The Modern Woman: How Jane Austen and the Bronte Sisters Revolutionized Femimism



Earlier this year, Johanna Hill, a University City eighth-grader, prepared a National History Day (www.nhd.org) video about Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters. As part of her project, Johanna interviewed JASNA-StL member and Saint Louis University professor of English Toby Benis. Johanna has graciously allowed us to post a link to her video (below). Congratulations, Johanna, on a successful project.

 

Here is Johanna’s introduction to her National History Day (NHD) video:

“I started reading Jane Austen’s Emma about a year ago. It was my first ‘classic’ piece of literature, and I was expecting it to be tedious and dry. I was incredibly wrong. Miss Woodhouse, Harriet, and Mr. Churchill swept me into their world, and I became one with the story, gasping at each betrayal and cheering at every triumph. Jane Austen was my obsession, and I gobbled up her novels like a lunatic. This appetite was still occurring when my teacher, Mrs. Bakeman, handed me the packet with the NHD theme for the year: Turning points in history. It was tough to decide, but I finally chose to create a project about Austen’s interpretation of women, which I always admired because they were so smart and independent. To build on that, I also decided to include the Brontë sisters, another group of important women authors in roughly the same time period.”