Monday, 4 October 2010


Have you ever dreamt of going to University to study your favourite author/s? I used to and , actually, I even did it. I studied English and Spanish Languages & Literatures at Rome University and got my degree .I studied many of the authors I love! But it was long ago, now. Those were wonderful  years! Later  I dreamt of going on studying in England, maybe in a prestigious university like Oxford or Cambridge but... never tried, actually. Life led me along different paths and here I am reading and teaching and blogging without many regrets.
But attending a course in one of the most prestigious British University is not impossible, now. Neither to all of us living in distant countries. Internet is our saviour, the saviour of our dreams.

I've just found this interesting online course about Jane Austen offered by the Departmnet of Continuing Education of Oxford University.


Many readers enjoy Austen’s novels but cannot define the qualities that make them so special and enduring. This course will help you to analyse Austen’s style and techniques, and give you a greater knowledge of the novels’ context, which will enhance your understanding and enjoyment of reading them.


Jane Austen’s six major novels have hardly been out of print for two hundred years. Many readers enjoy them but cannot always define the qualities that make Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, and Persuasion so enduring and so rewarding for reading and rereading. This course helps students to learn to analyse Austen’s characteristic style and techniques and thus gain an enhanced appreciation of her art. It also looks at the historical and literary contexts of the novels, allowing students to gain a greater understanding of their themes and sub-texts. The course is suitable for those new to Austen’s writing as well as for the devoted Janeite. Though the topics covered range across all six major novels, and those who have read all six will be able to use that knowledge, each week’s required reading includes key sections of one novel.

Programme details


Unit 1: Who was Jane Austen? Biography and biographies; Family history; Letters.  

Unit 2: Jane Austen’s language and style: The narrative voice; Dialogue; Perspective; Inner and outer; How to analyse an Austen novel.

Unit 3: Sense and Sensibility: Background: Elinor and Marianne; the epistolary novel; The literature of Sensibility; Romanticism; Siblings in Austen’s work.

Unit 4: Northanger Abbey; Background: the Gothic novel and Gothic novel readers; Ann Radcliffe; Pastiche and parody.

Unit 5: Pride and Prejudice: Background: marriage and property in Austen’s time; soldiers and militia men; The ‘courtship ordeal novel’; Fashion in Austen’s time.

Unit 6: Mansfield Park: Background: The Georgian, the Augustan and the Regency; Imperialism, and Mansfield Park; Mothers and home-makers.

Unit 7: Emma: Background: dancing games and puzzles in Austen’s writing; Governesses; Irony; Parents in Austen’s novels.

Unit 8: Persuasion: Background: Bath and Lyme; the Navy in Austen’s time; Persuasion and persuasiveness; The cancelled section of Persuasion.

Unit 9: Happy ever after?: Austen’s novels: anti-romance?; Love, weddings, and marriage; Austen’s endings; Further reading on Austen.

Recommended reading



To participate in the course you will need to have regular access to the Internet and you will need to buy the following books (all by Jane Austen):

Sense and Sensibility,
Northanger Abbey and Other Works
Pride and Prejudice
Mansfield Park

Students will be required to read the introductions to, and extracts from, all six novels. You will be encouraged to read as much as is practical of all of the novels.
The course will start in January 2011
Programme Fee
Home/EU Fee: £180.00
Non-EU Fee: £285.00


Audra said...

Oh, this sounds amazing! Maybe someday...

Anonymous said...

Hi Maria - so glad you found this - I took this course this past winter - it is where I met Adriana Zardini from Brazil. It was a wonderful experience - I was fairly well versed in Austen gong into it, btu still got so much out of it. Sandie Byrne, the tutor was a very good guide through it all - you will get as much out of it as you put in - alot of time reading, but most time was reading other participants' comments and questions and commenting in return. It was more time-consuming than I was expecting but mostly because I did read everything assigned and more, and also commented alot to keep the discussion going. I highly recommend it - if you are thinking about doing this and have any specific questions, I am happy to answer them...

iz4blue said...

This sounds lovely! I am wondering if as a EU citizen but living in the US I would qualify for the EU fee?? Not a question I should pose you of course...
Thanks for the post!!

Adriana Zardini said...

Hi Maria! As Deb said, it was there that I met her! I reccomend this course, of course! :)