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Austen: Pride and Prejudice

2. Critical Reception

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about Austen's critical reception from the 19th century to the present day, focusing in particular on the comments of literary critics such as A. C. Bradley, Reginald Farrer, and F. R. Leavis, the critical debates that have surrounded Austen and her novels, and the various adaptations of Austen's work in fiction, film, television and on the stage.

Further reading:
– Butler, Marilyn, 1975, Jane Austen and the War of Ideas, Clarendon, Oxford.
– Farese, Carlotta, 2015, “‘Dear Aunt Jane’: Austen, the Victorians, and Us”, Victorian Romantics 5 (1-2), pp. 9-14.
– Harding, D.W., [1940] 1998, Regulated Hatred and Other Essays, ed. Monica Lawlor, The Athlone Press, London.
– Heydt-Stevenson, Jill, 2005, Austen’s Unbecoming Conjunctions: Subversive Laughter, Embodied History, Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
– Gilbert, Sandra, M. and Gubar, Susan, 1979, The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Imagination, Yale U.P., New Haven-London.
– Johnson, Claudia L., 1988, Jane Austen: Women, Politics and the Novel, Chicago U.P., Chicago.
– Knox-Shaw, Peter, 2004, Jane Austen and the Enlightenment, Cambridge U.P., Cambridge.
– Oliphant, Margaret, 1870, “Miss Austen and Miss Mitford”, Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine 108, pp. 290-313.
– Poovey, Mary, 1984, The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer: Ideology as Style in the Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley and Jane Austen, Chicago U.P., Chicago.
– Sutherland, Kathryn, 2005, Jane Austen’s Textual Lives from Aeschylus to Bollywood, O.U.P., Oxford.


In this course, Dr Katie Halsey (University of Stirling) explores Jane Austen's 1813 novel, Pride and Prejudice. We begin by providing a broad introduction to the historical, literary, social and cultural context of the novel including the early reception of Austen's novel and the status of the novel as a genre in the early nineteenth century. In the second module, we think about the critical reception of Austen's novels from the mid-nineteenth century onwards, before moving on in the third module to explore the presentation of gender in the novel, focusing in particular on the position of gentry-class women in Georgian Britain and the various attitudes to marriage displayed in the novel. In the fourth module, we think about Austen's use of irony in the novel, before turning in the fifth module to explore Austen's use of narrative voice and the concept of 'free indirect discourse'.


Prof. Katie Halsey is Professor of English Studies at the University of Stirling. Her research interests lie mainly in the fields of eighteenth-century and Romantic-period literature and print culture, in particular Jane Austen and the history of reading, although she also works on Mary Russell Mitford and Margaret Oliphant. Her recent publications include (as co-editor) The History of Reading (2011) and Jane Austen and her Readers, 1786-1945 (2012).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Halsey, K. (2018, August 15). Austen: Pride and Prejudice - Critical Reception [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Halsey, K. "Austen: Pride and Prejudice – Critical Reception." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,