Calendar of Events

Jane Austen, Then and Now

Jane Austen, Then and Now

This forum will explore the literary and cultural importance of Jane Austen, one of Britain’s most celebrated novelists. Through exploration of Austen’s life and literary works, the context in which she lived and the pop culture her work has inspired, this four-week series will assess the scope of Austen’s achievement and why her works continue to captivate the world. The four-week series will begin with an introduction to Austen’s life and works, especially “Pride and Prejudice,” which epitomizes what we tend to think of when we think about Austen — the courtship novel with a fairy-tale happy ending. In week two, we will turn to Austen’s first published novel, “Sense and Sensibility,” and the ways it engaged with debates about women’s rights while appearing to conform with notions of proper femininity. During week three, the series will explore Austen’s characterizations and critiques of English domestic life in novels like “Northanger Abbey” and “Mansfield Park.” The series will conclude by examining Austen’s last complete novel, “Persuasion,” and the novel fragment, “Sanditon,” left at her death. Throughout the series, we will view clips of present-day film and television adaptations of these works, explore the fan culture and tourism that have long surrounded Austen and consider why Austen’s novels, unlike those of so many of her contemporaries, continue to inspire us today.

Thursday Forum will resume in-person lectures during the 2021-2022 season.* In-person forum sessions are held in Kesler Lecture Hall of Hickok Hall on the Coe campus. Each session begins with registration from 8:45-9:15 AM, followed by the class until 11:30 AM. The sessions blend lecture, media and discussion. Masks are currently required for all Thursday Forum presenters and attendees. In the event of inclement weather, consult local media outlets to find out if the day’s forum will take place.

Admission to each four-week course can be purchased for $30 on the first day or in advance.  Admission to individual lectures is $10 per week. Payment can be made in person on Thursday mornings by cash or personal check. Credit card payments can be processed by registering here in advance. For more information about registering in advance, paying by credit card or ordering gift certificates, call 319.399.8523 or visit

* Thursday Forum will follow Coe's Safe Campus Initiative guidelines for in-person gatherings. Thursday Forum programs may pivot to an online format should campus or community health conditions require. Any such changes would be announced on the Thursday Forum website.