This is a good article. Click here for more information.
Page semi-protected

Jane Austen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Not to be confused with Jane G. Austin.
Jane Austen
CassandraAusten-JaneAusten(c.1810) hires.jpg
Portrait of Jane Austen, drawn by her sister Cassandra (c. 1810)
Born (1775-12-16)16 December 1775
Steventon Rectory, Hampshire, England
Died 18 July 1817(1817-07-18) (aged 41)
Winchester, Hampshire, England
Resting place Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire, England
Period 1787 to 1809–11
Genre Romance
Relatives Sir Francis Austen (brother)
Cassandra Austen (sister)
Charles Austen (brother)
Edward Austen Knight (brother)
Henry Thomas Austen (brother)
Eliza de Feuillide (cousin)


Jane Austen (/ˈn ˈɒstɪn/; 16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist known principally for her five major novels which interpret, critique and comment upon the life of the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century. Her most highly praised novel during her own lifetime was Pride and Prejudice which was her second published novel. Her plots often reflect upon the dependence of women on marriage in the pursuit of favorable social standing and economic security.

Austen's main novels are rarely out of print today though they were first published anonymously and brought her little personal fame with only a few glancing reviews during her lifetime. A significant transition in her posthumous reputation as an author occurred in 1869, fifty-two years after her death, when her nephew published A Memoir of Jane Austen which effectively introduced her to a wider public and reading audience. Austen's most successful novel in her own lifetime was Pride and Prejudice which went through two editions during her own life. Her third published novel was Mansfield Park which was largely overlooked by the professional reviewers though it was a great success with the public still within her lifetime.

All five of her major novels were published for the first time between 1811 and 1818. From 1811 until 1816, with the premiere publication of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815), she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote two additional novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818, and began another one, which was eventually titled Sanditon, but died before completing it.

During the twentieth and twenty-first centuries Austen's writings have inspired a large number of critical essays and literary anthologies establishing her place as a prominent British author of international fame. Her books are often used to inspire other cultural arts as well with numerous film productions of her novels starting as early as 1940 with Laurence Olivier's leading role in Pride and Prejudice to more recent productions starring such leading actresses as Emma Thompson in the 1995 production of Sense and Sensibility and Kate Beckinsale in the 2016 production of Love & Friendship.

Life and career

Further information: Timeline of Jane Austen

Biographical information concerning Jane Austen is "famously scarce", according to one biographer.[1] Only some personal and family letters remain (by one estimate only 160 out of Austen's 3,000 letters are extant),[2] and her sister Cassandra (to whom most of the letters were originally addressed) burned "the greater part" of the ones she kept and censored those she did not destroy.[3] Other letters were destroyed by the heirs of Admiral Sir Francis Austen, Jane's brother.[4] Most of the biographical material produced for fifty years after Austen's death was written by her relatives and reflects the family's biases in favour of "good quiet Aunt Jane". Scholars have unearthed little information since.[1] Austen's writings were historically written during the period of British Romanticism leading to British Idealism. Austen was sympathetic to a number of the British Romantic poets of her time including William Wordsworth (1770–1850), Samuel Coleridge (1772–1834), and Lord Byron (1788–1824) who have been studied for their influence in her novels.[5][6]


Silhouette of Cassandra Austen, Jane's sister and closest friend

Austen's parents, George Austen (1731–1805), a rector of Anglican parishes, and his wife Cassandra (1739–1827), were members of substantial gentry families.[7] George was descended from a family of woollen manufacturers, which had risen through the professions to the lower ranks of the landed gentry.[8] Cassandra, however, was a member of the aristocratic Leigh family. They married on 26 April 1764 at Walcot Church in Bath.[9] From 1765 until 1801, that is, for much of Jane's life, George Austen served as the rector of the Anglican parishes at Steventon, Hampshire,[10] and a nearby village. From 1773 until 1796, he supplemented this income by farming and by teaching three or four boys at a time who boarded at his home.[11]

Austen's immediate family was large: six brothers—James (1765–1819), George (1766–1838), Edward (1768–1852), Henry Thomas (1771–1850), Francis William (Frank) (1774–1865), Charles John (1779–1852)—and one sister, Cassandra Elizabeth (Steventon, Hampshire, 9 January 1773 – 1845), who, like Jane, died unmarried. Cassandra was Austen's closest friend and confidante throughout her life.[12]

Of her brothers, Austen felt closest to Henry, who became a banker and, after his bank failed, an Anglican clergyman. Henry was also his sister's literary agent.[13] His large circle of friends and acquaintances in London included bankers, merchants, publishers, painters, and actors: he provided Austen with a view of social worlds not normally visible from a small parish in rural Hampshire.[14] Henry later married their first cousin and Jane's close friend, Eliza Hancock, comtesse de Feuillide.

George was sent to live with a local family at a young age because, as Austen biographer Le Faye describes it, he was "mentally abnormal and subject to fits".[15] He may also have been deaf and mute.[15] Charles and Frank served in the navy, both rising to the rank of Admiral. Edward was adopted by his fourth cousin, Thomas Knight, inheriting Knight's estate and taking his name in 1812.[16]

Early life and education

Steventon rectory, as depicted in A Memoir of Jane Austen, was in a valley and surrounded by meadows.[17]

Austen was born on 16 December 1775 at Steventon rectory and publicly baptised on 5 April 1776.[18] After a few months at home, her mother placed her with Elizabeth Littlewood, a woman living nearby, who nursed and raised her for a year or eighteen months.[19] In 1783, according to family tradition, Jane and Cassandra were sent to Oxford to be educated by Mrs. Ann Cawley and they moved with her to Southampton later in the year. Both girls caught typhus and Jane nearly died.[20] Austen was subsequently educated at home, until leaving for boarding school with her sister Cassandra early in 1785. The school curriculum probably included some French, spelling, needlework, dancing and music and, perhaps, drama. By December 1786, Jane and Cassandra had returned home because the Austens could not afford to send both of their daughters to school.[21]

Austen acquired the remainder of her education by reading books, guided by her father and her brothers James and Henry.[22] Austen apparently had unfettered access both to her father's library and that of a family friend, Warren Hastings. Together these collections amounted to a large and varied library. Her father was also tolerant of Austen's sometimes risqué experiments in writing, and provided both sisters with expensive paper and other materials for their writing and drawing.[23] According to the biographer Park Honan, life in the Austen home was lived in "an open, amused, easy intellectual atmosphere" where the ideas of those with whom the Austens might disagree politically or socially were considered and discussed.[24] After returning from school in 1786, Austen "never again lived anywhere beyond the bounds of her immediate family environment".[25]

Private theatricals were also a part of Austen's education. From when she was seven until she was thirteen, the family and close friends staged a series of plays, including Richard Sheridan's The Rivals (1775) and David Garrick's Bon Ton. While the details are unknown, Austen would certainly have joined in these activities, as a spectator at first and as a participant when she was older.[26] Most of the plays were comedies, which suggests one way in which Austen's comedic and satirical gifts were cultivated.[27]


Portrait of Henry IV. Declaredly written by "a partial, prejudiced, & ignorant Historian", The History of England was illustrated by Austen's sister Cassandra (c. 1790).

Perhaps as early as 1787, Austen began to write poems, stories, and plays for her own and her family's amusement.[28] She later compiled "fair copies" of 29 of these early works into three bound notebooks, now referred to as the Juvenilia, containing pieces originally written between 1787 and 1793.[29] There is manuscript evidence that Austen continued to work on these pieces as late as the period 1809–1811, and that her niece and nephew, Anna and James Edward Austen, made further additions as late as 1814.[30] Among these works are a satirical novel in letters titled Love and Freindship [sic], in which she mocked popular novels of sensibility,[31] and The History of England, a manuscript of 34 pages accompanied by 13 watercolour miniatures by her sister Cassandra.

Austen's History parodied popular historical writing, particularly Oliver Goldsmith's History of England (1764).[32] Austen wrote, for example: "Henry the 4th ascended the throne of England much to his own satisfaction in the year 1399, after having prevailed on his cousin & predecessor Richard the 2nd, to resign it to him, & to retire for the rest of his Life to Pomfret Castle, where he happened to be murdered."[33] Austen's Juvenilia are often, according to scholar Richard Jenkyns, "boisterous" and "anarchic"; he compares them to the work of 18th-century novelist Laurence Sterne and the 20th-century comedy group Monty Python.[34]


As Austen grew into adulthood, she continued to live at her parents' home, carrying out those activities normal for women of her age and social standing: she practised the fortepiano, assisted her sister and mother with supervising servants, and attended female relatives during childbirth and older relatives on their deathbeds.[35] She sent short pieces of writing to her newborn nieces Fanny Catherine and Jane Anna Elizabeth.[36] Austen was particularly proud of her accomplishments as a seamstress.[37] She also attended church regularly, socialized frequently with friends and neighbours,[38] and read novels—often of her own composition—aloud with her family in the evenings. Socializing with the neighbours often meant dancing, either impromptu in someone's home after supper or at the balls held regularly at the assembly rooms in the town hall.[39] Her brother Henry later said that "Jane was fond of dancing, and excelled in it".[40]

In 1793, Austen began and then abandoned a short play, later entitled Sir Charles Grandison or the happy Man, a comedy in 6 acts, which she returned to and completed around 1800. This was a short parody of various school textbook abridgments of Austen's favourite contemporary novel, The History of Sir Charles Grandison (1753), by Samuel Richardson.[41] Honan speculates that at some point not long after writing Love and Freindship [sic] in 1789, Austen decided to "write for profit, to make stories her central effort", that is, to become a professional writer.[42] Beginning in about 1793, she began to write longer, more sophisticated works.[42]

Between 1793 and 1795, Austen wrote Lady Susan, a short epistolary novel, usually described as her most ambitious and sophisticated early work.[43] It is unlike any of Austen's other works. Austen biographer Claire Tomalin describes the heroine of the novella as a sexual predator who uses her intelligence and charm to manipulate, betray, and abuse her victims, whether lovers, friends or family. Tomalin writes:

"Told in letters, it is as neatly plotted as a play, and as cynical in tone as any of the most outrageous of the Restoration dramatists who may have provided some of her inspiration ... It stands alone in Austen's work as a study of an adult woman whose intelligence and force of character are greater than those of anyone she encounters."[44]

Early novels

After finishing Lady Susan, Austen attempted her first full-length novel — Elinor and Marianne. Her sister Cassandra later remembered that it was read to the family "before 1796" and was told through a series of letters. Without surviving original manuscripts, there is no way to know how much of the original draft survived in the novel published anonymously in 1811 as Sense and Sensibility.[45]

Thomas Langlois Lefroy, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, by W. H. Mote (1855); in old age, Lefroy admitted to a nephew that he had been in love with Jane Austen: "It was boyish love."[46]

