Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


This unit offers a close examination of Jane Austen's major novels and analyses the profound influence she has had on contemporary culture. We try to account for why television and cinematic adaptations, and fan-fiction reinventions and mashups of her work continue to appear at a prolific rate. The unit begins by situating Austen as a novelist writing in a particular historical era at the turn of the nineteenth century, with Britain rapidly emerging as one of Europe's foremost maritime and imperial powers. Austen was well aware that the emerging novel form was inspiring lively discussions of its moral and educative effects on a growing, substantially female readership. While her novels have been celebrated down the ages as archetypal romances, the unit draws on recent scholarly debates in order to understand Austen's novels as invested in contributing to social and political conversations of her era. Students consider the ethics of Austen's novels which can be interpreted as promoting sociable virtues and as extolling companionate marriage in a period in which sharply defined gender roles generated incomprehension and misunderstanding between the sexes. Throughout the unit students examine Austen's extraordinary influence on popular culture as a romantic, melancholic and ironic author.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the English and Literary Studies; Gender Studies major sequences
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) acquire an informed understanding of the cultural history of the Regency period in England and how it stimulated Austen's writing; (2) comprehend the genres and aesthetic concepts informing Austen's fiction such as Gothic, realism, sentiment and sensibility, comedy of manners, parody and burlesque, and the Bildungsroman; (3) understand Austen's innovative deployment of an array of narrative techniques; (4) develop a critical interpretation of Austen's textual negotiation of influential discourses and ideologies on gender, race, class, imperialism and aesthetics; and (5) apply, knowingly and appropriately, highly developed skills of textual analysis, critical reasoning, interpretation and research.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) essay; (2) project; and (3) participation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Jessica Murray
Unit rules
any Level 1 English unit
Contact hours
lectures: 1 hour per week
tutorials: 1 x 2 hours per week
All lectures for this unit will be pre-recorded and available online via LMS

The following Jane Austen textbooks are required for this unit:

Sense and Sensibility

Pride and Prejudice



The following adaptations of Austen are also required:

Sense and Sensibility (film)

Clueless (film)

Miss Austen Regrets (film)


  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.