How did Jane Austen become a global celebrity? Austen explored in new free online course

London, 10th April 2018: The University of Southampton is launching a new online course on the FutureLearn social learning platform: Jane Austen: Myth, Reality and Global Celebrity. The course explores how Jane Austen became a global celebrity and considers what she means for a global audience today.

Jane Austen: Myth, Reality and Global Celebrity is open for enrolment now and starts on 23rd April 2018. The course is aimed at anyone with an interest in Jane Austen and her novels, including those who make up the numerous Jane Austen societies that have been established around the world.

Gillian Dow, Associate Professor in English at University of Southampton and Executive Director of the Library at Chawton House, said: ‘I’m delighted to be teaching this course to a community of global learners. Austen’s work resonates worldwide, so we’re thrilled to be able to discuss the impact of her work on an international scale. You will explore unique resources in the village of Chawton, in the company of the curators who care for them. From thinking about some of Austen’s early influences, and investigating some of the myths surrounding women writers of the 18th century, this course will enable learners to explore how this relatively unknown writer became an iconic figure, and to evaluate her posthumous impact.”

Nigel Smith, Head of Content at FutureLearn, said: “This is a fantastic example of a subject that has impacted a huge number of people worldwide, a topic which they can really deepen their knowledge of; by discussing their multiple perspectives of the author with a community of like-minded people, they can truly appreciate the impact of her endured legacy. The potential for participation and engagement on a global scale  – and the opportunity to unlock knowledge of such a fascinating topic that this enables – is exactly what online learning is all about.”

The course explores the education Jane Austen would have experienced in the 18th century, the books she read and the other influences on her thinking and writing. Learners will also have the chance to ask ‘How did Jane Austen become a global celebrity?’ They’ll also discuss how Jane has been adapted for the modern age in film and television, and examine how she has been perceived globally through translations of her work, and how she’s been marketed to the public at large from the 18th century to the present day.

By the end of the course, learners will be able to evaluate the marketing of Jane Austen in her own time and the present day, identify the challenges of adapting, translating and interpreting Jane Austen’s works and how this affects our global understanding of her. They’ll also be able to discuss the impact of the society Austen lived in on her work, debunking some of the myths that surrounded Jane and women writers in the 18th century.

As with the majority of FutureLearn courses, learners can choose to do the course for free or upgrade to receive additional benefits.

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About FutureLearn

Founded by The Open University in 2012, FutureLearn is a leading social learning platform, enabling online learning through conversation. With over 7 million people from over 200 countries across the globe – a community that is continuously growing – it offers free and paid for online courses from world-leading UK and international universities, as well as organisations such as Accenture, the British Council and Cancer Research UK. FutureLearn’s course portfolio covers a wealth of areas to promote lifelong learning for a range of applications including general interest, an introduction to university studies, continuing professional development and fully online postgraduate degrees.

About University of Southampton

The University of Southampton drives original thinking, turns knowledge into action and impact, and creates solutions to the world’s challenges.  We are among the top one per cent of institutions globally. Our academics are leaders in their fields, forging links with high-profile international businesses and organisations, and inspiring a 24,000-strong community of exceptional students, from over 135 countries worldwide. Through our high-quality education, the University helps students on a journey of discovery to realise their potential and join our global network of over 200,000 alumni.

www.southampton.ac.uk