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10 British Women Writers Before Jane Austen with Sarah Faulkner

A five-week course celebrating Women's History Month.

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Time & Location








About this class:

This is a 5-week virtual class using the Zoom platform.

Wednesdays: March 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 - 5-7 pm CST

While many of us are familiar with the novels of Jane Austen, few of us have heard of the women writers who paved the way for her success. This five-week course celebrating Women's History Month will focus on 10 fascinating women writers before Austen’s time. Spanning 150 years from 1650-1800, Dr. Sarah Faulkner will share the incredible stories from the lives of early novelists Aphra Behn and Eliza Haywood, social activists Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and Anna Letitia Barbauld, Romantic poets Charlotte Smith and Mary Robinson, feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, Gothic best-selling novelist Ann Radcliffe, and the realist novelists Austen was directly inspired by: Frances Burney and Maria Edgeworth.

This class will be a mix of literary history and biography. Learn how these women were essential to shaping the Gothic novel, the National novel, and the Courtship novel, new forms of Romantic poetry, and philosophy on human rights. And these women did so much more than write! They served as political spies, celebrities, actresses, and royal mistresses, advocated for the abolition of slavery, introduced the smallpox inoculation to Britain, and wrote novels from horrifying London jails. We’ll read short selections from each writer’s work in class, and Dr. Faulkner will have an ample suggested reading list ready for you to peruse.

Instructor bio:

Dr. Sarah Faulkner is an award-winning scholar, teacher, and public humanist. Her research focuses on British women writers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; she has taught university courses on Jane Austen and Her World, Witches and Monsters in Fiction, The Romantic Age, Rise of the English Novel, and more. She currently teaches at the University of Washington, Seattle, and works as the Program Manager for Humanities Washington.

Humanities North Dakota classes and events are funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this {article, book, exhibition, film, program, database, report, Web resource}, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or Humanities North Dakota. However, in an increasingly polarized world, we at Humanities North Dakota believe that being open-minded is necessary to thinking critically and rationally. Therefore our programs and classes reflect our own open-mindedness in the inquiry, seeking, and acquiring of scholars to speak at our events and teach classes for our Public University. To that end, we encourage our participants to join us in stepping outside our comfort zones and considering other perspectives and ideas by being open-minded while attending HND events featuring scholars who hold a variety of opinions, some being opposite of our own held beliefs.

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