When Austen was twenty, Tom Lefroy, a nephew of neighbours, visited Steventon from December 1795 to January 1796. He had just finished a university degree and was moving to London for training as a barrister. Lefroy and Austen would have been introduced at a ball or other neighbourhood social gathering, and it is clear from Austen's letters to Cassandra that they spent considerable time together: "I am almost afraid to tell you how my Irish friend and I behaved. Imagine to yourself everything most profligate and shocking in the way of dancing and sitting down together."[47] The Lefroy family intervened and sent him away at the end of January. Marriage was impractical, as both Lefroy and Austen must have known. Neither had any money, and he was dependent on a great-uncle in Ireland to finance his education and establish his legal career. If Tom Lefroy later visited Hampshire, he was carefully kept away from the Austens, and Jane Austen never saw him again.[48]

Austen began work on a second novel, First Impressions, in 1796. She completed the initial draft in August 1797 when she was only 21 (it later became Pride and Prejudice); as with all of her novels, Austen read the work aloud to her family as she was working on it and it became an "established favourite".[49] At this time, her father made the first attempt to publish one of her novels. In November 1797, George Austen wrote to Thomas Cadell, an established publisher in London, to ask if he would consider publishing "a Manuscript Novel, comprised in three Vols. about the length of Miss Burney's Evelina" (First Impressions) at the author's financial risk. Cadell quickly returned Mr. Austen's letter, marked "Declined by Return of Post". Austen may not have known of her father's efforts.[50] Following the completion of First Impressions, Austen returned to Elinor and Marianne and from November 1797 until mid-1798, revised it heavily; she eliminated the epistolary format in favour of third-person narration and produced something close to Sense and Sensibility.[51]

During the middle of 1798, after finishing revisions of Elinor and Marianne, Austen began writing a third novel with the working title Susan — later Northanger Abbey — a satire on the popular Gothic novel.[52] Austen completed her work about a year later. In early 1803, Henry Austen offered Susan to Benjamin Crosby, a London publisher, who paid £10 for the copyright. Crosby promised early publication and went so far as to advertise the book publicly as being "in the press", but did nothing more. The manuscript remained in Crosby's hands, unpublished, until Austen repurchased the copyright from him in 1816.[53]

Bath and Southampton

In December 1800, Mr Austen unexpectedly announced his decision to retire from the ministry, leave Steventon, and move the family to Bath. While retirement and travel were good for the elder Austens, Jane Austen was shocked to be told she was moving from the only home she had ever known.[54] An indication of Austen's state of mind is her lack of productivity as a writer during the time she lived at Bath. She was able to make some revisions to Susan, and she began and then abandoned a new novel, The Watsons, but there was nothing like the productivity of the years 1795–1799.[55] Tomalin suggests this reflects a deep depression disabling her as a writer, but Honan disagrees, arguing Austen wrote or revised her manuscripts throughout her creative life, except for a few months after her father died.[56]

In December 1802, Austen received her only known proposal of marriage. She and her sister visited Alethea and Catherine Bigg, old friends who lived near Basingstoke. Their younger brother, Harris Bigg-Wither, had recently finished his education at Oxford and was also at home. Bigg-Wither proposed and Austen accepted. As described by Caroline Austen, Jane's niece, and Reginald Bigg-Wither, a descendant, Harris was not attractive—he was a large, plain-looking man who spoke little, stuttered when he did speak, was aggressive in conversation, and almost completely tactless. However, Austen had known him since both were young and the marriage offered many practical advantages to Austen and her family. He was the heir to extensive family estates located in the area where the sisters had grown up. With these resources, Austen could provide her parents a comfortable old age, give Cassandra a permanent home and, perhaps, assist her brothers in their careers. By the next morning, Austen decided she had made a mistake and withdrew her acceptance.[57] No contemporary letters or diaries describe how Austen felt about this proposal.[58] In 1814, Austen wrote a letter to her niece, Fanny Knight, who had asked for advice about a serious relationship, telling her that "having written so much on one side of the question, I shall now turn around & entreat you not to commit yourself farther, & not to think of accepting him unless you really do like him. Anything is to be preferred or endured rather than marrying without Affection".[59]

In 1804, while living in Bath, Austen started but did not complete a new novel, The Watsons. The story centres on an invalid clergyman with little money and his four unmarried daughters. Sutherland describes the novel as "a study in the harsh economic realities of dependent women's lives".[60] Honan suggests, and Tomalin agrees, that Austen chose to stop work on the novel after her father died on 21 January 1805 and her personal circumstances resembled those of her characters too closely for her comfort.[61]

Her father's final illness had struck suddenly, leaving him, as Austen reported to her brother Francis, "quite insensible of his own state", and he died quickly.[62] Jane, Cassandra, and their mother were left in a precarious financial situation. Edward, James, Henry, and Francis Austen pledged to make annual contributions to support their mother and sisters.[63] For the next four years, the family's living arrangements reflected their financial insecurity. They lived part of the time in rented quarters in Bath before leaving the city in June 1805 for a family visit to Steventon & Godmersham. They spent the autumn months of that same year in the newly fashionable seaside resort of Worthing, on the Sussex coast, where they resided at Stanford Cottage.[64] It was here that Jane Austen is thought to have written her fair copy of Lady Susan and added its 'Conclusion'. Without doubt Jane Austen's observations of early Worthing helped inspire her final but unfinished novel, Sanditon, the story of an up-and-coming seaside resort in Sussex.[65] In 1806, they moved to Southampton, where they shared a house with Frank Austen and his new wife. A large part of this time they spent visiting various branches of the family.[66]

On 5 April 1809, about three months before the family's move to Chawton, Austen wrote an angry letter to Richard Crosby, offering him a new manuscript of Susan if that was needed to secure immediate publication of the novel, and otherwise requesting the return of the original so she could find another publisher. Crosby replied he had not agreed to publish the book by any particular time, or at all, and that Austen could repurchase the manuscript for the £10 he had paid her and find another publisher. However, Austen did not have the resources to repurchase the book.[67] The manuscript was eventually reappropriated by Austen who repurchased the copyright from him in 1816.[53]


The cottage in Chawton where Jane Austen lived during the last eight years of her life, now Jane Austen's House Museum

Around early 1809, Austen's brother Edward offered his mother and sisters a more settled life—the use of a large cottage in Chawton village[68] that was part of Edward's nearby estate, Chawton House. Jane, Cassandra, and their mother moved into Chawton cottage on 7 July 1809.[69] In Chawton, life was quieter than it had been since the family's move to Bath in 1800. The Austens did not socialise with the neighbouring gentry and entertained only when family visited. Austen's niece Anna described the Austen family's life in Chawton: "It was a very quiet life, according to our ideas, but they were great readers, and besides the housekeeping our aunts occupied themselves in working with the poor and in teaching some girl or boy to read or write."[70] Austen wrote almost daily, but privately, and seems to have been relieved of some household responsibilities to give her more opportunity to write.[71] In this setting, she was able to be productive as a writer once more.[72]

Published author

First edition title page from Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen's first published novel (1811)

During her time at Chawton, Jane Austen successfully published four novels, which were generally well received. Through her brother Henry, the publisher Thomas Egerton agreed to publish Sense and Sensibility,[D] which appeared in October 1811. Reviews were favourable and the novel became fashionable among opinion-makers;[73] the edition sold out by mid-1813.[E] Austen's earnings from Sense and Sensibility provided her with some financial and psychological independence.[74] Egerton then published Pride and Prejudice, a revision of First Impressions, in January 1813. He advertised the book widely and it was an immediate success, garnering three favourable reviews and selling well. By October 1813, Egerton was able to begin selling a second edition.[75] Mansfield Park was published by Egerton in May 1814. While Mansfield Park was ignored by reviewers, it was a great success with the public. All copies were sold within six months, and Austen's earnings on this novel were larger than for any of her other novels.[76]

Austen learned that the Prince Regent admired her novels and kept a set at each of his residences.[F] In November 1815, the Prince Regent's librarian James Stanier Clarke invited Austen to visit the Prince's London residence and hinted Austen should dedicate the forthcoming Emma to the Prince. Though Austen disliked the Prince, she could scarcely refuse the request.[77] She later wrote Plan of a Novel, according to hints from various quarters (fr), a satiric outline of the "perfect novel" based on the librarian's many suggestions for a future Austen novel.[78]

In mid-1815, Austen moved her work from Egerton to John Murray, a better known London publisher,[G] who published Emma in December 1815 and a second edition of Mansfield Park in February 1816. Emma sold well but the new edition of Mansfield Park did poorly, and this failure offset most of the profits Austen earned on Emma. These were the last of Austen's novels to be published during her lifetime.[79]

The house in Winchester in which Jane Austen lived her last days and died

While Murray prepared Emma for publication, Austen began to write a new novel she titled The Elliots, later published as Persuasion. She completed her first draft in July 1816. In addition, shortly after the publication of Emma, Henry Austen repurchased the copyright for Susan from Crosby. Austen was forced to postpone publishing either of these completed novels by family financial troubles. Henry Austen's bank failed in March 1816, depriving him of all of his assets, leaving him deeply in debt and losing Edward, James, and Frank Austen large sums. Henry and Frank could no longer afford the contributions they had made to support their mother and sisters.[80]

Illness and death

Winchester Cathedral, where Austen is buried
Jane Austen's memorial gravestone in the nave of Winchester Cathedral

Early in 1816, Austen began to feel unwell. She ignored her illness at first and continued to work and to participate in the usual round of family activities. By the middle of that year, her decline was unmistakable to Austen and to her family, and Austen's physical condition began a long, slow, and irregular deterioration culminating in her death the following year.[81] The majority of Austen biographers rely on Dr. Vincent Cope's tentative 1964 retrospective diagnosis and list her cause of death as Addison's disease. However, her final illness has also been described as Hodgkin's lymphoma.[H] Recent work by Katherine White of Britain's Addison's Disease Self Help Group suggests that Austen probably died of bovine tuberculosis,[82] a disease (now) commonly associated with drinking unpasteurized milk. One contributing factor or cause of her death, discovered by Linda Robinson Walker and described in the Winter 2010 issue of Persuasions on-line, might be Brill–Zinsser disease, a recurrent form of typhus, which she had as a child. Brill–Zinsser disease is to typhus as shingles is to chicken pox; when a victim of typhus endures abnormal physiological stress, malnutrition or another infection, typhus can recur as Brill–Zinsser disease.[83]

Austen continued to work in spite of her illness. She became dissatisfied with the ending of The Elliots and rewrote the final two chapters, finishing them on 6 August 1816.[I] In January 1817, Austen began work on a new novel she called The Brothers, later titled Sanditon upon its first publication in 1925, and completed twelve chapters before stopping work in mid-March 1817, probably because her illness prevented her from continuing.[84] Austen made light of her condition to others, describing it as "bile" and rheumatism, but as her disease progressed she experienced increasing difficulty walking or finding the energy for other activities. By mid-April, she was confined to her bed. In May, Cassandra and Henry escorted her to Winchester for medical treatment, but she died there on 18 July 1817, at the age of 41. Henry, through his clerical connections, arranged for his sister to be buried in the north aisle of the nave of Winchester Cathedral. The epitaph composed by her brother James praises Austen's personal qualities - including the "extraordinary endowments of her mind" - and expresses hope for her religious salvation, but does not mention her achievements as a writer.[85]

Posthumous publication

After Austen's death, Cassandra and Henry Austen arranged with Murray for the publication of Persuasion and Northanger Abbey as a set in December 1817.[J] Henry Austen contributed a Biographical Note which for the first time identified his sister as the author of the novels. Tomalin describes it as "a loving and polished eulogy".[86] Sales were good for a year—only 321 copies remained unsold at the end of 1818—and then declined. Murray disposed of the remaining copies in 1820, and Austen's novels remained out of print for twelve years.[87] In 1832, publisher Richard Bentley purchased the remaining copyrights to all of Austen's novels and, beginning in either December 1832 or January 1833, published them in five illustrated volumes as part of his Standard Novels series. In October 1833, Bentley published the first collected edition of Austen's works. Since then, Austen's novels have been continuously in print.[88]


Though Austen's novels had always been extremely popular, they had been rather looked down upon by academics of English literature for some time. This was changed when her work was reassessed by F. R. Leavis, Ian Watt and others in the mid-20th century; they placed Austen as a serious and foremost figure in the development of the English novel, coming after Henry Fielding (1707–1754) and Samuel Richardson (1689–1761), and before Charles Dickens.[89] They agreed that she combined Henry Fielding's and Samuel Richardson's "qualities of interiority and irony, realism and satire to form an author superior to both".[90] Austen's five main novels, in order of their first publication, were Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Emma, along with the posthumously published Persuasion. A sixth novel, Northanger Abbey, which was taken from Austen's early writings from before 1800 and coincidentally co-published in 1818 with Persuasion after Austen's death under the same cover, is sometimes added to her list of leading novels even though it was written at a time chronologically separated from her main novels written over a decade later, and which were all published between 1812 and 1818.

