Wikipedia:Peer review/Reception history of Jane Austen/archive1

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Reception history of Jane Austen

This peer review discussion has been closed.
In our efforts to improve Wikipedia's coverage of Jane Austen, Simmaren and I started with a Timeline of Jane Austen. Our second project has been this article, which we have worked on with Maria. We plan to take it to FAC, so please review accordingly! Thanks! Awadewit (talk) 20:48, 13 October 2008 (UTC)


Comments by Markus Poessel[edit]

I'm not an expert on the subject, so my take is that of an interested lay reader.

  • "During her lifetime, Austen's novels brought her little personal fame, because she chose to publish anonymously." - if she published them anonymously, how can they have brought her any personal fame? That was my thought at this point.
  • Well, the publishers and some of the reviewers eventually knew who she was, but the general reading public did not. I think one reason we worded this the way we did was because modern readers are generally unaware that Austen published anonymously. It helps the answer the question "why wasn't Austen famous in her lifetime like she is now?" However, I do see your point - I just don't have a solution yet. :) Awadewit (talk) 15:31, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Just add something to the effect of what you just explained to me? Markus Poessel (talk) 03:49, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Added to the "Background" section: However, novel-writing was a suspect occupation for women in the early nineteenth century because it imperiled their social reputation—it brought them publicity that was viewed as unfeminine. Therefore, Austen, like many other female writers, published anonymously. Awadewit (talk) 23:05, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
  • New lead sentence: During her lifetime, Austen's novels brought her little personal fame; like many women writers, she chose to publish anonymously. Awadewit (talk) 23:05, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
  • "personality—"dear quiet aunt Jane"—and her" - not sure about this, but if there is a comma without the emdash-clause, shouldn't there a comma when that clause is there?
  • "Janeite" should be introduced properly. The fact that it even has an own term is remarkable, and should be remarked upon.
  • Do you mean introduced properly in the lead? Awadewit (talk) 15:31, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Yes. Not a detailed introduction, but something to correspond to the fact that it's not a very common term (and not a very common phenomenon for there to be such a term). Markus Poessel (talk) 03:49, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Janeite actually has a complicated history. I have added two bits to the lead to explain it. Awadewit (talk) 23:24, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Just having read the lead so far, I'm a bit confused by the way it mixes popular fandom and the scholarly reception. The fact that Jane Austen has had both is, again, something that should be remarked upon.
  • Well, the mix is part of the history - the distinction began at a particularly moment in history. The other thing is that there are more like three kinds of reception: popular, critical, and scholarly (or something like that). There were critics in the nineteenth century who were commenting on Austen who were not scholars but were also not adoring fans. It is actually quite difficult to distinguish between all of these different types of reactions to Austen. We could also break the popular reception down into adaptations and fan clubs, etc. :) I've added this to the first paragraph of the lead: they are both the subject of intense scholarly study and the center of a diverse fan culture. Awadewit (talk) 15:31, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
  • "The steadfast support of her family was critical to Austen's development as a professional writer." - sounds cryptic to me. If I don't want to go over to the main Jane Austen article, what am I to make of this? Did they encourage her? Did they allow her to choose this as a career? Did they get her special tutors? I know this is not the place to list the details, but at least some idea of what the steadfast support involved would be great.
  • Some details added: For example, Austen read all of her novels aloud to her family as she was composing them, receiving feedback and encouragement from them; in fact, it was her father who sent out her first publication bid. Awadewit (talk) 16:03, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
  • "They critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the eighteenth century and are part of the transition to nineteenth-century realism" - is "critique" the right word? I would have thought that would involve more explicit reference to and a more systematic dissection of whatever is being critiqued than I would expect here.
