Study Day, Saturday 21 March 2020, 2.00 pm–5.30 pm

Price: £50.00 / £45.00 students. Tea and coffee provided.
Venue: Stapleford Granary, Bury Road, Stapleford, Cambridge CB22 5BP

CAMcard holders and members of relevant literary societies can book at the student price. Please bring proof of status to the event.

Emma (1816) is one of Jane Austen’s best-known novels. Jane Austen wondered whether readers would like the main character, but Emma has proved an enduring and fascinating character, and the book remains a favourite among readers today. Join us for an intensive and exciting Study Day, with two lectures and a round-table seminar.

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Louise Joy, Jane Austen and Women's Writing

In the eighteenth century, women writers dominated the literary marketplace. Their ubiquity and popularity was such that many had come to view the novel as a feminised form. This lecture will situate Jane Austen’s Emma in the context of eighteenth-century women’s writing. How was Austen influenced by the women who came before her? How does she adapt the novel form to build on the prose innovations of earlier women writers?

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Fred Parker, Match-making in Emma

Guessing who is or might be in love with whom is a favourite activity in Highbury, and Emma, the great ‘imaginist’ in that community, is its supreme practitioner. This fondness for making up stories that end in marriage is something that she shares with Austen: Austen's readers are themselves drawn into match-making. We shall explore the difficulty in reading the signs of love in social exchanges, why story-telling might be crucial to this, and what it suggests about the psychology of feeling if the reader or the story-teller can be well ahead of the person who turns out to have always been in love.

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Optional further reading

You may wish to explore some of these related works before the Study Day or afterwards:
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)
Jane Austen, Mansfield Park (1814)
Roger Gard, Jane Austen’s Novels: The Art of Clarity (Yale University Press, 1994)
John Mullan, What Matters in Jane Austen? (Bloomsbury, 2012)
Tony Tanner, Jane Austen (Macmillan, 1986; 2007)
Peter Sabor, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Emma (CUP, 2015)
Claire Tomalin, Jane Austen: A Life (Penguin, 2012)
John Wiltshire, The Hidden Jane Austen (CUP, 2014)

Chronology and details of the novels: Jane Austen Society.
John Mullan on courtship, love and marriage in Jane Austen’s novel, British Library website.