Sense and Sensibility

Main article: Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility was originally written as a novel-in-letters (epistolary form) sometime around 1795 when Austen was about 19 years old, and she gave it the title Elinor and Marianne. She later changed the form to a narrative and the title to Sense and Sensibility.[91] "Sense" in the book means good judgment or prudence, and "sensibility" means sensitivity or emotionality. "Sense" is identified with the character of Elinor, while "sensibility" is identified with the character of Marianne. By changing the title, Austen added "philosophical depth" to what began as a sketch of two characters.[92] The title of the book, and that of her next published novel, Pride and Prejudice (1813), may be suggestive of political conflicts of the 1790s.[93] Austen also drew inspiration for Sense and Sensibility from other novels of the 1790s that treated similar themes. These included Adam Stevenson's autobiographical essay titled "Life and Love" (1785), in which Stevenson had written about himself and an unfortuitous relationship, and Jane West's A Gossip's Story (1796), which features two sisters, one full of rational sense and the other of romantic, emotive sensibility. West's romantic sister-heroine shares a first name with Austen's: Marianne. There are further textual similarities described in a modern edition of West's novel.[94] The Austen biographer Claire Tomalin argues that Sense and Sensibility has a "wobble in its approach", which developed because Austen, in the course of writing the novel, gradually became less certain about whether sense or sensibility should triumph.[95] Austen characterises Marianne as a sweet lady with attractive qualities: intelligence, musical talent, frankness, and the capacity to love deeply. She also acknowledges that Willoughby, with all his faults, continues to love and, in some measure, appreciate Marianne. For these reasons, some readers find Marianne's ultimate marriage to Colonel Brandon an unsatisfactory ending.[96]

Pride and Prejudice

Main article: Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice was Austen's second published novel and included her notable portrayal of the main character Elizabeth Bennett. Austen began writing the novel after staying at Goodnestone Park in Kent with her brother Edward and his wife in 1796.[97] It was originally titled First Impressions, and was written between October 1796 and August 1797.[98] On 1 November 1797 Austen's father sent a letter to London bookseller Thomas Cadell to ask if he had any interest in seeing the manuscript, but the offer was declined by return of post.[99] Austen made significant revisions to the manuscript for First Impressions between 1811 and 1812.[98] As nothing remains of the original manuscript, we are reduced to conjecture. From the large number of letters in the final novel, it is assumed that First Impressions was an epistolary novel.[100] She later renamed the story Pride and Prejudice. In renaming the novel, Austen probably had in mind the "sufferings and oppositions" summarised in the final chapter of Fanny Burney's Cecilia, called "Pride and Prejudice", where the phrase appears three times in block capitals.[101] It is possible that the novel's original title was altered to avoid confusion with other works. In the years between the completion of First Impressions and its revision into Pride and Prejudice, two other works had been published under that name: a novel by Margaret Holford and a comedy by Horace Smith.[99] Austen sold the copyright for the novel to Thomas Egerton of Whitehall in exchange for £110 (Austen had asked for £150).[102] This proved a costly decision. Austen had published Sense and Sensibility on a commission basis, whereby she indemnified the publisher against any losses and received any profits, less costs and the publisher's commission. Unaware that Sense and Sensibility would sell out its edition, making her £140,[99] she passed the copyright to Egerton for a one-off payment, meaning that all the risk (and all the profits) would be his. Jan Fergus has calculated that Egerton subsequently made around £450 from just the first two editions of the book.[103] Egerton published the first edition of Pride and Prejudice in three hardcover volumes on 27 January 1813.[104] It was advertised in the Morning Chronicle, priced at 18s.[98] Favourable reviews saw this edition sell out, with a second edition published in November that year. A third edition was published in 1817.[102]

Mansfield Park

Main article: Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park was the third published novel by Austen and is the most controversial of her major works. Regency critics praised the novel's wholesome morality, but many modern readers find Fanny's timidity and disapproval of the theatricals difficult to relate to and reject the idea (made explicit in the final chapter) that she is a better person for the relative privations of her childhood. Jane Austen's own mother thought Fanny "insipid",[105] and many other readers have found her priggish and unlikeable.[106] Other critics point out that she is a complex personality, perceptive yet given to wishful thinking, and that she shows courage and grows in self-esteem during the latter part of the story. The Austen biographer Claire Tomalin, who is generally critical of Fanny, argues that "it is in rejecting obedience in favour of the higher dictate of remaining true to her own conscience that Fanny rises to her moment of heroism".[107] But Tomalin reflects the ambivalence that many readers feel towards Fanny when she also writes: "More is made of Fanny Price's faith, which gives her the courage to resist what she thinks is wrong; it also makes her intolerant of sinners, whom she is ready to cast aside." Austen's historical time-frame during the Regency period put her at the center of much of the debate concerning slavery.

The Slave Ship by J.M.W. Turner depicts aspects of the British slave trade mentioned by Austen in Mansfield Park. Oil on canvas.

Austen manages to omit any mention of the Slave Trade Act 1807, which abolished the slave trade, though not slavery, in the British Empire. The Act passed four years before she started the novel and was the culmination of a long campaign by abolitionists, notably William Wilberforce. Slavery was not abolished in the British Empire until 1833. The death rate on the slave plantations in the Caribbean was so high, owing to yellow fever and malaria, that abolitionists believed that abolishing the slave trade would be enough to end slavery in the West Indies, as the plantation owners would not be able to stay in business without fresh importations of slaves from Africa. The literary critic Edward Said implicated the novel in western culture's casual acceptance of the material benefits of slavery and imperialism (a connection already made by Vladimir Nabokov in his Lectures on Literature, delivered in the 1940s although not published until 1980), citing Austen's failure to mention that the estate of Mansfield Park was made possible only through slave labour. Said was relentless in his attacks against Austen, depicting her as a racist and supporter of slavery whose books should be condemned rather than celebrated. Said's thesis that Austen wrote Mansfield Park to glorify slavery is a popular one, with the editor of a Penguin edition of Mansfield Park writing in the introduction that Said had established Mansfield Park "as part of the structure of an expanding imperialist venture".[108] Literary critics, including Gabrielle White, have rejected Said's condemnation of Jane Austen and western culture, maintaining that Austen and other writers, including Samuel Johnson and Edmund Burke, opposed slavery and helped make its eventual abolition possible. Claire Tomalin claims that Fanny, usually so timid, questions her uncle about the slave trade and receives no answer, suggesting that her vision of the trade's immorality is clearer than his.[109]


Main article: Emma (novel)

Emma is the fourth and last of Austen's novels published during her lifetime. Emma Woodhouse is the first Austen heroine with no financial concerns, which, she declares to the naïve Miss Smith, is the reason that she has no inducement to marry. This is a great departure from Austen's other novels, in which the quest for marriage and financial security are often important themes in the stories. Emma's ample financial resources put her in a much more privileged position than the heroines of Austen's earlier works, such as Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. Jane Fairfax's prospects, in contrast, are bleak. By comparison to other Austen heroines Emma seems immune to romantic attraction. Unlike Marianne Dashwood, who is attracted to the wrong man before she settles on the right one, Emma shows no romantic interest in the men she meets. She is genuinely surprised (and somewhat disgusted) when Mr Elton declares his love for her—much in the way Elizabeth Bennet reacts to the obsequious Mr Collins, also a parson. Her fancy for Frank Churchill represents more of a romantic complication of plot for Austen than the pursuit of Emma's more genuine affections in the novel. For example, at the beginning of Chapter XIII, Emma has "no doubt of her being in love", but it quickly becomes clear, even though she spends time "forming a thousand amusing schemes for the progress and close of their attachment", that "the conclusion of every imaginary declaration on his side was that she refused him".[110]


Main article: Persuasion (novel)

Persuasion was the last novel written by Austen and was unpublished at the time of her death, though it appeared soon thereafter, before the end of 1818. The novel was first released in a four-volume edition where the first two volumes presented the premiere publication of her early novel Northanger Abbey, while the final two volumes presented the co-published contents of Persuasion. Although readers of Persuasion might conclude that Austen intended "persuasion" to be the unifying theme of the story, the book's title is not hers, but her brother Henry's, who named it after her death. The idea of persuasion does run through the book, with vignettes within the story as variations on that theme. There is no known source that documents what Austen intended to call the novel. Whatever her intentions might have been, she spoke of it as The Elliots, according to family tradition, and some critics believe that is probably the title she planned for it. As for Northanger Abbey, published at the same time, it was probably her brother Henry who chose that title as well.[111] On the other hand, the literary scholar Gillian Beer establishes that Austen had profound concerns about the levels and applications of "persuasion" employed in society, especially as it related to the pressures and choices facing the young women of her day. Beer writes that for Austen and her readers, persuasion was indeed "fraught with moral dangers";[112]:xv she notes particularly that Austen was personally appalled by what she came to regard as her own misguided advice to her niece Fanny Knight on the question of whether Fanny ought to accept a particular suitor, even though it would have meant a protracted engagement. Beer writes: "Jane Austen's anxieties about persuasion and responsibility are here passionately expressed. She refuses to become part of the machinery with which Fanny is manoeuvering herself into forming the engagement. To be the stand-in motive for another's actions frightens her. Yet Jane Austen cannot avoid the part of persuader, even as dissuader." Fanny ultimately rejected her suitor and, after her aunt's death, married someone else.[112]:x–xv Thus, Beer explains, Austen was keenly aware that the human quality of persuasion—to persuade or to be persuaded, rightly or wrongly—is fundamental to the process of human communication, and that, in her novel "Jane Austen gradually draws out the implications of discriminating 'just' and 'unjust' persuasion." Indeed, the narrative winds through a number of situations in which people are influencing or attempting to influence other people—or themselves. Finally, Beer calls attention to "the novel's entire brooding on the power pressures, the seductions, and also the new pathways opened by persuasion".[112]:xv–xviii

