Jane Austen explored in new online course

The University of Southampton to launch new online course on the FutureLearn platform exploring how Jane Austen became a global celebrity

The course, Jane Austen: Myth, Reality and Global Celebrity, explores how Austen became a global celebrity and considers what she means for a global audience today.

The course is aimed at anyone with an interest in Jane Austen and her novels, including those who make up the numerous Jane Austen societies that have been established around the world.

“Austen’s work resonates worldwide, so we’re thrilled to be able to discuss the impact of her work on an international scale,” said Gillian Dow, Associate Professor in English at University of Southampton

“From thinking about some of Austen’s early influences, and investigating some of the myths surrounding women writers of the 18th century, this course will enable learners to explore how this relatively unknown writer became an iconic figure, and to evaluate her posthumous impact.” 

The course explores the education Jane Austen would have experienced in the 18th century, the books she read and the other influences on her thinking and writing. Learners will also have the chance to ask ‘How did Jane Austen become a global celebrity?’ They’ll also discuss how Jane has been adapted for the modern age in film and television, and examine how she has been perceived globally through translations of her work, and how she’s been marketed to the public at large from the 18th century to the present day. 

From thinking about some of Austen’s early influences, and investigating some of the myths surrounding women writers of the 18th century, this course will enable learners to explore how this relatively unknown writer became an iconic figure, and to evaluate her posthumous impact

Nigel Smith, Head of Content at FutureLearn, said: “This is a fantastic example of a subject that has impacted a huge number of people worldwide, a topic which they can really deepen their knowledge of; by discussing their multiple perspectives of the author with a community of like-minded people, they can truly appreciate the impact of her endured legacy. The potential for participation and engagement on a global scale – and the opportunity to unlock knowledge of such a fascinating topic that this enables – is exactly what online learning is all about.”

By the end of the course, learners will be able to evaluate the marketing of Jane Austen in her own time and the present day, identify the challenges of adapting, translating and interpreting Jane Austen’s works and how this affects our global understanding of her. They’ll also be able to discuss the impact of the society Austen lived in on her work, debunking some of the myths that surrounded Jane and women writers in the 18th century.

Jane Austen: Myth, Reality and Global Celebrity is open for enrolment now and starts on 23rd April 2018.