In this complicated, divisive world of ours, many of us turn to the novels of Jane Austen to read and to reread. But why? Isn’t she the master of irony, of betrayals, of divisions within society? And yet, don’t we also read her for her sense of place, of characters and their values and flaws, for her thoughtful societal critiques, for moments of comedy, and ultimately for her language? In this colloquy we will read two more Austen novels, published a year apart, but in terms of their atmosphere, far apart. Pride and Prejudice (1813, but probably written at least fifteen years earlier) and Mansfield Park (1814) both deal with households full of young women and, in Mansfield Park, young men as well; both deal with courtship and marriage; both deal with the effects of wealth and its lack. Although both are written by Austen, one feels as if one has stepped into another world as one moves from Pride and Prejudice to Mansfield Park. What the nature of each world is, the differences between them, and the impact on the characters will be our focus. Which world best reflects the one we live in or the one we would wish to live in will also be a topic we will take up as we read and discuss each of these marvelous novels. Participants are expected to read both novels before the colloquy begins.
Tyler Knowles retired after 34 years of teaching English and chairing the English Department at the Winsor School, an independent school for girls in Boston. She also taught English and writing at the University of Wisconsin, Boston University, and Dartmouth College before Winsor. More recently, she served nine years on the GSA Board.
Judy McGeorge is a member of Colloquy Downeast Steering Committee. She has a Master of Liberal Arts degree from St John’s College Graduate Institute. She lives in Ellsworth and likes to participate in and offer colloquies that read works using the St John’s College style of learning.
We will be using the following editions of Jane Austen’s two novels. They are available through Blue Hill Books who will give you a 20% discount if you are participating in the colloquy.
Session 1 & 2: Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice. Ed. With Introduction, Notes Vivian Jones. Penguin Classics. 2003. (ISBN 9780-141-43951-8)
January 13, 2023 : Pride and Prejudice Volume I and Volume II through chapter XI (chapter 34 page 189).
January 20, 2023: Pride and Prejudice Volume II chapter XII (chapter 35 page 190) to the end.
Session 3 &4: Jane Austen. Mansfield Park. Ed with an introduction by Kathryn Sutherland. Penguin Classics. 2014, 2003.(ISBN: 978-0-141-43980-8
Session 3: January 27, 2023: Mansfield Park, Vol I and Vol II through chapter VI (chapter 24 page 219).
Session 4: February 3, 2023 Mansfield Park, Rest of Vol II and Vol III.
Sign me up!