The enduring appeal of the sharp observations by English novelist Jane Austen on manners and social behavior will be explored in a yearlong program at the Westport Library.

The library, in partnership with the Jane Austen Society North America’s Connecticut Region, plans a series of discussions on Austen’s novels starting Sunday. All of the programs are free.

The first program, focusing on “Northanger Abbey,” will be led by Trinity College professor Barbara M. Benedict. It gets underway at 2 p.m. in the library’s McManus Room.

“Northanger Abbey,” the first novel Austen wrote but the last published, is a coming-of-age story of a young woman who is one of 10 children of a country clergyman.

Benedict, who is writing a book on Austen, earned a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, in British history and literature from Harvard University, and holds a doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley. She is the author of “Framing Feeling: Sentiment and Style in English Prose Fiction, 1845-1900,” “Making the Modern Reader: Cultural Mediation in Early Modern Literary Anthologies” and “Curiosity: A Cultural History of Early Modern Inquiry.”

Other programs planned in the Austen series are:

April 9, 2 p.m.: “Sense and Sensibility,” led by Mark Schenker, associate dean at Yale College.

May 21, 2 p.m.: “Mansfield Park.”

July 23, 2 p.m.: “Persuasion.”

Aug. 27, 2 p.m.: “Pride and Prejudice.”

Sept. 24, 2 p.m.: “Emma.”