Events

Jane Austen, and Women Writers “At Home in the World”

New Books in the Arts and Sciences

Cosponsor
  • Office of the Dean of Arts & Sciences in the Humanities
Notes
  • Free and open to the public
  • No registration necessary
  • First come, first seated

Listen to the podcast here.

New Books in the Arts & Sciences
—panel discussions celebrating recent work by the Columbia Faculty,

At Home In The World
by Maria DiBattista and Deborah Nord

In a bold and sweeping reevaluation of the past two centuries of women's writing, At Home in the World argues that this body of work has been defined less by domestic concerns than by an active engagement with the most pressing issues of public life: from class and religious divisions, slavery, warfare, and labor unrest to democracy, tyranny, globalism, and the clash of cultures. In this new literary history, Maria DiBattista and Deborah Epstein Nord contend that even the most seemingly traditional works by British, American, and other English-language women writers redefine the domestic sphere in ways that incorporate the concerns of public life, allowing characters and authors alike to forge new, emancipatory narratives.

The book explores works by a wide range of writers, including canonical figures such as Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, Harriet Jacobs, Edith Wharton, Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather, Gertrude Stein, and Toni Morrison; neglected or marginalized writers like Mary Antin, Tess Slesinger, and Martha Gellhorn; and recent and contemporary figures, including Nadine Gordimer, Anita Desai, Edwidge Danticat, and Jhumpa Lahiri. DiBattista and Nord show how these writers dramatize tensions between home and the wider world through recurrent themes of sailing forth, escape, exploration, dissent, and emigration. Throughout, the book uncovers the undervalued public concerns of women writers who ventured into ever-wider geographical, cultural, and political territories, forging new definitions of what it means to create a home in the world.

The result is an enlightening reinterpretation of women's writing from the early nineteenth century to the present day.

Reading Jane Austen
by Jenny Davidson

Whether you're new to Austen's work or know it backwards and forwards already, this book provides a clear, full and highly engaging account of how Austen's fiction works and why it matters. Exploring new pathways into the study of Jane Austen's writing, novelist and academic Jenny Davidson looks at Austen's work through a writer's lens, addressing formal questions about narration, novel writing, and fictional composition as well as themes including social and women's history, morals and manners. Introducing new readers to the breadth and depth of Jane Austen's writing, and offering new insights to those more familiar with Austen's work, Jenny Davidson celebrates the art and skill of one of the most popular and influential writers in the history of English literature.

Participants
  • Author Jenny Davidson Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature Columbia University
  • Author Deborah Nord Professor of English Princeton University
  • Author Maria DiBattista Professor of English
  • Discussant Ruth Yeazell Chace Family Professor of English Yale University
  • Discussant Claudia Johnson Murray Professor of English Literature Princeton University
  • Moderator Arden Hegele Lecturer in English Columbia University