  • "Critique" is absolutely the right word - Austen's novels do refer to and dissect the novels of sensibility. Awadewit (talk) 15:31, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Dissect as in: include properly attributed quotes and analyze them? I'd be surprised! That is to say: when I hear "dissect", I think of something more explicit than cleverly writing another novel that shows up these earlier novels or similar (which is how I assume it is - you'll correct me if I'm mistaken). Markus Poessel (talk) 03:49, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Actually, yes. Austen's characters actually do this at times - it is more subtle than you are implying, but it is definitely there. Austen also writes about the genre of the novel itself, for example, in the famous "defense of the novel" section of Northanger Abbey (see here). This word is also a standard word in the field - replacing it would be like replacing "electron". :) Awadewit (talk) 23:30, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm surprised the background section doesn't mention that the novels were written anonymously. Isn't this the place to mention it? Seeing that it is referred to in the lead?
  • More has now been added on this (see above). Awadewit (talk) 23:30, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
  • "Austen's novels quickly became fashionable among opinion-makers" - "opinion-makers" is already a stumbling stone. Who were the opinion-makers back then? Just listing the names, and leaving the reader to guess how society worked back then isn't nearly enough. As late as the second paragraph comes the surprise that, apparently, the press didn't qualify as opinion-making back then.
  • We've had a lot of trouble coming up with a good phrase for these people - "society leaders"? "taste-making aristocrats"? "leaders of fashion"? Thoughts on this? Awadewit (talk) 16:03, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I can see where opinion-makers would be problematic. I'd guess you're talking about a pretty small section of society whose opinion was being made, and an even smaller section of society doing the making. How about being more explicit about what you're talking about - presumably: society ladies, salon events, those aspiring to social status and those who already had it? Markus Poessel (talk) 03:49, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
  • New version: Austen's novels quickly became fashionable among opinion-makers, that is, aristocrats who often dictated fashion and taste. Awadewit (talk) 23:41, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Much better; still in need of a bit of tweaking, though. How about "fashionable contemporary opinion-makers, namely those aristocrats who dictated fashion and taste"? Probably still not optimal. Markus Poessel (talk) 19:07, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Changed to "contemporary opinion-makers, namely those aristocrats who dictated fashion and taste". I don't think there is any need to repeat "fashion". Awadewit (talk) 14:31, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
  • "historical novelist Walter Scott wrote the longest and most thoughtful of these reviews, which was published anonymously in the March 1816 issue" - was anonymity standard back then? Or does it tell us something about the reception? If the work was published anonymously, how did Scott even know he was reviewing the work of a female writer? Same for Mr. Whately - what happened? Did she lift her anonymity at some point?
  • Anonymity was standard, yes. Scott assumed the work was by a female writer because Austen signed her novels (as did many writers, both women and men, btw) "by a lady". Austen's anonymity was lifted after she died - her family published details about her life and her name. However, these kinds of obscure publishing details seemed irrelevant for this article. I could tell you much more about the publishing history of the novels (which could have its own article). The question is what is necessary to include for the reader to understand the general narrative of the reception of Austen's novels. Perhaps we should mention that the family published details about Austen after her death in the "Background" section? Awadewit (talk) 16:03, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
  • By all means, include the lifting of the anonymity. I agree this is not the place for details, but the article should still be written in a way that forestalls all these possible misconceptions. Mentioning the "by a lady" as an aside somewhere might be a good first step. Markus Poessel (talk) 03:49, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Added more information on the publication of Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. Awadewit (talk) 23:52, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
  • "1821–1870: Discriminating readers" - are we sure that she had no discriminating readers before them? Section title sounds a little presumptive.
