Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsKIM SIMPSON: Hello. Welcome to this week of the course. We hope you enjoyed last week. So as many of you have probably become aware during this course, Jane Austen's books can't be read in a vacuum. This week we're going to be thinking a little bit about the context in which Jane Austen was writing. So we'll be thinking about some of the things that influenced her, things like garden design, music, the arts, theatre, and also celebrity.

Skip to 0 minutes and 29 secondsGILLIAN DOW: That's a very important point of her 19th century reception, of course. We can't think about Jane Austen really without thinking about this issue of periodization. She's publishing all her novels in the Regency period, but she's drafting and writing a great many of them in the 18th century, the late 18th century. And of course, things are done to her throughout the 19th century in terms of turning her into this model of Victorian femininity. Now Victorian ideas of womanhood and what a woman could and should be didn't arrive with Victoria on the throne in 1837. They're very much in the air in the late 1920s and early 1830s.

Skip to 1 minute and 10 secondsAnd one of the people who constructed that version of Jane Austen was her very own brother Henry, who wrote a new preface to an addition of her novels in 1833. We're going to be hearing a lot more about that from Jane Austen's most recent biographer professor Ann McCleary and our colleague at the University of Southampton, Rebecca Smith, who herself is descended from another of Jane Austen's brothers.

Skip to 1 minute and 34 secondsKIM SIMPSON: So we really hope that you enjoyed participating this week, and we're really looking forward to reading your comments.

Welcome to week 2

Gillian and Kim welcome you to week 2 and introduce the themes we will look at this week.

What do you hope to learn this week?

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This video is from the free online course:

Jane Austen: Myth, Reality and Global Celebrity

University of Southampton