What is it about Jane Austen’s novels that makes them so engaging and, yes, so comforting to read? Is it that the main character, always a young woman, ends up with someone who can genuinely appreciate her? Is it because some characters we care about are able to recognize their own flaws and are able to change? Or do we want to learn why some people are incapable of change? Or is it the irony, the social satire, the comic touches, and the language that make them such fun to read? Or might it be because life in an Austen novel seems just so different from our own so that we can escape into another world? Or perhaps it is the characters’ struggles with deception and loss, love and friendship that help us navigate our own lives. In this colloquy, we will immerse ourselves in the world of Jane Austen’s novels as a way to answer all of these questions and more.
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. She and her husband, Larry Flood divide their time between a shore house on the East Blue Hill Rd and a cottage at Parker Ridge.
Judy McGeorge is a former 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.
It is helpful for all of us to have the same editions so we can reference specific pages in the texts. However this is not required. Blue Hill Books has copies of these editions:
Sense and Sensibility, Penguin Classics, 2003
Please read both novels before our first session on March 2. We will devote the first 2 hour session to Sense and Sensibility and then will have three sessions to discuss Emma focusing on one volume in each session. In the last part of the final session we will also step back to explore the two novels together exploring the question, “What Is It About Jane Austen’s Novels ?”
Audiobook versions: If you have access to audiobooks and like to listen to books, here are two recommended versions:
Sense and Sensibility: Read by Rosamund Pike. (11 hours, 25 minutes).
Emma : Read by Jenny Agutter. (14 hours, 45 minutes).
Here is a fun tidbit to get you started….
Guest Participant: We are hoping that Marcia McClintock Folsom, a noted Jane Austen scholar, will join us during the colloquy. She has generously shared two of her essays with us. More to come on Marcia’s participation (and her biography). We are quite excited by her willingness to zoom in with us for at least part of the colloquy.
The Narrator’s Voice and the Sense of Sense and Sensibility – by Marcia McClintock Folsom
Emma: Knowing Her Mind – by Marcia McClintock Folsom
We will assume that everyone has read both novels prior to the start of the colloquy, but will structure our conversation on the texts as follows, beginning each session with an opening question:
Session 1 – March 2, 2022
Sense and Sensibility – the whole novel.
Here is a link to a webpage that illustrates and gives the history of the paper scrollwork basket in Vol II Ch I (Ch 23) page 137. Sensational Scrolled Paper: A Refined Art . The article even mentions the scene.
Session 2 – March 9, 2022
Emma– Volume I.
Link to: Reading Questions for Emma
Session 3 – March 16, 2022
Emma – Volume II
Session 4 – March 23, 2022
Emma – Volume III
Chronology in Emma: From – “Approaches to Teaching Austen’s Emma”, Edited by Marcia McClintock Folsom
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