Northanger Abbey

Main article: Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey was written when Austen was relatively young before 1800 and well before the publication of Sense and Sensibility in 1812. It was coincidentally co-printed with the posthumous publication of Persuasion in 1818 as a decision of the family even though it was written at a time chronologically separated from the writing of Persuasion by over a decade. Northanger Abbey is fundamentally an early parody of Gothic fiction. Austen turns the conventions of eighteenth-century novels on their head, by making her heroine a plain and undistinguished girl from a middle-class family, allowing the heroine to fall in love with the hero before he has a serious thought of her, and exposing the heroine's romantic fears and curiosities as groundless. The Austen biographer Claire Tomalin speculates that Austen may have begun this book, which is more explicitly comic than her other works and contains many literary allusions that her parents and siblings would have enjoyed, as a family entertainment—a piece of lighthearted parody to be read aloud by the fireside.[113] Moreover, as Joan Aiken writes, "We can guess that Susan [the original title of Northanger Abbey], in its first outline, was written very much for family entertainment, addressed to a family audience, like all Jane Austen's juvenile works, with their asides to the reader, and absurd dedications; some of the juvenilia, we know, were specifically addressed to her brothers Charles and Frank; all were designed to be circulated and read by a large network of relations."[114] Austen addresses the reader directly in parts, particularly at the end of Chapter 5, where she gives a lengthy opinion of the value of novels, and the contemporary social prejudice against them in favour of drier historical works and newspapers. In discussions featuring Isabella, the Thorpe sisters, Eleanor, and Henry, and by Catherine perusing the library of the General, and her mother's books on instructions on behaviours, the reader gains further insights into Austen's various perspectives on novels in contrast with other popular literature of the time (especially the Gothic novel). Eleanor even praises history books, and while Catherine points out the obvious fiction of the speeches given to important historical characters, Eleanor enjoys them for what they are. The directness with which Austen addresses the reader, especially at the end of the story, gives a unique insight into Austen's thoughts well before the publication of Sense and Sensibility in 1812, which is particularly important due to the fact that a large portion of her letters were burned, at her request, by her sister upon her death.


The themes and literary theory applied to the analysis and critique of Austen's novels have varied and expanded with each new generation of readers and scholars who have approached and analysed her writings. The initial reins of the criticism and analysis of the main themes in Austen's novels were first taken up by Sir Walter Scott and the theologian Richard Whately.[115] Following the years of the disposition of her estate, by 1821 a second period of the literary analysis and criticism of her writings was initiated which lasted for nearly fifty years between 1821-1870.[116] This was followed by several decades of scholarship concerning Austen following the international reception of her novels which were being translated into multiple foreign languages during the 19th century.[117] The Modern period of scholarship and analysis of her literary themes began at about 1930 and continues to the present day in defending her as being among the most accomplished British authors of international fame.[118]

The Regency period

While Austen was still living and in the immediate years following her death, two notable critiques of the literary themes in Austen were pursued by Sir Walter Scott and the theologian Richard Whately. Asked by the publisher John Murray to review Emma, the famed historical novelist Sir Walter Scott wrote the longest and most thoughtful of these reviews, which was published anonymously in the March 1816 issue of the Quarterly Review. Using the review as a platform from which to defend the then-disreputable genre of the novel, Scott praised Austen's works, celebrating her ability to copy "from nature as she really exists in the common walks of life, and presenting to the reader ... a correct and striking representation of that which is daily taking place around him".[119] The 21st-century Austen scholar William Galperin has noted that "unlike some of Austen's lay readers, who recognized her divergence from realistic practice as it had been prescribed and defined at the time, Walter Scott may well have been the first to install Austen as the realist par excellence".[120] Scott wrote in his private journal in 1826, in what later became a widely quoted comparison: "Also read again and for the third time at least Miss Austen's very finely written novel of Pride and Prejudice. That young lady had a talent for describing the involvement and feelings and characters of ordinary life which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with."[121][122]

In the Quarterly Review in 1821, the English writer and theologian Richard Whately published the most serious and enthusiastic early posthumous review of Austen's work. Whately drew favourable comparisons between Austen and such acknowledged greats as Homer and Shakespeare, praising the dramatic qualities of her narrative. He also affirmed the respectability and legitimacy of the novel as a genre, arguing that imaginative literature, especially narrative, was more valuable than history or biography. When it was properly done, as in Austen, Whately said, imaginative literature concerned itself with generalised human experience from which the reader could gain important insights into human nature; in other words, it was moral.[123] Whately also addressed Austen's position as a female writer, writing: "we suspect one of Miss Austin's [sic] great merits in our eyes to be, the insight she gives us into the peculiarities of female characters. ... Her heroines are what one knows women must be, though one never can get them to acknowledge it."[124] No more significant, original Austen criticism was published until the late 19th century: Whately and Scott had set the tone for the Victorian era's view of Austen.[123]

The Victorian period

Following the disposition of Austen's literary estate after 1821, for several decades Victorian critics and audiences were drawn to the work of authors such as Charles Dickens and George Eliot; by comparison, Austen's novels seemed provincial and quiet.[125] Although Austen's works were republished beginning in late 1832 or early 1833 by Richard Bentley in the Standard Novels series, and remained in print continuously thereafter, they were not best-sellers.[126] Southam describes her "reading public between 1821 and 1870" as "minute beside the known audience for Dickens and his contemporaries".[127] Those who did read Austen saw themselves as discriminating readers—they were a cultured few. This became a common theme of Austen criticism during the 19th and early 20th centuries.[128] The philosopher and literary critic George Henry Lewes articulated this theme in a series of enthusiastic articles in the 1840s and 1850s. In "The Novels of Jane Austen", published anonymously in Blackwood's Magazine in 1859, Lewes praised Austen's novels for "the economy of art ... the easy adaptation of means to ends, with no aid from superfluous elements" and compared her to Shakespeare.[129] Arguing that Austen lacked the ability to construct a plot, he still celebrated her dramatisations: "The reader's pulse never throbs, his curiosity is never intense; but his interest never wanes for a moment. The action begins; the people speak, feel, and act; everything that is said, felt, or done tends towards the entanglement or disentanglement of the plot; and we are almost made actors as well as spectators of the little drama."[130] Reacting against Lewes's essays and his personal communications with her, the novelist Charlotte Brontë admired Austen's fidelity to everyday life but described her as "only shrewd and observant" and criticised the absence of visible passion in her work.[131] To Brontë, Austen's work appeared formal and constrained, "a carefully fenced, highly cultivated garden, with neat borders and delicate flowers; but no glance of bright vivid physiognomy, no open country, no fresh air, no blue hill, no bonny beck".[132]

The Edwardian period

The six decades between 1870 and 1930 saw a redoubling a Austen's fame internationally with the translation of her works in multiple foreign languages (including French, German, Danish, and Swedish) and the writing of three separate studies of her biography and literary themes during this time period. In 1869, this was initiated by the publication of the first significant Austen biography, A Memoir of Jane Austen, which was written by Jane Austen's nephew, James Edward Austen-Leigh.[133] With its release, Austen's popularity and critical standing increased dramatically.[134] Readers of the Memoir were presented with the myth of the amateur novelist who wrote masterpieces: the Memoir fixed in the public mind a sentimental picture of Austen as a quiet, middle-aged maiden aunt and reassured them that her work was suitable for a respectable Victorian family. James Edward Austen-Leigh had a portrait of Jane Austen painted, based on the earlier watercolour, softening her image and making her presentable to the Victorian public.[135] The engraving by Bentley which formed the frontispiece of Memoir is based on the idealised image. The publication of the Memoir spurred a major reissue of Austen's novels. The first popular editions were released in 1883—a cheap sixpenny series published by Routledge. This was followed by a proliferation of elaborate illustrated editions, collectors' sets, and scholarly editions.[136] However, contemporary critics continued to assert that her works were sophisticated and only appropriate for those who could truly plumb their depths.[137] Yet, after the publication of the Memoir, more criticism was published on Austen's novels in two years than had appeared in the previous fifty.[138] This first biography was supplemented in 1913 when William Austen-Leigh and Richard Arthur Austen-Leigh, descendants of the Austen family, published the definitive family biography, Jane Austen: Her Life and Letters—A Family Record. Based primarily on family papers and letters, it is described by the Austen biographer Park Honan as "accurate, staid, reliable, and at times vivid and suggestive".[139] Although the authors moved away from the sentimental tone of the Memoir, they made little effort to go beyond the family records and traditions immediately available to them. Their book therefore offers bare facts and little in the way of interpretation.[140]

During the last quarter of the 19th century, the first books of critical analysis regarding Austen's works were published. In 1890 Godwin Smith published the Life of Jane Austen, initiating a "fresh phase in the critical heritage", in which Austen reviewers became critics. This launched the beginning of "formal criticism", that is, a focus on Austen as a writer and an analysis of the techniques that made her writing unique.[141] According to Southam, while Austen criticism increased in amount and, to some degree, in quality after 1870, "a certain uniformity" pervaded it.[142] Among the most astute of these critics were Richard Simpson, Margaret Oliphant, and Leslie Stephen.[143] In a review of the Memoir, Simpson described Austen as a serious yet ironic critic of English society. He introduced two interpretative themes which later became the basis for modern literary criticism of Austen's works: humour as social critique and irony as a means of moral evaluation. Simpson wrote that Austen "began by being an ironical critic; she manifested her judgment ... not by direct censure, but by the indirect method of imitating and exaggerating the faults of her models. ... Criticism, humour, irony, the judgment not of one that gives sentence but of the mimic who quizzes while he mocks, are her characteristics."[144] Simpson's essay was not well known and did not become influential until Lionel Trilling quoted it in 1957.[145]

Another prominent writer whose Austen criticism was ignored, the novelist Margaret Oliphant, described Austin (in almost proto-feminist terms) as "armed with a 'fine vein of feminine cynicism,' 'full of subtle power, keenness, finesse, and self-restraint,' blessed with an 'exquisite sense' of the 'ridiculous,' 'a fine stinging yet soft-voiced contempt,' whose novels are 'so calm and cold and keen'".[146] This line of criticism would not be fully explored until the 1970s with the rise of feminist literary criticism. Although Austen's novels had been published in the United States since 1832, albeit in bowdlerised editions, it was not until after 1870 that there was a distinctive American response to Austen.[147] As Southam explains, "for American literary nationalists Jane Austen's cultivated scene was too pallid, too constrained, too refined, too downright unheroic".[148] Austen was not democratic enough for American tastes and her canvas did not extend to the frontier themes that had come to define American literature.[148] By the start of the 20th century, the American response was represented by the debate between the American novelist and critic William Dean Howells and the writer and humourist Mark Twain. In a series of essays, Howells helped make Austen into a canonical figure for the populace whereas Twain used Austen to argue against the Anglophile tradition in America. That is, Twain argued for the distinctiveness of American literature by attacking English literature.[149] In his book Following the Equator, Twain described the library on his ship: "Jane Austen's books ... are absent from this library. Just that one omission alone would make a fairly good library out of a library that hadn't a book in it."[150]

The literary critic and novelist Henry James spoke approving of Austen's novels. Oil painting by John Singer Sargent (1913).

