Professor Amy Robinson, left, poses with Ashlie Flannigan, who placed third in a national Jane Austen essay contest.
ST. PETERSBURG – A USF St. Petersburg graduate student won third prize in a national essay contest sponsored by the Jane Austen Society of North America.
Ashlie Flannigan, who is pursuing a master of liberal studies, was honored at the society’s general meeting in Minneapolis, Minn. Her essay, “The Empirical Austen: Finding Nature and Nurture in Pride and Prejudice,” was entered in the graduate division and was one of more than 200 submissions. She received a $250 scholarship and a membership in the Jane Austen Society.
The essay explores the idea of natured and nurtured traits and characteristics as witnessed among the friends and families in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” It also looks at the language Austen uses to delineate the two influences on behavior and personality.
Flannigan’s essay grew out of a course by Amy Robinson, visiting assistant professor of English literature, called, “Selected British Authors: Jane Austen.” It is the second time one of her students in that course has been honored in the Jane Austen Society essay contest. April Sopczach, who graduated from the English Education graduate program, placed second in the 2011 contest.
Flannigan has been a Jane Austen fan since she first read “Pride and Prejudice” as a teenager and has enjoyed delving into the more scholarly aspects of her work.
“I think it’s what’s underneath the stories, what she was trying to do as a woman,” Flannigan said.