2014 C.S. Lewis Summer Conference, July 21-31, 2014, Oxford & Cambridge, England
Afternoon Seminars & Workshops
CM-03 Jane Austen: Novelist of Virtue
While many scholars ignore the importance of Jane Austen’s faith, careful research reveals she was not only a devout Christian from a devout family, but her faith also permeates her thinking and writing. Jane Austen is quick to satirize the religion of hypocritical clergymen like Mr. Collins; however, her finest characters reflect a strong morality grounded in true religion. Although Jane Austen deliberately keeps her religious beliefs from being overt so as not to “preach” to her readers, she undergirds all of her novels with a Christian world-view and the themes of virtue, truth, and morality. Jane Austen also has a connection with the Inklings: C.S. Lewis wrote a preface to Sense and Sensibility, which reflects on her Christian themes, and Inkling Lord David Cecil was an Austen scholar. This seminar will explore Jane Austen’s life and novels in their historical, cultural, and religious context. “Jane-ites” and fans of Austen’s novels and/or film adaptations will especially enjoy our discussions.
Melanie Jeschke – Author and adjunct professor of English. Melanie is a six-time “Oxbridge” alum and staff member, who conducts our Oxford walking tours. She has written the original chapter on Oxford for Rick Steves’ England guidebook, The Oxford Chronicles, a series of novels about The Inklings, and Jillian Dare, a contemporary adaption of Jane Eyre. While earning her MA in English Literature from George Mason University, Melanie studied at Exeter College, Oxford, where she took a course on Jane Austen. She is currently an adjunct professor at Marymount University and Northern Virginia Community College-Manassas, VA. She is a pastor’s wife and the mother of nine, six of whom have attended “Oxbridge” with her. You can visit Melanie’s blog: “Inklings from Melanie M. Jeschke” (http://melaniejeschke.blogspot.com/) and her website: www.melaniejeschke.com.