  • We've had a terrible time coming up with a title for this section. The scholarship emphasizes that this is how these readers viewed themselves. Do you have a better suggestion after reading the section? Awadewit (talk) 16:03, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Difficult. "Not yet famous"? Or 'The "cultured few"', if that's a quotationk, including the quotation marks? Markus Poessel (talk) 03:49, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Changed to "cultured few" - yet another elitist heading. :) Awadewit (talk) 23:58, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
  • "the first version of an Austen novel in Russian" - better "the first Russian translation of an Austen novel"?
  • "As Valérie Cossy and Diego Saglia write in their essay on translations of Austen’s novels, "[i]n Europe Jane Austen was simply one of the many writers whose works satisfied continental readers’ demand for prose fiction." - this is quoted as if to support the preceding discourse on what people thought was and wasn't the English novel, but it sounds instead as if the readers in question just liked a nice read and didn't even care about analysis and categorization at that level.
  • I just removed that sentence - I don't think it adds that much. Awadewit (talk) 16:43, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
  • "Readers of the Memoir were presented with the myth of the amateur novelist who wrote masterpieces:" - the "background" section hasn't really given the reader enough information to see why this is a myth. Presumably she wasn't an amateur? Did she have training that isn't mentioned? If this is necessary to know, it should be included in the "background" section.
  • I've explained a bit more about how she was a professional writer (training doesn't really come in to it). Awadewit (talk) 00:18, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • "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." - or did they make a conscious decision that they would contribute what they knew best, and leave the rest to the scholars? (That is, assuming they weren't scholars themselves?) If yes, this sentence sounds a little uncharitable.
  • The scholarship we have read suggests that they were not leaving the rest up to scholars. They were making a conscious effort to shape the public's view of Austen. Awadewit (talk) 16:43, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
  • In that case, I would write it just like that: they were trying to shape the public's view, and while they moved away from ... they made little effort". It puts this sentence into perspective. Markus Poessel (talk) 03:49, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Well, my statement is actually an inference from the text I have in front of me, so I can't include that information. *sigh* We'll have to stick with what we have. Maybe I'll run across a more explicit statement of these intentions somewhere else. Awadewit (talk) 14:54, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
  • "During the last quarter of the 19th century, the first books of criticism on Austen's works were published. Initiating a "fresh phase in the critical heritage" in which Austen reviewers became critics, Godwin Smith published the Life of Jane Austen in 1890, launching the beginning of "formal criticism"" - I assume that review, critique and criticism are used here with a special meaning? If yes, at least a sentence telling the lay reader why, say, earlier reviews of Austen's work didn't constitute criticism would be welcome.
  • Added: "launching 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" - This kind of material is difficult to source, because it is assumed the readers knows the difference. I'm still looking for more material here. Awadewit (talk) 16:43, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Lead says Austin was "firmly ensconced" by 1940, main text says she became "solidly entrenched" "until the 1930s". While those are not necessarily contradictory, it would be great if you could stick with one date and use it both in the lead and in the main text.
  • Both now read 1940s. Awadewit (talk) 00:25, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • It's a bit confusing to have a 1911 essay in the "1930-2000" section. The text is chronological; either the essay should appear in an earlier section, or this section should be renamed.
  • The article is not entirely chronological, as you will notice. Some 19-teens material is mentioned in the "Janeite" section and some is mentioned in the "Modern scholarship" section. We have also divided the material topically - the material mentioned in the "Modern scholarship" section is a precursor to modern scholarship and its foundation - it makes sense to keep it there, I think. However, it would be a mistake to label a section on Austen modern scholarship "1910-2000" - those dates are not really supported by the sources. It is unfortunate, but true, that history doesn't fall along neat lines. Awadewit (talk) 16:43, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Not sure about the many names. If you want the article to be suitable for a general readership, you should probably tell us why we should listen to, say, Alistair M. Duckworth. The same goes for many other people who, I presume, are scholars, critics, and whatnot, and who are introduced merely by name. Do you think that a brief description (professer at X, well-known expert on Y) would make the text too cumbersome? Why do we have to trust Claudia Johnson without further description, but are told that Deirdre Lynch is an "Austen scholar"?
