October 11, 2012

Jane Austen and the brain

Writing about web page http://news.stanford.edu/news/2012/september/austen-reading-fmri-090712.html

Jane Austen has been in the news this week with the announcement of research suggesting that critical reading is good exercise for your brain. The research study used a passage from Mansfield Park to look at the cognitive effects of different forms of reading, but the results of the research have much wider applicability to literary studies in suggesting that critical literary reading "provides a truly valuable exercise of people's brains".

October 09, 2012

Resources for presentations/essays

The module bibliography contains plenty of suggestions for articles and books to refer to for your presentations - scroll down the page to find resources listed for each author/novel - but you can also search more widely using online resources. The Library's electronic resources page for English Lit students contains all the sites you might need for locating and accessing journal articles etc. The most useful collections are Project Muse and Jstor, and LION for details of articles (not all available online, however) - remember that if you're accessing these off-campus you'll need to log-in to your Warwick account via the library.

October 05, 2012

Week 2 Questions


Maria Edgeworth's house

For the week 2 seminar prepare notes on the following issues:

The narrator: what is the impact of the first-person narration? Is Thady a reliable narrator? What is the relationship between Thady's narration and the surrounding editorial material - preface, footnotes, glossary?

The big house: in what ways is the house significant, and what values is it associated with? What does the novel criticise and endorse? How do class tensions intersect with issues of nationality?

The position of women: what part do women play in this narrative? How do gender, class and nation intersect?

October 01, 2012


A series on "Servants: The true story of life below stairs" began last week on BBC2, and it provides some useful context for the themes of the first unit of the module on The House and its Head.

In the first episode, Dr Pamela Cox explored the life of servants in the country houses of the 19th century, looking at how the idea of service changed in the early part of the century in response to new ideas about the country estate. The programme also picked up on the increase of servants in middle-class homes throughout the century, drawing on issues around the rising middle classes that we discussed in the week 1 seminar. I found the programme informative and enjoyable to watch, and it will give you a good sense of life in the typical Victorian house, as well as contextualise some of the class issues in the master/servant relationship that we'll address next week with Castle Rackrent.

September 25, 2012

Module information

The EN245 module website is now up to date with this year's information - including extracts to download for the week 5 and 8 seminars (see the syllabus page).

Please note that seminars commence in week 1, but there is no reading set for this week.

September 24, 2012


Welcome to the blog for EN245, The English 19th Century Novel

map of empire

I use this blog to post additional resources to support the weekly seminar reading, seminar questions for my teaching groups, and general information and updates about the course and seminars. Anyone taking the course is welcome to read and contribute.

Please feel free to comment on posts and contact me with relevant information.

I hope you enjoy the course!

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