Welcome at My Jane Austen Book Club, Kathleen and Susan! I'm always really glad when I find new Janeites to share with. Then, if they happen to be teachers of English literature like me, I become very curious. So, my first question is linked to my job, our job. Do you teach Jane Austen and what do you think young people can learn from her?
Susan: I do teach Jane Austen, especially in upper level courses where students need to connect with excellent writing. Austen models the level of perfection a writer can achieve through scrupulous review and revision: sentence clarity and style, precise word choice, understanding of audience, to name a few. You don’t reach millions of readers over two centuries without doing your homework in those areas.
Kathleen: We incorporate Austen novels into our courses whenever possible. We all have so much to learn from Jane Austen. Especially young people can become more sensitized to effective, grammatical, elegant language by absorbing her beautiful, witty narrative style. Moreover, all of the novels emphasize the importance of the feelings of others and of the preservation of the social fabric, a beneficial reminder to all of us. We often forget that we live in community.