The brief but significant Regency period, during which Jane Austen wrote her most important novels, saw radical changes in English society. Not only was there a new emphasis on equality and freedom, which led to mass radical protests, but there was also a flourishing of consumerism and celebrity culture. The rapid growth of industry, technology, and science contributed to the social unrest. Thus, this period is considered the beginning of the democratic, secular, inventive society that characterizes our own. Do Austen’s novels reflect the dynamic period she lived in, or are they just brilliant comedies of manners that ignore the sometimes harsh reality around her? In this course, we will explore that question by studying the social and cultural history of this period and how it relates to her novels. | Lecture + Q&A; Viewing videos.
PLEASE NOTE: This class meets for 6 sessions beginning 9/14-10/26 - there is NO CLASS on 9/28.