ENGL2200 Jane Austen and her Legacy

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 2AlbanyFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the English and Literary Studies; Gender Studies major sequences
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 2 elective
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. Austen proves a continuing source of fascination for contemporary storytellers.
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) be aware of the importance of informing and challenging their independent analyses and ideas with discriminating reading of the imaginative, critical and theoretical literature which the unit recommends; (5) develop a critical interpretation of Austen's textual negotiation of influential discourses and ideologies on gender, race, class, imperialism and aesthetics; (6) express original arguments, develop appropriate research methodologies, and articulate approaches and findings, coherently and logically in oral and written formats; (7) apply, knowingly and appropriately, highly developed skills of textual analysis, critical reasoning, interpretation and research; and (8) apply developed skills in independent enquiry-based research, leading towards an informed understanding of, and ethical sensitivity towards, our diverse and globalised world in the context of advanced further studies and/or future career paths.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) essay; (2) project; and (3) participation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Ned Curthoys
Unit rules
any Level 1 English unit
Contact hours
lectures: 1 hour per week; tutorials: 1 x 2 hours per week

The following Jane Austen textbooks are required for this unit:

Pride and Prejudice


Mansfield Park


The following adaptations of Austen are also required:

Clueless (film)

Miss Austen Regrets (film)

The Jane Austen book club (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.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.