EL6049 - From Jane Austen to Austenland: Representing the Regency in Literature and Film

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What will I learn on this module?

The Regency (1810-1820) is condensed and complex period of contrasts; whilst precipitating significant and lasting changes in literature, art, theatre, fashion, and architecture, it was also a period that was beset by war, ruthless suppression of popular protest, sexual scandal, and the Regent himself was an object of contempt and ridicule. However, the Regency has come to be represented in popular culture as the lost and last age of romance and elegance, partly the result of enhanced connections being made between Austen and the heritage industries in modern adaptations. This module examines representations of the Regency in literature and film, beginning with the works of Jane Austen, all of which were published during this period.

We will begin with an introduction to the social, cultural and political issues of the period, and we will consider Austen as a writer of the Regency. We will move on to consider the significance of twentieth-century adaptations, imitations and appropriations of Austen and representations of the Regency in the works of historical novelists such as Georgette Heyer and Barbara Cartland, and more contemporary works such as Shannon Hale’s ‘Austenland’. We will also consider the proliferation of Austen and the Regency-based texts in the American market in relation to thinking about both as a form of heritage tourism and escapism. Overall, we will be exploring the impact of Austen upon popular culture, how popular culture fosters a reconsideration of Austen and how we engage with both in relation how we envision our cultural past.

How will I learn on this module?

You will be taught through 12 weeks of classes. Each week you will have a one-hour class introducing you to a text/topic, followed by a separate two-hour workshop in which you undertake discussion and activities in relation to this text/topic.

Class breakdown
Week 1: 1 ½ hour seminar
Weeks 2-11: 1 hour lecture + 2 hour seminar
Week 12: 1 ½ hour seminar

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be provided with a module reader at the beginning of the semester containing details of preparatory reading and questions to consider each week. These questions will form the basis of class discussion and provide students with a clear overview of what to expect in each class throughout the semester. You will bring their reader to class each week, completing notes and responses which they can draw on in their subsequent assignments.

The module tutor will discuss the two forms of module assessment in class, providing class-based practice of the ideas that underpin each assignment, and meeting with you on a one-to-one basis to give feedback on their essay plan before they write and submit their final essay.
The module handbook provides details of weekly seminars, reading lists and assessment criteria. The module tutor will be available in each class, as well as in office hours and on email/phone, to discuss any queries or concerns you have about how to excel academically on the module.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Enhanced appreciation of relationship between canonical literature, popular culture and culture heritage.
Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
2. Engage in self-managed research
3. Skills in presenting research in a variety of formats

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
4. Curiosity about and awareness of connections between literature and constructions of cultural heritage.

How will I be assessed?

1. Powerpoint presentation (8-12 slides) + 1000 word script (40%)
MLOs: 2, 3

Feedback will initially be given via the Virtual Learning Environment, which you are also more than welcome to discuss in person during feedback and consultation hours.

2. 3000 word essay (60%)
MLOs: 1, 4
Feedback will be generated in the form of notes upon the script and a detailed summary provided on the standard feedback sheet, which you are then most welcome to discuss in person during feedback and consultation hours.

Pre-requisite(s)

n/a

Co-requisite(s)

n/a

Module abstract

Jane Austen and the Regency have become synonymous; modern adapations and appropriations of Austen have facilitated viewing the Regency period as being a lost age of courtly manners, innocence and elegance. This module will encourage you to think about the relationship between canonical literature, popular culture and heritage tourism. We will explore how these three elements combine to create a vision of our historical past that appears to be authentic, and a version of ‘Jane Austen’ as a instantly recognizable brand. You will encouraged to think about how the study of literature can provide a valuable insight into how the heritage sector and popular culture both engage with and promote a specific type of nostalgia for a set of cultural values that have either completely vanished or are simply the work of fiction.

Course info

UCAS Code PQ53

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Social Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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