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Southwest Region: Anti-Historical Austen: from The History of England to Northanger Abbey

Jan 16

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

The History of England: Not a Youthful Lark

Jason SolingerProfessor Jason Solinger will reprise his breakout talk from JASNA's 2020 Virtual Annual General Meeting in a live presentation on Zoom followed by a Q&A session. His humorous and enlightening lecture slideshow will examine Austen’s parody of history books, The History of England, and should put to rest the notion that the text was a mere youthful lark. His talk will address such questions as: 

  • How much poetic license are we willing to grant the historian?
  • On what basis did Austen’s predecessors call their own novels “histories”?
  • Who is better at explaining the motivations that drive people, the historian or the novelist?
  • Which discourse—fiction or history—better prepares readers for being in the world?

Solinger is an associate professor of English at the University of Mississippi, where he teaches classes in 18th- and 19th-century literature. He is the author of Becoming the Gentleman: British Literature and the Invention of Modern Masculinity, 1660-1815, which explains 18th-century Britons’ obsession with the figure of the gentleman. He is currently working on a book exploring the ways that Austen’s readers have shaped our ideas about literature.

Attendance is free, but registration is required.