Jane Austen: Myth, Reality and Global Celebrity

One of the reasons I started this blog, the primary reason really, is I’m fascinated and a bit obsessed with the pop cultrafication of Austen and the Brontes. It’s perfumes and candles, games, and home decor. It’s the massive amounts of para-literature, modern spins, and interpretative plays. I read a few years back the Austen empire generates a $1 billion dollars a year. I’m sure the Brontes are in the millions of dollars a year themselves, especially with the 200th anniversary of Austen’s death and books and the Brontes births between 2017-2020.

To put it succinctly: Austen and the Brontes have never gone out of style.

So when I heard about the free MOOC (massive online open course) at FutureLearnJane Austen: Myth, Reality and Global Celebrity, I knew this was up my alley.

According to the course’s landing page, here are the topics you’ll cover:

  • The Austen myth: who is she and what does she mean to people around the world?
  • An 18th century education: Jane and women’s education and reading
  • Austen’s literary and family influences
  • Austen’s ‘dirty walks’: gardens and landscapes in Austen’s writing
  • The marketing of Jane Austen at home and abroad – how her legacy has endured and built her celebrity
  • Austen’s afterlives: adapting Jane Austen for the modern age in film, TV
  • Austen as a commodity: portraits, hair and merchandising

The course, taught by the University of Southampton, begins April 23 and ends June 16. And don’t forget, it’s free!