  • Well, we tried to include their ideas. The point is that they are all known for the same thing - being seminal Austen scholars. Hopefully it is clear, for example, that Claudia Johnson is known for being a feminist scholar because she is in that paragraph. I don't think repeating "Austen scholar" for everyone would be a good idea. The Lynch part is different - that part of the article uses Lynch's scholarship to describe Austen fandom - Lynch is not being described as part of the seminal history of Austen scholarship. I hesitate to list "professor at X" simply because such information would go out of date so quickly and not really add any helpful information to the article. Thoughts on this? Awadewit (talk) 02:10, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Hm. Thinking about this issue once more, that would make this more useful for me personally would be a brief characterization of the different people. "Palestinian literary theorist Edward Said", for instance, instead of just Edward Said. I guess that's what my comment was really about - those people mentioned as if the reader should know them (probably true for those readers closer to the topic than I am), and where it would be helpful to have at least half a sentence of context. Markus Poessel (talk) 19:07, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I'll see what I can do, but I really think this is going to add a lot of repetition into the article. For example, the most important thing about Said is not that he is Palestinian but that he helped develop the idea of "Orientalism" and the theory of postcolonialism, for which he used his Austen argument. The same is true, for example, of Gilbert and Gubar - they are famous for being pioneering feminist literary critics - and, unsurprisingly, they wrote on Austen from a feminist perspective. See what you think when I'm done. Awadewit (talk) 15:01, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
  • No, it's just too ridiculous. I can't do it. The sentences already explain why these scholars are important. Adding anything else is just superfluous. Awadewit (talk) 15:16, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
  • "BBC's 1980 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice adopted many filmic techniques that gave the production a greater visual sophistication." - such as?
  • Let me ask Maria, who kindly researched and wrote this section for us. Awadewit (talk) 02:10, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I added an example of their use of long landscape shots. María (habla conmigo) 12:38, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
  • "Not only did this BBC production spark an explosion in the publication of printed Austen adaptations, but 200,000 video copies of the serial were sold within a year of its airing; 50,000 were sold within the first week alone." - sounds a bit off. If it's a highly successful TV production, surely it's not a surprise that its videos sold well. That's the less surprising element of the two, in my opinion.
  • I think the fact that they sold so quickly is the surprising part. The person who wrote the Pride and Prejudice (1995 TV serial) article also found this fact to be important, so I think it must be. But perhaps we should consult Maria, we wrote this section. Awadewit (talk) 02:10, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
  • The sources make a big deal out of it, which is why I included it; one even says the sales were "staggering". María (habla conmigo) 12:38, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
  • By all means, mention it. But if I hear "not only X, but Y", my implicit assumption is that X is somehow markedly less remarkable than Y. (Special case: X has been explained directly beforehand.) I still don't get why sparking an explosion in the publication of printed Austen adaptations is markedly less remarkable than selling many, many copies. If the two were linked simply with "and" instead, the confusion would not, for me, arise. Markus Poessel (talk) 19:07, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
  • New wording: This BBC production sparked an explosion in the publication of printed Austen adaptations; in addition, 200,000 video copies of the serial were sold within a year of its airing—50,000 were sold within the first week alone. Awadewit (talk) 15:03, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