By the start of the twentieth century, however, around 1900, members of the literary elite, who had claimed an appreciation of Austen as a mark of culture, reacted against this popularisation of her work. They referred to themselves as Janeites to distinguish themselves from the masses who, in their view, did not properly understand Austen.[151] The American novelist Henry James, a notable member of this literary elite, referred to Austen several times with approval and on one occasion ranked her with Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Henry Fielding as among "the fine painters of life".[152] But, James thought Austen an "unconscious" artist whom he described as "instinctive and charming".[153] In 1905, James responded frustratingly to what he described as "a beguiled infatuation" with Austen, a rising tide of public interest that exceeded Austen's "intrinsic merit and interest". James attributed this rise principally to "the stiff breeze of the commercial, ... the special bookselling spirits. ... the body of publishers, editors, illustrators, producers of the pleasant twaddle of magazines; who have found their 'dear,' our dear, everybody's dear, Jane so infinitely to their material purpose, so amenable to pretty reproduction in every variety of what is called tasteful, and in what seemingly proves to be salable, form."[154]

The Modern period

Austen's place among the most accomplished British authors of international fame appeared secure by the start of the Modern era in the early twentieth century leading into the start of the twenty-first century. Several important early works—glimmers of brilliant Austen scholarship—paved the way for Austen to become solidly entrenched within the academy. The first was the Oxford Shakespearean scholar A. C. Bradley's 1911 essay, "generally regarded as the starting-point for the serious academic approach to Jane Austen".[155] Bradley emphasised Austen's ties to the 18th-century critic and writer Samuel Johnson, arguing that she was a moralist as well as humourist; in this he was "totally original", according to Southam.[156] Bradley divided Austen's works into "early" and "late" novels, categories which are still used by scholars today.[157] The second path-breaking early-20th century critic of Austen was R. W. Chapman, whose magisterial edition of Austen's collected works was the first scholarly edition of the works of any English novelist. The Chapman texts have remained the basis for all subsequent editions of Austen's works.[158] In an outpouring of mid-century revisionist views, scholars approached Austen more sceptically. D. W. Harding, following and expanding upon Farrer, argued in his essay "Regulated Hatred: An Aspect of the Work of Jane Austen" that Austen's novels did not support the status quo but rather subverted it. Her irony was not humorous but caustic and intended to undermine the assumptions of the society she portrayed. Through her use of irony, Austen attempted to protect her integrity as an artist and a person in the face of attitudes and practices she rejected.[159] Almost simultaneously, the influential critic Q. D. Leavis argued in "Critical Theory of Jane Austen's Writing", published in Scrutiny in the early 1940s, that Austen was a professional, not an amateur, writer.[160] Harding's and Leavis's articles were followed by another revisionist treatment by Marvin Mudrick in Jane Austen: Irony as Defense and Discovery (1952). Mudrick portrayed Austen as isolated, defensive, and critical of her society, and described in detail the relationship he saw between Austen's attitude toward contemporary literature and her use of irony as a technique to contrast the realities of her society with what she felt they should be.[159] These revisionist views, together with the prominent critic F. R. Leavis's pronouncement in The Great Tradition (1948) that Austen was one of the great writers of English fiction, a view shared by Ian Watt, who helped shape the scholarly debate regarding the genre of the novel, did much to cement Austen's reputation amongst academics.[161]

One contemporary Shakespeare scholar in the late 20th century and leading into the 21st century has continued the tradition of F.R. Leavis which received Austen as being comparable to Shakespeare on the strength of her ability to depict the interiority of her major characters.[162] For Bloom, Austen's "genius" is valued and fully deserving of high comparison with major novelists such as the Lady Murasaki Shikibu of The Tale of Genji and other prominent literary figures including Alexander Pope, John Donne and Jonathan Swift. The late Vladimir Nabokov was far more hesitant in his reading of the literary themes and accomplishment of Austen especially when comparing her to one of his favourite authors whom he identified as Nikolai Gogol. From Nabokov's perspective, Gogol's craftsmanship as an author exceeded his estimates of Austen's abilities as a novelist.[162]


Contemporary responses

In 1816, the editors of The New Monthly Magazine noted Emma's publication but chose not to review it.[K]

Austen's works brought her little personal renown because they were published anonymously. Although her novels quickly became fashionable among opinion-makers, such as Princess Charlotte Augusta, daughter of George IV, they received only a few published reviews.[163] Most of the reviews were short and on balance favourable, although superficial and cautious.[164] They most often focused on the moral lessons of the novels.[165] Sir Walter Scott, a leading novelist of the day, contributed one of them, anonymously. Using the review as a platform from which to defend the then-disreputable genre of the novel, he praised Austen's realism.[166] The other important early review of Austen's works was attributed to Richard Whately in 1821. However, Whately denied having authored the review,[167] which drew favourable comparisons between Austen and such acknowledged greats as Homer and Shakespeare, and praised the dramatic qualities of her narrative. Scott and Whately set the tone for almost all subsequent 19th-century Austen criticism.[168]

19th century

Because Austen's novels failed to conform to more overt Romantic and Victorian expectations that "powerful emotion [be] authenticated by an egregious display of sound and colour in the writing",[169] 19th-century critics and audiences generally preferred the works of Charles Dickens and George Eliot.[170] Though Austen's novels were republished in Britain beginning in the 1830s and remained steady sellers, they were not bestsellers.[171]

One of the first two published illustrations of Pride and Prejudice, from the Richard Bentley edition.[172] Caption reads: "She then told him [Mr Bennett] what Mr Darcy had voluntarily done for Lydia. He heard her with astonishment."

Austen had many admiring readers in the 19th century who considered themselves part of a literary elite: they viewed their appreciation of Austen's works as a mark of their cultural taste. Philosopher and literary critic George Henry Lewes expressed this viewpoint in a series of enthusiastic articles published in the 1840s and 1850s.[173] This theme continued later in the century with novelist Henry James, who referred to Austen several times with approval and on one occasion ranked her with Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Fielding as among "the fine painters of life".[174]

The publication of James Edward Austen-Leigh's A Memoir of Jane Austen in 1869 introduced Austen to a wider public as "dear aunt Jane", the respectable maiden aunt. Publication of the Memoir spurred the reissue of Austen's novels — the first popular editions were released in 1883 and fancy illustrated editions and collectors' sets quickly followed.[175] Author and critic Leslie Stephen described the popular mania that started to develop for Austen in the 1880s as "Austenolatry".[176] Around the start of the 20th century, members of the literary elite reacted against the popularization of Austen. They referred to themselves as Janeites in order to distinguish themselves from the masses who did not properly understand her works.[177] For example, Henry James responded negatively to what he described as "a beguiled infatuation" with Austen, a rising tide of public interest that exceeded Austen's "intrinsic merit and interest".[178]

During the last quarter of the 19th century, the first books of criticism on Austen were published. In fact, after the publication of the Memoir, more criticism was published on Austen in two years than had appeared in the previous fifty.[179]

20th century

Several important works paved the way for Austen's novels to become a focus of academic study. The first important milestone was a 1911 essay by Oxford Shakespearean scholar A. C. Bradley, which is "generally regarded as the starting-point for the serious academic approach to Jane Austen".[180] In it, he established the groupings of Austen's "early" and "late" novels, which are still used by scholars today.[181] The second was R. W. Chapman's 1923 edition of Austen's collected works. Not only was it the first scholarly edition of Austen's works, it was also the first scholarly edition of any English novelist. The Chapman text has remained the basis for all subsequent published editions of Austen's works.[182] With the publication in 1939 of Mary Lascelles's Jane Austen and Her Art, the academic study of Austen took hold.[183] Lascelles's innovative work included an analysis of the books Jane Austen read and the effect of her reading on her work, an extended analysis of Austen's style, and her "narrative art". At the time, concern arose over the fact that academics were taking over Austen criticism and it was becoming increasingly esoteric — a debate that has continued to the beginning of the 21st century.[184]

Janeite cookies

In a spurt of revisionist views in the 1940s, scholars approached Austen more sceptically and argued that she was a subversive writer. These revisionist views, together with F. R. Leavis's and Ian Watt's pronouncement that Austen was one of the great writers of English fiction, did much to cement Austen's reputation amongst academics.[185] They agreed that she "combined [Henry Fielding's and Samuel Richardson's] qualities of interiority and irony, realism and satire to form an author superior to both".[90] The period since World War II has seen increased scholarship on Austen using a diversity of critical approaches, including several scholarly anthologies of Austen scholarship from leading publishers such as Cambridge University Press, Chelsea House Press, and Prentice Hall university publishers. However, the continuing disconnection between the popular appreciation of Austen, particularly by modern Janeites, and the academic appreciation of Austen has widened considerably.

Sequels, prequels, and adaptations of almost every sort have been based on the novels of Jane Austen, from soft-core pornography to fantasy.[186] Beginning in the middle of the 19th century, Austen family members published conclusions to her incomplete novels, and by 2000 there were over 100 printed adaptations.[187] The first film adaptation was the 1940 MGM production of Pride and Prejudice starring Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson.[188] BBC television dramatisations, which were first produced in the 1970s, attempted to adhere meticulously to Austen's plots, characterisations, and settings.[189] In 1995 a great wave of Austen adaptations began to appear, with Ang Lee's film of Sense and Sensibility, for which screenwriter and star Emma Thompson won an Academy Award, and the BBC's immensely popular TV mini-series Pride and Prejudice, starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth.[190]

21st century

A British production in 2005 of Pride & Prejudice was directed by Joe Wright. The film is a period piece which accurately depicts the five sisters of the novel as they deal with issues of marriage, morality and misconceptions, though it places the film in the slightly earlier pre-Napoleonic time of late 18th century England rather than the exact time frame depicted in the novel. Keira Knightley stars in the lead role of Elizabeth Bennet, while Matthew Macfadyen plays her romantic interest Mr Darcy. Produced by Working Title Films in association with StudioCanal, the film was released on 16 September 2005 in the United Kingdom and Ireland and on 11 November in the United States.[191][192]

Julia Day from The Guardian in 2005 reported that ITV controller of drama, Nick Elliott, had ordered three new adaptations of Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.[193] Elliot commented that the adaptations would be "important remakes for the new generation".[194] He explained, "About every 10 years, all the great stories need retelling. These films will be very much 2007 films ... we've asked and pushed the production team to make them young. Her stories always make great TV drama and our Jane Austen season will feature the absolute cream of British acting talent."[194] In January 2016 a film version of Austen's early epistolary novel Lady Susan directed by Whit Stillman premiered at the Sundance Film Festival starring Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny under the borrowed title of another one of Austen's early novels Love & Friendship.[195]

List of works


Short fiction

Unfinished fiction

Other works

  • Sir Charles Grandison (adapted play) (1793, 1800)[196]
  • Plan of a Novel (1815)
  • Poems (1796–1817)
  • Prayers (1796–1817)
  • Letters (1796–1817)
Last page (p.4) of a letter from Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra, dated June 11, 1799, signed "Yours affectionately, Jane" [197]

Juvenilia — Volume the First (1787–1793) [198]

  • Frederic & Elfrida
  • Jack & Alice
  • Edgar & Emma
  • Henry and Eliza
  • The Adventures of Mr. Harley
  • Sir William Mountague
  • Memoirs of Mr. Clifford
  • The Beautifull Cassandra
  • Amelia Webster
  • The Visit
  • The Mystery
  • The Three Sisters
  • A beautiful description
  • The generous Curate
  • Ode to Pity

Juvenilia — Volume the Second (1787–1793)

Juvenilia — Volume the Third (1787–1793)

  • Evelyn
  • Catharine, or the Bower

Critical editions

An authoritative and contemporary critical edition of all the main novels of Jane Austen in six-volumes was started in 2010 by Harvard University Press under their Belknap imprint series. Many other "complete" editions of Austen's novels are available though most are not fully annotated or illustrated with period drawings. The final volume of the six volumes, Mansfield Park, in the Harvard critical edition of the main novels of Jane Austen in scheduled to be released in the autumn of 2016.

