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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsAt last, here we are, Jane Austen week. This week is all about Jane Austen, her fictional country houses, and the novel. Austen is the first author on this course to write what we would now recognise as a novel. So this week, we'll be thinking about the rise of the novel and the place of the country house in its history. Austen famously compared her writing to fine brushwork upon ivory. So it's necessary to refine one's reading of Austen. As such, we will focus our attention on Close Reading, because so much of Austen's humour and irony is utterly dependent on her prose style. Austen's style offers us an unparalleled insight into the minds of those characters.

Skip to 0 minutes and 51 secondsAnd at the end of this week, you'll have a chance to try this yourselves, as we ask you to rewrite your favourite scene in 'Pride and Prejudice' from Darcy's perspective. Here are some key questions to think about this week. How is the country house depicted in the 18th-century novel? What is the importance of style in Jane Austen's writing? And how do women write women in the English country house? This week, we're at Chatsworth, claimed to be the model for Pemberley. So bonnets at the ready as we retrace the footsteps and fancies of Elizabeth Bennet.

Welcome to Week 4

This week we’re visiting Chatsworth House which is believed to have been Jane Austen’s model for Pemberley, the country estate of Mr Darcy in ‘Pride and Prejudice’.

We’ll be joined this week by Dr Joe Bray, Reader in Language and Literature in the School of English, who will tell us about the history of the novel as a form and introduce us to ‘stylistics’, another approach to literary interpretation.

As we work through this week, here are some questions to bear in mind:

  1. How is the country house depicted in the 18th-century novel?
  2. What is the importance of style in Jane Austen’s writing?
  3. How do women write women in the English country house?

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This video is from the free online course:

Literature of the English Country House

The University of Sheffield

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