Nicholas Dames (Professor of Humanities, Columbia University)
May 7, 2020
How should we read Jane Austen’s most famous novel more than 200 years on from its initial publication? This webinar is an inquiry into a division of opinion about Austen that has only grown more heated: whether we read her to flee modernity, or to understand it. We will consider what Austen’s novel has to say to us now, with attention to the negotiation and performance of behavioral codes in a social environment undergoing change; ideas of revolution coming into conflict with fantasies of social concord; the intersections of money, class, and erotic desire; the relation of gender to other forms of exploitation. Our guiding question will finally be: how might the style of spirited individualism Austen describes still be viable for us?