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PS Austen Cult : Course Description

Course Description ^top

film screenings: date/time see Course Schedule, C601
subject area: literature and cultural studies
language: English

reading: Jane Austen, Mansfield Park; Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey; Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones's Diary; Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (excerpt);
films: Patricia Rozema, Mansfield Park; Simon Langton, Pride and Prejudice (selected episodes); Ramesh Sippy, Kuch Naa Kaho; Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Devdas (selected songs); Gurinder Chadha, Bride and Prejudice;
novels you need to buy: Jane Austen: Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice; Helen Fielding: Bridget Jones's Diary;
other texts: A reader will be provided for our first meeting.

Rozema, Mansfield Park

Why can you learn to date with Jane Austen (Jane Austen's Guide to Dating) but not with William Shakespeare? And why can you buy Pride and Prejudice paper dolls but will probably never stumble across Wuthering Heights paper dolls? The novels of Jane Austen have turned into a widespread cult, with innumerable imitations of and sequels to her novels published each year - and the same is true for films: 2 adaptations of Pride and Prejudice have been released quite recently (Joe Wright's Pride and Prejudice and Gurinder Chadha's Bollywood version Bride and Prejudice). In this course, we will try to scrutinize the 'cult' of Jane Austen in both literature and film. We will start with Mansfield Park (novel and film) and a look at Austen's biography, go on with Northanger Abbey and Austen's ironic reworking of Gothic conventions and finally read Pride and Prejudice. We will then have a look at more recent products of the Austen cult (Karen Joy Fowler, Lauren Henderson) and Helen Fielding's "chick lit" homage to Jane Austen, Bridget Jones's Diary (including a screening of the now famous 'Darcy wet shirt scene'). We will finish off with a digression into Bollywood film and its conventions (Kuch Naa Kaho, Devdas) before we watch and discuss Gurinder Chadha's Bride and Prejudice.

You should be familiar with Mansfield Park by the beginning of the course. Students attending this course must be willing to master a substantial deal of reading. Attendance of film screenings (probably after class) is mandatory (keep in mind that Bollywood films tend to be lengthy)!

portrait Austen

Reading List ^top

As this course requires a considerable reading pensum, you should have finished reading at least Austen's Mansfield Park by the beginning of the summer term!
We will discuss texts according to the order in which they are mentionend in the course description, i.e.:
(01) Mansfield Park
(02) Northanger Abbey
(03) Pride and Prejudiece;
(04) Bridget Jones's Diary All novels should be available in bookshops or on the internet!