  • Pride and Prejudice. Hardcover: 446 pages Publisher: Belknap Press; 1st edition (October 31, 2010). ASIN: B00E6TK8MQ.
  • Persuasion. Hardcover: 360 pages. Publisher: Belknap Press; Annotated edition (November 7, 2011). ISBN 0674049748.
  • Emma. Hardcover: 576 pages. Publisher: Belknap Press; Annotated edition (September 17, 2012). ISBN 0674048849.
  • Sense and Sensibility. Hardcover: 448 pages. Publisher: Belknap Press; Annotated edition (October 1, 2013). ISBN 0674724550.
  • Northanger Abbey. Hardcover: 384 pages Publisher: Belknap Press; Annotated edition (April 28, 2014). ISBN 0674725670.
  • Mansfield Park. Hardcover: 490 pages. Publisher: Belknap Press; Annotated edition (October 24, 2016). ISBN 0674058100.


See also


  1. ^ The original is unsigned but was believed by the family to have been made by Cassandra and remained in the family with the one signed sketch by Cassandra until 1920. The original sketch, according to relatives who knew Jane Austen well, was not a good likeness.[199]
  2. ^ These included the original versions of and revisions to the novels later published as Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey, and a novel fragment, The Watsons.[200]
  3. ^ Oliver MacDonagh says that Sense and Sensibility "may well be the first English realistic novel" based on its detailed and accurate portrayal of what he calls "getting and spending" in an English gentry family.[201]
  4. ^ All of Jane Austen's novels except Pride and Prejudice were published "on commission", that is, at the author's financial risk. When publishing on commission, publishers would advance the costs of publication, repay themselves as books were sold and then charge a commission for each book sold, paying the rest to the author. If a novel did not recover its costs through sales, the author was responsible for them.[202]
  5. ^ Jane Austen's novels were published in larger editions than was normal for this period. The small size of the novel-reading public and the large costs associated with hand production (particularly the cost of handmade paper) meant that most novels were published in editions of 500 copies or less, in order to reduce the risks to the publisher and the novelist. Even some of the most successful titles during this period were issued in editions of not more than 750 or 800 copies and later reprinted if demand continued. Austen's novels were published in larger editions, ranging from about 750 copies of Sense and Sensibility to about 2,000 copies of Emma. It is not clear whether the decision to print more copies than usual of Jane Austen's novels was driven by the publishers or the author. Since all but one of Jane Austen's books were originally published "on commission", the risks of overproduction were largely hers (or Cassandra's after her death) and publishers may have been more willing to produce larger editions than was normal practice when their own funds were at risk. Editions of popular works of non-fiction were often much larger.[203]
  6. ^ The Prince Regent's admiration was by no means reciprocated, however. In a letter of 16 February 1813 to her friend Martha Lloyd, Austen says (referring to the Prince's wife, whom he treated notoriously badly) "I hate her Husband".[204]
  7. ^ John Murray also published the work of Walter Scott and Lord Byron. In a letter to Cassandra dated 17/18 October 1816, Austen comments that "Mr. Murray's Letter is come; he is a Rogue of course, but a civil one."[205]
  8. ^ Addison's disease was often a secondary effect of tuberculosis or cancer. For detailed information concerning the retrospective diagnosis, its uncertainties and related controversies, see Honan, 391–392; Le Faye, A Family Record, 236; Grey, "Life of Jane Austen," The Jane Austen Companion, 282; and Wiltshire, Jane Austen and the Body, 221. Claire Tomalin prefers a diagnosis of a lymphoma such as Hodgkin's disease, arguing that Austen's known symptoms are more consistent with a lymphoma than with Addison's disease.[206]
  9. ^ The manuscript of the revised final chapters of Persuasion is the only surviving manuscript in Austen's own handwriting for any of her published novels.[207]
  10. ^ Cassandra and Henry Austen chose the final titles and the title page is dated 1818.
  11. ^ Honan points to "the odd fact that most of [Austen's] reviewers sound like Mr. Collins" as evidence that contemporary critics felt that works oriented toward the interests and concerns of women were intrinsically less important and less worthy of critical notice than works (mostly non-fiction) oriented towards men.[208]


