and its feisty, ‘feminist’ heroine Elizabeth Bennet. This course aims to understand the novel in terms of its historical and cultural contexts and explore Austen’s social and political conservatism.

A mixture of lectures, discussions and workshops including screening of short clips from various film adaptations. Students will receive a short list of reading when they book – all easily accessible online. The course focuses on a single Austen novel, Pride and Prejudice though there will be a place for comparisons, but this is not a general course about Austen, nor is there any particular focus on Austen’s life.


Tutor: Rachel Malik

Dates: Tuesday Sept 5 and Wednesday Sept 6

Time:  10.30-4.30pm

Fee:     HLSI members £80

Non-members £95

Venue: Gosling Room


Outline for two day course

Day 1

Morning. Lecture and discussion. Contexts 1. The unstable world of Pride and Prejudice: the new rich and the Napoleonic Wars.

Afternoon. Discussion and workshop: Families and properties: Bennets, Bingleys and Darcys; Longbourn, Netherfield and Pemberley – these are the main characters in the novel and always count more than any individual heroine or hero.

Day 2

Morning. Lecture and discussion. Contexts 2: Pride and Prejudice as part of late 18th and early 19th century novelistic culture – brief comparisons with contemporaneous writers Ann Radcliffe, Fanny Burney and Maria Edgeworth.

Afternoon. What kinds of argument is Pride and Prejudice making about the politics of its time? What is its vision of the good society? How are irony and free indirect style central to Austen’s arguments?