Austen OED (Oxford English Dictionary) Assignment (100 points)
One of the most amazing things about the OED is that it can tell you not just what a word means and how we use it now, but what a word meant and how one used it at just about every point in that word’s long history. For this assignment, we’re going to look at a few words that Austen uses in Sense and Sensibility, and we’re going to get a sense and sensibility of what their various connotations were in her day. Then, as we read her novel, we’ll keep track of where the word we’ve chosen occurs and how its use might express the relationship between literature, society, and the law.
1. Pick one of the following words used by Austen in Sense and Sensibility, and note too its various forms. Look your word up in the OED, which you can access here through your CSUC login:
2. Write a few paragraphs, using quotes from the OED , describing the etymology, various meanings, and connotations of your chosen word to which Austen might have had access or recourse. In other words, what had that word meant up to the time Austen was writing? What possible meanings or shadings of it might she have had in mind? Try to avoid pasting huge chunks of the OED into your prose; weave its definitions and etymologies into your own story of the word’s history and importance and various shadings.
3. Post your paragraphs here, as a response.
4. While reading Sense and Sensibility, keep track of the instances of your chosen word. You will need this information in order to complete the next assignment, Austen Legal.