ONLINE: Jane Austen lived from 1775 to 1817, during the late Georgian and Regency periods in England. The Regency period, during which Austen wrote her most important novels, saw radical changes in English society. Not only was there a new emphasis on equality and freedom, which led to mass radical protests, but there was also a flourishing of consumerism and celebrity culture. The rapid growth of industry, technology and science contributed to the social unrest. Due to the expanding empire and the relentless slave trade, Britain’s impact was global. This dynamic period is considered to be the beginning of the democratic, secular, inventive society that characterizes our own today. Do Austen’s novels reflect the intense period she lived in, or are they just brilliant comedies of manners that ignore the harsh realities around her? In this lecture-based course, we will explore that question by studying the social and cultural history of this period and how it relates to her novels. | Lecture + Q&A.
Max enrollment: 200.
Class sessions are recorded.
Margaret Brill was the British history librarian at Duke. She was also head of reference, and maps librarian during her career at Perkins Library. Margaret has a B.A. in history from the University of London, a master’s in library science from North Carolina Central University and a master’s in liberal studies from Duke. Her primary interest is social history, especially women's history.