  1. ^ a b Fergus, "Biography", Jane Austen in Context, 3–4.
  2. ^ Le Faye, "Letters", Jane Austen in Context, 33.
  3. ^ Le Faye, A Family Record, 270; Nokes, 1.
  4. ^ Le Faye, A Family Record, 279.
  5. ^ Keith G. Thomas, "Jane Austen and the Romantic Lyric: Persuasion and Coleridge's Conversation Poems," ELH, Vol. 54, No. 4 (Winter, 1987), pp. 893–924, The Johns Hopkins Press. [1]
  6. ^ Lauro Dabundo, 'Jane Austen's Opacities,", in her book Jane Austen and Mary Shelley and Their Sisters, 2000, University Press of America.
  7. ^ Honan, 29–30.
  8. ^ Honan, 11–14; Tucker, "Jane Austen's Family", The Jane Austen Companion, 143.
  9. ^ Tomalin, 6, 13–16, 147–151, 170–171; Greene, "Jane Austen and the Peerage", Jane Austen: A Collection of Critical Essays, 156–157; Fergus, "Biography", Jane Austen in Context, 5–6; Collins, 10–11.
  10. ^ Irene Collins estimates that when George Austen took up his duties as rector in 1764, Steventon comprised no more than about thirty families. Collins, 86.
  11. ^ Honan, 14, 17–18; Collins, 54.
  12. ^ Fergus, "Biography", 3; Tomalin, 142; Honan, 23, 119.
  13. ^ "Kellynch Hall - Persuasion - Jane Austen". 13 August 2005. 
  14. ^ MacDonagh, 50–51; Honan, 24, 246; Collins, 17.
  15. ^ a b Le Faye, Family Record, 22.
  16. ^ Tucker, "Jane Austen's Family", 147; Le Faye, Family Record, 43–44.
  17. ^ Le Faye, Family Record, 20.
  18. ^ Le Faye, Family Record, 27.
  19. ^ Tomalin, 7–9; Honan, 21–22; Collins, 86; Le Faye, Family Record, 19. Le Faye and Collins add that the Austens followed this custom for all of their children.
  20. ^ Le Faye, Family Record, 47–49; Collins, 35, 133.
  21. ^ Tomalin, 9–10, 26, 33–38, 42–43; Le Faye, Family Record, 52; Collins, 133–134.
  22. ^ Le Faye, "Chronology", 2–3; Grundy, "Jane Austen and Literary Traditions", 190–191; Tomalin, 28–29, 33–43, 66–67; Honan, 31–34; Lascelles, 7–8. Irene Collins believes that Austen "used some of the same school books as the boys" her father tutored. Collins, 42.
  23. ^ Honan, 66–68; Collins, 43.
  24. ^ Honan, 211–212.
  25. ^ Le Faye, Family Record, 52.
  26. ^ Le Faye, "Chronology", 2–3; Tucker, "Amateur Theatricals at Steventon", The Jane Austen Companion, 1–2; Byrne, 1–39; Gay, ix, 1; Tomalin, 31–32, 40–42, 55–57, 62–63; Honan, 35, 47–52, 423–424, n. 20.
  27. ^ Honan, 53–54; Lascelles, 106–107; Litz, 14–17.
  28. ^ Le Faye, Family Record, 66; Litz, "Chronology of Composition", The Jane Austen Companion, 48; Honan, 61–62, 70; Lascelles, 4.
  29. ^ Honan, 62–76; Le Faye, A Family Record, 270.
  30. ^ Sutherland, 14; Doody, "The Short Fiction", The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, 85–86.
  31. ^ Litz, 21; Tomalin, 47; Honan, 73–74; Southam, "Juvenilia", The Jane Austen Companion, 248–249.
  32. ^ Honan, 75.
  33. ^ Austen, The History of England, Catharine and Other Writings, 134.
  34. ^ Jenkyns, 31.
  35. ^ Gary Kelly, "Education and accomplishments," Jane Austen in Context, 256–257; Tomalin, 101–103, 120–123, 144.
  36. ^ Le Faye, Family Record, 84.
  37. ^ Honan, 265.
  38. ^ For social conventions among the gentry generally, see Collins, 105.
  39. ^ Tomalin, 101–103, 120–123, 144; Honan, 119.
  40. ^ Quoted in Tomalin, 102; see also Honan, 84.
  41. ^ Southam, "Grandison", The Jane Austen Companion, 187–189.
  42. ^ a b Honan, 93.
  43. ^ Honan, 101–102; Tomalin, 82–83
  44. ^ Tomalin, 83–84; see also Sutherland, 15.
  45. ^ Sutherland, 16–18; LeFaye, "Chronology", 4; Tomalin, 107, 120, 154, 208.
  46. ^ Tomalin, 118.
  47. ^ Qtd. in Le Faye, Family Record, 92.
  48. ^ Le Faye, "Chronology", 4; Fergus, "Biography", 7–8; Tomalin, 112–120, 159; Honan, 105–111.
  49. ^ Le Faye, Family Record, 100, 114.
  50. ^ Le Fay, Family Record, 104; Sutherland, 17, 21; quotations from Tomalin, 120–122.
  51. ^ Le Faye, "Chronology", 5, 7; Fergus, "Biography", 7; Sutherland, 16–18, 21; Tomalin, 120–121; Honan, 122–124.
  52. ^ Litz, 59–60.
  53. ^ a b Le Faye, "Chronology", 5, 6, 10; Fergus, "Biography", 8–9; Sutherland, 16, 18–19, 20–22; Tomalin, 182, 199, 254.
  54. ^ Collins, 8–9.
  55. ^ Sutherland, 21.
  56. ^ Le Faye, "Chronology", 6–8; Fergus, "Biography", 8; Sutherland, 15, 20–22; Tomalin, 168–175; Honan, 215. Doody agrees with Tomalin. Margaret Anne Doody, "Jane Austen, that disconcerting child" in Alexander and McMaster, The Child Writer, 105.
  57. ^ Le Faye, "Chronology" 6; Fergus, "Biography", pp. 7–8; Tomalin, 178–181; Honan, 189–198.
  58. ^ Le Faye, "Memoirs and Biographies", Jane Austen in Context, 51.
  59. ^ Letter dated 18–20 November 1814, Jane Austen's Letters, 278–282.
  60. ^ Sutherland, 15, 21.
  61. ^ Le Faye, "Chronology", 7; Tomalin, 182–184; Honan, 203–205.
  62. ^ MacDonagh, 111; Honan, 212; Tomalin, 186.
  63. ^ Honan, 213–214.
  64. ^ See for example, "Jane Austen and Stanford Cottage, Worthing". Worthing Heritage Trails. Retrieved February 7, 2015. 
  65. ^ Clarke, Janet: ' Jane Austen and Worthing', published in the Jane Austen Society's Annual Report 2008.
  66. ^ Tomalin, 194–206.
  67. ^ Tomalin, 207.
  68. ^ Chawton had a population of 417 at the census of 1811. Collins, 89.
  69. ^ Le Faye, "Chronology", 8; Tomalin, 194–206; Honan, 237–245; MacDonagh, 49.
  70. ^ Grey, "Chawton", in The Jane Austen Companion, 38
  71. ^ Grey, "Chawton", 37–38; Tomalin, 208, 211–212; Honan, 265–266, 351–352.
  72. ^ Doody, "The Shorter Fiction", The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, 87.
  73. ^ Honan, 289–290.
  74. ^ Honan, 290, Tomalin, 218.
  75. ^ Sutherland, 16–17, 21; Le Faye, "Chronology" 8–9; Fergus, "The Professional Woman Writer", 19–23; Tomalin, 210–212, 216–220; Honan, 287.
  76. ^ Le Faye, "Chronology", 9; Fergus, "The Professional Woman Writer", 22–24; Sutherland, 18–19; Tomalin, 236, 240–241, 315, n. 5.
  77. ^ Austen letter to James Stannier Clarke, 15 November 1815; Clarke letter to Austen, 16 November 1815; Austen letter to John Murray, 23 November 1815, Le Faye, Jane Austen's Letters, 296–298.
  78. ^ Note on the relationship; Correspondence; Litz, 164–165; Honan, 367–369, describes the episode in detail.
  79. ^ Le Faye, "Chronology", 8–9; Sutherland, 16–21; Fergus, "The Professional Woman Writer", 23–27, 30, n.29, 31, n.33; Fergus, "Biography", 10; Tomalin, 256.
  80. ^ Le Faye, "Chronology", 6, 10; Fergus, "The Professional Woman Writer", 26–27; Tomalin, 252–254.
  81. ^ Honan, 378–379, 385–395
  82. ^ Daily Mail [How Jane Austen may have died from tuberculosis] [2]
  83. ^ Linda Robinson Walker. "Linda Robinson Walker". Retrieved 27 May 2011. 
  84. ^ Tomalin, 261.
  85. ^ Le Faye, "Chronology", 10–11; Fergus, "The Professional Woman Writer", 26–27; Tomalin, 254–271; Honan, 385–405.
  86. ^ Tomalin, 272.
  87. ^ Tomalin, 321, n.1 and 3; Gilson, "Editions and Publishing History", in The Jane Austen Companion, 136–137.
  88. ^ Gilson, "Editions and Publishing History", p. 137; Gilson, "Later publishing history, with illustrations," Jane Austen in Context, p. 127; Southam, "Criticism, 1870–1940", 102.
  89. ^ Johnson, "Austen cults and cultures", 219; Todd, 20.
  90. ^ a b Todd, 20.
  91. ^ Le Fay, D., Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels, p.154.
  92. ^ Harold Bloom, (2009) Bloom's Modern Critical Reviews: Jane Austen, New York: Infobase Publishing, p. 252. ISBN 978-1-60413-397-4
  93. ^ Christopher John Murray, (2004) Encyclopedia of the Romantic Era: A-K, Taylor and Francis Books, Inc., Vol. 1: p. 41 ISBN 1-57958-361-X
  94. ^ Looser, Devoney, "Introduction," Jane West's A Gossip's Story Ed. Devoney Looser, Melinda O'Connell, and Caitlin Kelly (Richmond, VA: Valancourt Books, 2015). ISBN 978-1943910151
  95. ^ Claire Tomalin, (1997) Jane Austen: A Life, New York: Random House, Inc., p.155. ISBN 0-679-44628-1
  96. ^ Tomalin, C., Jane Austen: A Life, p. 156–157.
  97. ^ "History of Goodnestone". Goodnestone Park Gardens. Retrieved 26 August 2010. 
  98. ^ a b c Le Faye, Deidre (2002). Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels. New York: Harry N. Abrams. ISBN 0-8109-3285-7. 
  99. ^ a b c Rogers, Pat (ed.) (2006). The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-82514-6. 
  100. ^ This theory is defended by "Character and Caricature in Jane Austen" by DW Harding in Critical Essays on Jane Austen (BC Southam Edition, London 1968) and Brian Southam in Southam, B.C. (2001). Jane Austen's literary manuscripts : a study of the novelist's development through the surviving papers (New ed.). London: the Athlone press / Continuum. pp. 58–59. ISBN 9780826490704. 
  101. ^ Pinion, F B (1973). A Jane Austen. Companion. Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-12489-8. 
  102. ^ a b Stafford, Fiona (2004). "Notes on the Text". Pride and Prejudice. Oxford World's Classics (ed. James Kinley). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-280238-0. 
  103. ^ Fergus, Jan (1997). "The professional woman writer". In E Copeland and J McMaster. The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-49867-8. 
  104. ^ "Anniversaries of 2013". Daily Telegraph. 28 December 2012. 
  105. ^ "Early opinions of Mansfield Park". Retrieved 16 May 2006. 
  106. ^ "Controversy over Fanny Price, from the AUSTEN-L mailing list". Retrieved 16 May 2006. 
  107. ^ Claire Tomalin, Jane Austen: A Life (New York: Vintage, 1997), p. 230.
  108. ^ Windschuttle, Keith (January 1999). "Edward Said’s "Orientalism revisited"". The New Criterion. Retrieved 30 March 2016. 
  109. ^ Tomalin, Jane Austen: A Life, p.230.
  110. ^ Austen, Jane. Emma. Introductory essay and Notes by Adela Pinch, pp vii-xxx. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2008.
  111. ^ Le Faye, Deirdre (2003). Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels. London: Francis Lincoln. p. 278. ISBN 978-0711222786. 
  112. ^ a b c Austen, Jane; Beer, Gillian (1998). "Introduction". Persuasion. London: Penguin Classics. ISBN 978-0140434675. 
  113. ^ Tomalin, Claire. Jane Austen: A Life. New York: Vintage, 1997, p. 165.
  114. ^ Aiken, Joan (1985). "How Might Jane Austen Have Revised Northanger Abbey?". Persuasions, a publication of the Jane Austen Society of North America. Retrieved 18 April 2016. 
  115. ^ Scott, 58; see also Litz, "Criticism, 1939–1983", 110; Waldron, 85–86; Duffy, 94–96.
  116. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 1, 2; Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 1.
  117. ^ The Memoir by her nephew starting this period of several decades was published in December 1869 and dated 1870.
  118. ^ Brian Southam, quoted in Trott, 92; see also, Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 79.
  119. ^ Scott, 58; see also Litz, "Criticism, 1939–1983", 110; Waldron, 85–86; Duffy, 94–96.
  120. ^ Galperin, 96.
  121. ^ Southam, "Scott on Jane Austen", Vol. 1, 106.
  122. ^ "Criticisms and Interpretations. I. By Sir Walter Scott. Austen, Jane. 1917. Pride and Prejudice. Vol. III, Part 2. Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction". Retrieved 18 April 2016. 
  123. ^ a b Waldron, 89–90; Duffy, 97; Watt, 4–5.
  124. ^ Southam, "Whately on Jane Austen", Vol. 1, 100–01.
  125. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 1, 2; Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 1.
  126. ^ Johnson, 211.
  127. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 1, 20.
  128. ^ Duffy, 98–99.
  129. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 1, 152; see also, Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 20–21.
  130. ^ Lewes, 158.
  131. ^ Brontë, 128.
  132. ^ Brontë, 126.
  133. ^ The Memoir was published in December 1869 and dated 1870.
  134. ^ The Memoir was written by Austen-Leigh with the assistance and cooperation of his older sister, Anna, and his younger sister, Caroline, both of whom had known Austen and contributed written reminiscences. Le Faye, "Memoirs and biographies", 52–54; Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 1–2.
  135. ^ Kirkham, 76.
  136. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 58–62.
  137. ^ Southam, "Criticism, 1870–1940", 102–03; see also Watt, 6; Johnson, 211; Trott, 92–94.
  138. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 1, 1.
  139. ^ Honan, "Biographies", 19.
  140. ^ Southam, "Criticism, 1870–1940", 106; Le Faye, "Memoirs and biographies", 55; Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 82. For an updated and revised version of this biography, see Deirdre Le Faye, Jane Austen: A Family Record, 2nd ed., (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 2003.
  141. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 34, 45; Trott, 92–93.
  142. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 13–14.
  143. ^ Qtd. in Watt, 7–8; see also Southam, "Janeites and Anti-Janeites", 240.
  144. ^ Qtd. in Watt, 5–6.
  145. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 17.
  146. ^ Qtd. in Southam, "Criticism, 1870–1940", 102–03.
  147. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 49–50.
  148. ^ a b Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 52.
  149. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 74.
  150. ^ Twain, 232.
  151. ^ Trott, 94; Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 46; Johnson, 213.
  152. ^ Qtd. in Watt, 7.
  153. ^ Qtd. in Southam, "Criticism, 1870–1940", 103.
  154. ^ Qtd. in Watt, 7–8; see also Southam, "Janeites and Anti-Janeites", 240.
  155. ^ Brian Southam, quoted in Trott, 92; see also, Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 79.
  156. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 79; see also Watt, 10; Trott, 93.
  157. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 79.
  158. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 99–100; see also Watt, 10–11; Gilson, 149–50; Johnson, 218.
  159. ^ a b Litz, "Criticism, 1939–1983", 112; Stovel, 233.
  160. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 129–31.
  161. ^ Johnson, 219; Todd. 20.
  162. ^ a b H. Bloom. Genius. Chapter dedicated to Jane Austen. Warner Press. 2002.
  163. ^ Honan, Jane Austen, 289–290.
  164. ^ Fergus, 18–19; Honan, Jane Austen, 287–289, 316–317, 372–373; Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 1, 1.
  165. ^ Waldron, 83–91.
  166. ^ Southam, "Scott in the Quarterly Review", Vol. 1, 58; Waldron, "Critical Responses, Early", Jane Austen in Context, 86; Duffy, "Criticism, 1814–1870", The Jane Austen Companion, 94–96.
  167. ^ McClay, David. "A rogue, of course, but a civil one": John Murray and the publication of Jane Austen." Jane Austen Society of the UK, Annual General Meeting 2014.
  168. ^ Waldron, "Critical Responses, Early", Jane Austen in Context, 89–90; Duffy, "Criticism, 1814–1870", The Jane Austen Companion, 97; Watt, "Introduction", 4–5.
  169. ^ Duffy, "Criticism, 1814–1870", The Jane Austen Companion, 98–99; MacDonagh, 146; Watt, "Introduction", 3–4.
  170. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 1, 2; Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 1.
  171. ^ Johnson, "Austen cults and cultures", The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, 211; Gilson, "Later publishing history, with illustrations," p. 127.
  172. ^ David Gilson, "Later publishing history, with illustrations", Jane Austen in Context, 127.
  173. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 1, 152; Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 20–21.
  174. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 70.
  175. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 58–62.
  176. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 47.
  177. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 46; Johnson, "Austen cults and cultures", The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, 213.
  178. ^ Southam, "Henry James on Jane Austen", Vol. 2, 230.
  179. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 1, 1.
  180. ^ Brian Southam, quoted in Trott, "Critical Responses, 1830–1970", 92; Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 79.
  181. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 79.
  182. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 99–100; see also Watt, "Introduction", 10–11; Gilson, "Later Publishing History, with Illustrations", 149–50; Johnson, "Austen cults and cultures", 218.
  183. ^ Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 107–109, 124.
  184. ^ Southam, "Criticism 1870–1940", 108; Watt, "Introduction", 10–11; Stovel, "Further Reading", 233; Southam, "Introduction", Vol. 2, 127; Todd, 20.
  185. ^ Johnson, "Austen cults and cultures", 219; Todd, 20.
  186. ^ Lynch, "Sequels", Jane Austen in Context, 160.
  187. ^ Lynch, "Sequels", Jane Austen in Context, 160–162.
  188. ^ Brownstein, 13.
  189. ^ Troost, "The Nineteenth-Century Novel on Film", 79.
  190. ^ Troost, "The Nineteenth-Century Novel on Film", 82–84.
  191. ^ "The Nominees: Keira Knightley". CBS News. 15 February 2006. Retrieved 20 October 2008. 
  192. ^ "Bevan Proud for Knightley After BAFTA Snub". IMDb (WENN). 11 February 2006. Retrieved 20 October 2008. 
  193. ^ Day, Julia (10 November 2005). "ITV falls in love with Jane Austen". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  194. ^ a b Glendinning, Lee (16 February 2007). "New generation of teenagers prepare to be seduced with rebirth of Austen". The Independent (Independent Print Limited). Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  195. ^ Duralde, Alonso (January 24, 2016). "'Love & Friendship' Sundance Review: Whit Stillman Does Jane Austen - But Hasn't He Always?". TheWrap. Retrieved January 25, 2016. 
  196. ^ The full title of this short play is Sir Charles Grandison or The happy Man, a Comedy in 6 acts. For more information see Southam, "Grandison", The Jane Austen Companion, 187–189.
  197. ^ The original letter is in the National Library of Australia
  198. ^ This list of the juvenilia is taken from The Works of Jane Austen. Vol VI. 1954. Ed. R. W. Chapman and B. C. Southam. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988, as supplemented by additional research reflected in Margaret Anne Doody and Douglas Murray, eds. Catharine and Other Writings Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.
  199. ^ Kirkham, "Portraits", Jane Austen in Context, 69–72.
  200. ^ Sutherland, "Chronology of Composition and Publication", Jane Austen in Context, 13.
  201. ^ MacDonagh, 65, 136–137.
  202. ^ Fergus, "The Professional Woman Writer", 15–17; Raven, "Book Production", in Jane Austen in Context, 198; Honan, 285–286.
  203. ^ For more information and a discussion of the economics of book publishing during this period, see Fergus, "The Professional Woman Writer", 18, and Raven, "Book Production", 196–203.
  204. ^ passage online; Le Faye, Jane Austen's Letters, 207–208.
  205. ^ Honan, 364–365; Le Faye, Jane Austen's Letters, 291
  206. ^ Tomalin, Appendix I, 283–284; see also Upfal, A. (2005). "Jane Austen's lifelong health problems and final illness: New evidence points to a fatal Hodgkin's disease and excludes the widely accepted Addison's" (Registration required). Medical Humanities 31 (1): 3. doi:10.1136/jmh.2004.000193. 
  207. ^ Tomalin, 255.
  208. ^ Honan, 317.


