Jane Austen and the Rise of the Woman Novelist
Dr. Emma Plaskitt
In this course we will examine the enduringly popular novels of Jane Austen, looking at her novelistic technique and development, and her place among women writers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In addition to studying the major novels, we will look at Austen’s juvenilia and unfinished works and place each text in its literary and historical context. This will involve, for example, an examination of the eighteenth-century cult of sensibility when we discuss Sense and Sensibility, the epistolary novel when we look at Lady Susan, and the contemporary vogue for gothic novels when we study Austen’s burlesque of the gothic genre, Northanger Abbey. Other themes that will be discussed include Austen’s treatment of class, economics, female friendship, courtship, and politics. Additionally, students will be introduced to traditional and recent Austen criticism.
Dr. Emma Plaskitt
This course will examine the lives and literature of famous Oxford alumni Lewis Carroll (Christ Church College), Oscar Wilde (Magdalen), C.S. Lewis (University and Magdalen), J.R.R. Tolkien (Exeter and Merton), Alan Garner (Magdalen), Susan Cooper (Somerville), and Philip Pullman (Exeter). Texts under discussion will include Alice in Wonderland, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, The Dark is Rising Sequence, and Northern Lights. To place readings in context, this course will also explore selected source materials used by these writers, such as classical fairy tales, Norse mythology, and Arthurian Romance and will examine each writer's differing, and even controversial views on fairy tales and fantasy.
Dr. Emma Plaskitt holds a first class honours degree in English literature from McGill University, Montreal, and an M.Phil and D.Phil in eighteenth-century literature from Oxford. Having worked for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography as a freelance editor and writer, she now focuses on teaching Eighteenth-century, Victorian, and Children's literature for a variety of Oxford colleges and is an Overseas Lecturer for Stanford University.
Poems of Wordsworth and Coleridge
Dr. Mina Gorji
Wordsworth and Coleridge were not just contemporaries; they also share a unique and intense literary relationship. The course will begin with the period of their closest alliance, the 1798 Lyrical Ballads, and end with their mature narratives of self-development, The Prelude and Biographic Literaria. The focus throughout will be on the personal and public themes of the two writers and the possible connections between them. We shall be discussing autobiography and the fears and aspirations of selfhood; the French Revolution and the political and historical narratives it generated; the lyrical ballads and the concepts of natural and supernatural power; the sequence of odes and confessional lyrics, from Frost at Midnight and Tintern Abbey to Dejection: An Ode and Ode: Intimations of Immortality; and the roles and definitions of nature and humankind, of imagination and perception.
Dr. Mina Gorji holds a First Class degree in English from Cambridge and an M. Phil. in Romanticism (with Distinction) from Oxford; she recently completed a D. Phil. at Oxford on “John Clare and the Language of Tradition.” She teaches the Romantic period at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and has written for The Keats-Shelley Journal and Visual Culture in Britain.
Last Modified: May 19, 2008