This course will trace the development of Jane Austen’s writing and ideas through her major novels. Some of the issues we will examine include: the relationship between economic structures and personal happiness; the nature and value of “family life”; women’s “education” and the construction of femininity; and the innovative effects of Austen’s use of irony and free indirect discourse. We will also spend some time comparing Austen’s views and style to previous versions of the “the witty couple,” and thinking about her place in the history of women writers. Finally, we will consider Austen’s enduring fascination for our own culture. Course requirements will include short response papers, two short critical papers, and a longer final paper.