Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte

Please note: this is archived course information from 2023 for ENGLISH 731.


While both Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë stand among the best-known and canonical English novelists, their work differs as greatly as the Georgian and Victorian eras in which each wrote. Brontë famously critiqued Austen’s style, comparing her stories to walled, small, claustrophobic gardens and declaring a preference for more open and natural spaces, more open and passionate emotions. 

In spite of Brontë’s insistence upon difference, however, these two writers also have a lot in common. This course examines a selection of their works and considers how they responded to the literary and social environment of their time (from their juvenilia onwards). The course will pay attention to the reception history of their lives and works, from the nineteenth century to the present, such as the development of their reputations in academic and popular accounts, and screen adaptations of their fiction in the Hollywood-led resurgence of interest in both authors. Another important context is critical interest since the 1970s in the constraints affecting nineteenth-century women’s writing.



Courework only

Availability 2023

Not taught in 2023




ENGLISH 731: 30 points