Engaging the Age of Jane Austin is a book for Humanities scholar. What can and should someone with a humanities degree pursue in life. As a political science student, I learned what Noam Chomsky called the duty of intellectuals — IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY of intellectuals to speak the truth and to expose lies. Plenty of work in that field. Humanities students have a challenging course to plot if they want to remain true to their field. Granted they do not build bridges, design computers, or lead in discoveries, but they do reflect society and culture.
Spratt, Draxler, and others look at ways to engage students in the spirit of the humanities. Teaching reading to adults, reproducing old texts into electronic format (think something like the Guttenburgpress.com) and making them available to the public, and social justice programs (something in line with Jane Austen’s era). Liberal Arts, which Humanities fall under, are losing in public opinion and rather useless in today’s world and economy. The public needs to be reminded that we are a result of the humanities. These are what shaped us as a society and a culture. It is our literature, history, diversity, journalism, art, and music that make us what we are. As our society narrows its views into two separate and defined camps, our vision needs to expand. Austen lived in exciting times: The American and French revolutions, the abolition of slavery, extended suffrage, industrialization. Reflected in her work are these events preserved for all. Spratt, Draxler, and other writers look to find ways to make humanities important to society again.