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Content of Talks

Introducing Jane Austen and her Novels
Divided into two parts, covering first, Jane Austen the woman, her life and family, followed by a look at her Works, focussing on the writing and the publication, and some of the anecdotes attached to them.

Introducing Jane Austen - The Woman and the Writer
A talk combining the life and family elements of 'Introducing Jane Austen' with her development as a writer and her influence on the novel.

Literature in the 19th Century
This covers the development of the novel and Jane Austen's role in it, together with the comments of 19th-century writers on Jane Austen. It offers some evidence of her influence (or lack of it) on some of these writers.

Jane Austen's Literary Fingerprint
An extension of the above in two sections, together with coverage of 20th and 21st century writers on Austen.

Jane Austen and Marriage - Fact and Fiction
Another talk in two parts. The first takes a general look at marriage in the 18th/19th century from a woman's standpoint, but with particular emphasis on women of Jane Austen's own class. In the second part, the talk looks at the marriages within the six major novels; those existing at the start, those formed during and those formed at the end of the novels.

Jane Austen's Widows and Old Maids
Jane Austen wrote about women: women of all ages, social status, wealth and marital status. This talk looks at representations in the novels of two types single woman - widows and unmarried 'ladies of a certain age' - and how Austen uses her fictional women to comment on the lives of women in reality.

Father of the Bride
This talk focuses on the fathers of the brides in the novels: what they have in common; their individual characteristics; the importance in the part each one plays in the respective novel; and which would provide the most agreeable company.

Jane Austen's Women
This talk looks initially at the place of women in society. From there, it moves on to representations of women in the novels Jane Austen might have read, and how her heroines were different, illustrated by an analysis of the women in Sense and Sensibility.

Sense and Sensibility: A Novel with Two Heroines
This talk is an analysis of Jane Austen's first published novel. It looks at themes in the novel, at the characters and considers the title itself.

The Story Behind Pride and Prejudice
How Jane Austen's most famous and most popular novel came into being, and the reactions it caused - and continues to cause.

Themes in Pride and Prejudice
Some background to the writing and early reception of the novel, followed by some of the themes covered. These include:Appearance and Reality; Class, Inheritance and Society; Parenting and Family.

The Body in the Library : Meet the Real Mr Bennet!
This talk seeks, first, to answer the question as to why Pride and Prejudice is the most popular Austen novel. It then asks whether the half-recalled Mr Bennet of popular memory - the agreeable old cove given to gentle raillery - is an accurate reflection of the Mr Bennet of Jane Austen's creation.

A Walk in the Park : The Story of Fanny Price
This talk addresses three questions. Is it right to describe Mansfield Park as Jane Austen's most profound novel? If it is, why does it not enjoy greater regard? Further: if it is, why do so few readers like Fanny Price?

Fanny and Emma: Two Disparate Heroines
Jane Austen created seven diverse heroines - none more than Fanny Price and Emma Woodhouse. Whereas Fanny is mostly passive, and sometimes absent from the scene in Mansfield Park, Emma dominates her novel. She is always present; she doesn't just experience events, she shapes them.

Jane Austen: 200, and Counting
This talk addresses three questions. What is it that makes Jane Austen's novels so special? What is it that makes her so popular today, more than 200 years on? What of the lady herself - do we know her as well as we think we do?

Mr Perry's Carriage
This talk offers a new perspective on Emma, seeking to look at the story through the eyes of Jane Fairfax. It asks (i) why Jane should have been the heroine of a novel; why she could not be the heroine of a romantic novel; (iii) why she was not the heroine of this particular novel.