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Module QXE-3020:
Jane Austen

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Maureen McCue

Overall aims and purpose

By the end of this module, students will have a deeper understanding of a range of Jane Austen’s works, as well as these texts’ relationship with their historical and cultural contexts. Students will also become familiar with a range of critical scholarship concerning Austen's works, thereby enabling students to respond to these texts in a more critically engaged and nuanced way. Finally, through seminar discussions and the planning and submission of coursework, this module will support the development of the students’ skills in close reading and literary analysis; written and oral communication; independent research; and time management.

Course content

Having likened her own writing process to the work of a miniature portrait painter, Jane Austen’s novels pay minute attention to the material details of everyday life in order to raise questions about individual and collective identities. Rather than presenting domestic spaces, practices and concerns as separate from the wider public sphere, Austen uses material culture to explore the complex relationship between the individual’s private and public selves. In particular, Austen engages with contemporary debates surrounding ‘Taste’, art (including literature, music and the visual arts) and politeness to explore the ways in which the interior lives and moral development of her characters are shaped by social expectations. By analysing a range of Austen’s novels alongside extracts from a selection contemporary texts (such as novels, poetry, reviews and art manuals), this module will enable students to explore the relationship between the private self and the social world, and to examine Austen’s own literary choices and techniques.

Assessment Criteria



Typically, work graded A- to A** (or 70 to 100) will show many of the following qualities:

• Discusses ideas with confidence and precision • Demonstrates maturity and sophistication • Displays deep knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is totally relevant • Shows independent, analytical and clear thought • Gives evidence of substantial and relevant reading • Shows great accuracy in expression, displaying total mastery over all aspects of the language • Shows occasional signs of brilliance and originality of thought • In creative work: displays considerable originality • Command over medium; may have potential for publication/production



Typically, work graded B- to B+ (or 60 to 69) will show many of the following qualities: • Discusses ideas adeptly • Most of the arguments about a specific field are well-aired • Displays knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is relevant • Shows analytical and clear thought • Gives evidence of relevant reading • Shows accuracy in expression with mastery over language. • A few minor errors here and there. • Signs of creative thought deserve a higher position within the class • In creative work: shows signs of originality, having understood the requirements of the medium • Plans of well-balanced and full answers, despite some gaps

C- to C+

C- to C+

Typically, work graded C- to C+ (or 50 to 59) will show many of the following qualities: • Discusses ideas, but without much confidence • A respectable effort but not showing any unusual talent; a few flashes of originality here and there • Makes reference to the subject in question, but some important matters not mentioned • Fairly clear thought on most occasions, and the arguments relevant on the whole • Evidence of having read some works associated with the field in question • Quite accurate expression, though the points may sometimes be presented clumsily • Signs of conscientious work deserve a higher position within the class • In creative work: not having quite mastered the requirements of the medium • Evidence of planning in the answers, but a lack of coherence at times; undisciplined and unsure at times


Typically, work graded D- to D+ (or 40 to 49) will show many of the following qualities: • Unsure and lacking in confidence when discussing ideas • Referring to the subject in question in a superficial manner • Making an effort to provide fairly balanced answers • Some points in the argument irrelevant to the topic • Little evidence of background reading • Some uncertainty over language and syntax • Strengths and weaknesses fairly balanced; occasionally clumsy and unimaginative • In creative work: superficial • Not succeeding in mastering the requirements of the medium

Learning outcomes

  1. To relate the texts to their original literary and cultural contexts.

  2. To analyse critically Austen’s literary techniques, and their impact on the development of the novel.

  3. To identify the ways in which Austen engages with material culture in order to explore the complex relationship between the individual and society

  4. To select, digest and organise material and produce a consistent and coherent argument, presented in written form, to a deadline.

  5. To understand, evaluate, and implement a range of critical and theoretical approaches to Jane Austen’s texts and their contexts.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ESSAY Research Essay

Over the course of the semester, students, in conversation with the module convenor, will devise their own essay title, conduct research and present their findings in a final essay.


In order to develop their final research project and as a way to test out some of their ideas, students will be asked to create a poster outlining the content of their research project. Although the cohort will be asked to display their posters together as a group, individuals will be examined based on the content of their work alone (submitted to Turnitin). This informal poster session will provide students with an opportunity to discuss their projects with their module convenor, other students and potentially other members of staff.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


One two-hour seminar per week for eleven weeks

Private study

During private study, students are expected to read the primary texts and relevant secondary critical works; prepare for seminars; and research and write their formative and summative coursework.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Subject specific skills

  • The ability to organise and present ideas within the framework of a structured and reasoned argument in written and/or oral assignments and class discussions. (Benchmark statement 5.14)
  • Critical skills in the close reading, description, reasoning and analysis of primary and secondary sources in the target language and/or English or Welsh (incl. filmic, literary and other sources). (Benchmark statement 5.13, 5.14, 5.15)
  • Competence in the planning and execution of essays, presentations and other written and project work; bibliographic skills, including the accurate citation of sources and consistent use of conventions and appropriate style in the presentation of scholarly work. (Benchmark statement 5.10, 5.14, 5.15)
  • The ability to gather information, analyse, interpret and discuss different viewpoints and to place these in a wider socio-cultural and/or geo-historical and political and/or socio-linguistic context and to revise and re-evaluate judgements in light of those of the course leader, certain individuals or groups studied and/or fellow students. (Benchmark statement 5.13, 5.15 and 5.16)
  • The ability to write and think under pressure and meet deadlines. (Benchmark statement 5.15)
  • The ability to write effective notes and access and manage course materials including electronic resources / information provided on online learning platforms and library resources. (Benchmark statement 5.15, 5.16)
  • The ability to work creatively and flexibly both independently and/or as part of a team. (Benchmark statement 5.15).
  • The ability to comprehend, critically engage with and apply relevant theoretical concepts to materials being studied. (Benchmark statement 5.10)
  • The ability to engage in analytical, evaluative and original thinking. (Benchmark statement 5.14)
  • The ability to organise and present ideas and arguments in presentations, classroom discussions and debates. (Benchmark statement 5.14, 5.16)
  • The ability to develop and manage an independent research project in English/Welsh. (Benchmark statement 5.10, 5.15, 5.16)
  • Skills in the critical reading and analysis of literary and/or musical and/or filmic texts. (Benchmark statement 5.10)


Resource implications for students

Students will need to buy copies of the novels studied on this module, which may include *Pride and Prejudice*, *Emma*, *Sense and Sensibility* and *Persuasion*. All of these are available in affordable paperback editions, though the *Norton Critical editions* are recommended. Films may be screened as part of the module.

Talis Reading list

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: