Status: Available

Jane Austen on page and screen

Three novels and their modern-day adaptations, updates, and spin-offs

Spring 2024
Tuesday Afternoon
Moderators: Nancy Coiner, Antonia Woods



In this seminar we will read three Austen novels, discuss them together, and consider how they live on – for better or worse – two hundred years later.


What do we love about Jane Austen’s novels? And how well do those qualities survive today’s adaptations, updates, and spin-offs? These questions will underscore our reading of three of Austen’s novels – Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma – as well as our explorations of how they have been re-created in recent films and novels. For one hour each session, we will discuss the novels themselves. During the other hour we will examine adaptations, from the brilliant to the irritating. Depending on our interests, we may range from Colin Firth’s shirt and Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility to modern-day updates (films like Clueless or novels like Jane Austen in Boca) to biopics (Becoming Jane), continuations (Sanditon), genres (Regency romance), and even murder mysteries. We will consider how realities and representations of wealth, sexuality, and romance have – and have not –shifted in the past two hundred years and why Austen’s wit and warmth still stir us today.

ROLE OF PARTICIPANTS: Participants will be expected to (re)read the novels and either lead a discussion on one of the novels or present information and ideas about some modern adaptation (or type of adaptation).

We will select and strongly recommend paperback editions of all three novels, so that everyone can find passages and page references quickly.

ABOUT THE MODERATOR: Nancy has loved literature – especially novels – all her life; reading it, discussing it, teaching it, and even writing it. With a doctorate in Comparative Literature, she has recently moderated several LIR seminars. Antonia has two MAs, in history from Yale and in English from Mt. Holyoke. She taught US History and American Studies for 38 years. She loves close reading of classic novels.