Primary works

Secondary works


Essay collections

  • A Jane Austen Devotional. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2011. ISBN 978-1-4003-1953-4.
  • A Truth Universally Acknowledged: 33 Great Writers on Why We Read Jane Austen. Random House Publishers. 2009. 320 pages. Edited by Susannah Carson. ISBN 1-4000-6805-3.
  • Alexander, Christine and Juliet McMaster, eds. The Child Writer from Austen to Woolf. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-521-81293-3.
  • Copeland, Edward and Juliet McMaster, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. ISBN 0-521-49867-8.
  • Elizabeth Bennett: Major Literary Characters, Chelsea House Publications; 2004. ISBN 0-7910-7672-5.
  • Emma: Modern Critical Views, 142 pages, Chelsea House Publications; New edition (2010). ISBN 1-60413-816-5.
  • Grey, J. David, ed. The Jane Austen Companion. New York: Macmillan, 1986. ISBN 0-02-545540-0.
  • Jane Austen: Modern Critical Views, 315 pages, Chelsea House Publications; New edition (February 1, 2009).
  • Lynch, Deidre, ed. Janeites: Austen's Disciples and Devotees. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-691-05005-8.
  • Mansfield Park: Modern Critical Views, Chelsea House Publications. Hardback edition (1986). ISBN 0-87754-944-3.
  • Pride and Prejudice: Modern Critical Views, Chelsea House Publications; New edition (2007). ISBN 0-7910-9437-5.
  • Persuasion: Modern Critical Views, Chelsea House Publications; Hardback edition (2004). ISBN 0-7910-7585-0.
  • Southam, B. C., ed. Jane Austen: The Critical Heritage, 1812–1870. Vol. 1. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1968. ISBN 0-7100-2942-X.
  • Southam, B. C., ed. Jane Austen: The Critical Heritage, 1870–1940. Vol. 2. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1987. ISBN 0-7102-0189-3.
  • Todd, Janet, ed. Jane Austen In Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-521-82644-6.
  • Watt, Ian, ed. Jane Austen: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1963. ISBN 978-0-13-053769-0.

Monographs and articles

  • Armstrong, Nancy. Desire and Domestic Fiction. London: Oxford University Press, 1987. ISBN 0-19-506160-8.
  • Butler, Marilyn. Jane Austen and the War of Ideas. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975. ISBN 0-19-812968-8.
  • Byrne, Paula. Jane Austen and the Theatre. London and New York: Continuum, 2002. ISBN 978-1-84725-047-6.
  • Collins, Irene. Jane Austen and the Clergy. London: The Hambledon Press, 1994. ISBN 1-85285-114-7.
  • Devlin, D. D. Jane Austen and Education. London: Macmillan, 1975. ISBN 0-333-14431-7.
  • Duckworth, Alistair M. The Improvement of the Estate: A Study of Jane Austen's Novels. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1971. ISBN 0-8018-1269-0.
  • Fergus, Jan. Jane Austen and the Didactic Novel. Totowa: Barnes & Noble, 1983. ISBN 0-389-20228-2.
  • Ferguson, Moira. "Mansfield Park, Slavery, Colonialism, and Gender". Oxford Literary Review 13 (1991): 118–139.
  • Fullerton, Susannah. Jane Austen & Crime. Sydney: The Jane Austen Society of Australia, 2005. ISBN 0-9581158-2-6.
  • Fullerton, Susannah. A Dance with Jane Austen. UK: Frances Lincoln, 2012. ISBN 978-0-7112-3245-7.
  • Fullerton, Susannah. Happily Ever After: Celebrating Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. UK: Frances Lincoln, 2013. ISBN 978-0-7112-3374-4.
  • Galperin, William. The Historical Austen. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003. ISBN 0-8122-3687-4.
  • Gay, Penny. Jane Austen and the Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-521-65213-8.
  • Gubar, Susan and Sandra Gilbert. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth Century Literary Imagination. 1979. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984. ISBN 0-300-02596-3.
  • Harding, D. W., "Regulated Hatred: An Aspect of the Work of Jane Austen". Jane Austen: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Ian Watt. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1963.
  • Jenkyns, Richard. A Fine Brush on Ivory: An Appreciation of Jane Austen. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-19-927661-7.
  • Johnson, Claudia L. Jane Austen: Women, Politics and the Novel. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988. ISBN 0-226-40139-1.
  • Kirkham, Margaret. Jane Austen, Feminism and Fiction. Brighton: Harvester, 1983. ISBN 0-7108-0468-7.
  • Koppel, Gene. The Religious Dimension in Jane Austen's Novels. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press, 1988.
  • Kordich, Catherine. How to Write about Jane Austen (How to Write About Literature Series), Chelsea House Publications, Oct 31, 2008. ASIN: B00CZ2GOCO.
  • Kozaczka, Edward. "Queer Temporality, Spatiality, and Memory in Jane Austen's Persuasion" Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal On-Line 30.1 (Winter 2009).
  • Lascelles, Mary. Jane Austen and Her Art. Original publication 1939. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1966.
  • Leavis, F. R. The Great Tradition: George Eliot, Henry James, Joseph Conrad. London: Chatto & Windus, 1960.
  • Litz, A. Walton. Jane Austen: A Study of Her Development. New York: Oxford University Press, 1965.
  • Lynch, Deidre. The Economy of Character. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998. ISBN 0-226-49820-4.
  • MacDonagh, Oliver. Jane Austen: Real and Imagined Worlds. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991. ISBN 0-300-05084-4.
  • Miller, D. A. Jane Austen, or The Secret of Style. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-691-12387-X.
  • Mudrick, Marvin. Jane Austen: Irony as Defense and Discovery. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1952.
  • Page, Norman. The Language of Jane Austen. Oxford: Blackwell, 1972. ISBN 0-631-08280-8.
  • Poovey, Mary. The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer: Ideology as Style in the Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, and Jane Austen. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984. ISBN 0-226-67528-9.
  • Raven, James. The Business of Books: Booksellers and the English Book Trade. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007. ISBN 0-300-12261-6.
  • Said, Edward W. Culture and Imperialism. New York: Vintage Books, 1993. ISBN 0-679-75054-1.
  • Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. "Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl." Critical Inquiry 17.4 (1991): 818-37.
  • Todd, Janet. The Cambridge Introduction to Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. ISBN 0-521-67469-7.
  • Waldron, Mary. Jane Austen and the Fiction of Her Time. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-521-00388-1.
  • Wiltshire, John. Recreating Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-521-00282-6.
  • Wiltshire, John. Jane Austen and the Body: The Picture of Health. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992. ISBN 0-521-41476-8.

External links

Online works


Fan sites and societies