Jane Austen’s Playlist: Teaching Music History Beyond the Canon

Marian Wilson Kimber


Jane Austen’s six novels and her personal music collection can serve as the basis for a course on eighteenth-century music outside of the traditional canonic works common to music history courses. The Austen family’s music collection includes over seventy compositions that have been recorded, primarily songs and piano music. These materials provide the opportunity for music students to learn about the social and cultural contexts for period music-making, including concerts, balls, domestic settings, the theater, and pleasure gardens. The course can also explore issues surrounding gender and performance, musical transmission, eighteenth-century aesthetics, conceptions of musical narrative, and interrelationships among the arts. A bibliography of materials useful for a course on Austen and music is provided.


Jane Austen; 18th-Century Music; Canon; Gender; Narrative; Interrelationships Between the Arts

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ISSN 2155-109X