Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature.
Her novels and her personal life have been adapted into film, television and theater.
Timothy Spurgin will discuss “The Enduring Jane Austen” at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 7, at the Waupaca Area Public Library.
Hosted by Winchester Academy, the program is free and open to the public.
A professor of English literature at Lawrence University in Appleton, Spurgin teaches Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in the Introduction to Literature course.
“It’s fun to see students get involved with her characters and grow in appreciation of her artistry,” he said.
From 1811 to 1816, with the release of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815), Austen achieved success as a published writer. He’ll focus on the history of Austen’s reception by readers, critics and other writers.
“Until recently,” Spurgin said, “she was really a kind of cult figure—a writer’s writer, as opposed to a widely popular figure.” He’ll discuss how and why that changed.
Spurgeon has taught more than 16 years at Lawrence University. He received his bachelor’s degree at Carleton College and his master’s and doctorate in English literature from the University of Virginia.
He is also the author of The Art of Reading and The English Novel, both 24-part lecture series produced on CD and DVD by the Teaching Company.