All the best, Markus Poessel (talk) 22:54, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Comments from Moni3[edit]

  • although they were popular with fashionable people would it be be accurate to say that Austen's novels were fashionable, or commonly read in a certain economic class? Is the class thing what you're going for here or is it more trendsetting avant garde style?
  • The novels were not fashionable in the sense that everyone read them. They novels were read by many aristocrats, yes. I would say this is a Gossip Girl-trendsetting thing rather than an avant-garde sort of thing. :) Awadewit (talk) 02:18, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
  • some to worship her and some to defend her from the adoring masses what was the danger from the adoring masses? I imagine it's like a song that's played too much on the radio that gets so popular no one ever wants to hear it again, but how does that translate into literature? Just a few more words to make that clearer in the lead I think.
  • Well, they didn't have radio in the nineteenth century. :) I'll have to think about this. Awadewit (talk) 02:18, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I have changed "adoring" to "teeming" - does that help? Awadewit (talk) 00:36, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • This is a general question - do you think "enthusiasts" would be a better word than "fandom"? Fandom reminds me of manga and...furries.
  • Fandom is definitely right. There are pilgrimages a la Lord of the Rings. There is fan fiction. :) Awadewit (talk) 02:18, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
  • They critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the eighteenth century and are part of the transition to nineteenth-century realism I think this needs a bit of expansion to describe "novels of sensibility" and why 19th century realism was signficant.
  • I've added in an explanation of how Austen critiqued the novels of sensibility, but I don't think this is the place for a wholesale discussion of the Austen/realism discussion. If you want a taste of it, see User:Simmaren/Sandbox/Jane Austen#Realism. Perhaps when we finish that article, we can add in a better summary here. :) Awadewit (talk) 02:32, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Clarification of who Lady Bessborough was? Similar to how the other readers in the paragraph are explained writing to friends, Bessborough's comments should be put into context. Was it a letter she was writing or an editorial printed in a newspaper?
  • Added "sister to the notorious Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire" (there is a movie, so hopefully people will know who she is). Also added that she was writing a letter to a friend. Awadewit (talk) 02:24, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Since I am unfamiliar with 19th century literary criticism on the whole, how many times were novels usually reviewed, or rather - what may have been a respectable number of times a novel was reviewed? Could few reviews be explained because she was a woman novelist? Were there low reviews for her first because she was so new?
  • This is a decent number of reviews. Since most novels were written by women, her novels were not being discriminated against. She was unknown, yes, but remember that most novels wouldn't have been reviewed at all. I'm trying to find a source that explains all of this. No luck yet! I've added a bit on what reviewers did, but nothing that really answers your questions. Awadewit (talk) 02:50, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
  • (i.e., her realism) Could the i.e. be read as OR?
  • It's unclear in my reading - and were it not you I would not be able to tell - that parenthetical statements of examples come from the source or the writer. --Moni3 (talk) 17:08, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I've just added it into the text proper now. Awadewit (talk) 00:42, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Overall, these early reviewers did not know what to make of Austen's novels—they missed her use of irony, for example Is the article taking the position of saying what reviewers got and what they didn't? Do you think it might be safer to provide quotes or compare with aspects of Austen's novels that later reviewers noticed?
  • We're not taking a position - we are reporting what scholars say the reviewers got and didn't get. I'm worried about providing more quotations - we've already cut a substantial number out and I worry about quotation overload. Awadewit (talk) 02:35, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
  • vivacious conversations between Elizabeth and Darcy were replaced by decorous ones Can an example be provided to illustrate the difference?
  • In French? I don't know how helpful that would really be. Awadewit (talk) 02:18, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
  • To Americans famous for their literary economy (growing up judging other writers by the standards of Steinbeck and Hemingway), many British novels are considered decorous in themselves. I was curious about what further decoration the French added to Austen's prose. It's not a deal breaker, but a suggestion. --Moni3 (talk) 17:08, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Added a quotation. Awadewit (talk) 00:50, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Since you mention the Second World War as a timeframe in which reviews had a marked change, is there any analysis on how world events impacted how her books were seen?
  • Absolutely - see "Jane Austen and War" by Claudia Johnson. However, this is not the most significant strain in Austen reception history. We couldn't include everything. :) Awadewit (talk) 02:18, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Understood. --Moni3 (talk) 17:08, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I found the article engaging and compelling for people who have a great familiarity with Austen and those who do not. I read it as an evolution as criticism itself as much as it is the evolution of opinion towards Austen's works. I think I want to read it again over the next few days to see if I have anything else to say about it. --Moni3 (talk) 03:10, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

Comments from Scartol

What an enjoyable article! More than once I found myself reading sections repeatedly, since I got lost in the story being told and not watching for copyedit/review elements. Well done. (It almost makes me feel guilty that I'm not really into Austen. Almost.)

Here are some piddling comments that may or may not help make things better:

  • "wild popularity" feels a little coarse. How about "global popularity"?
  • Right, but then we'd have to find a source that specifically says that. They don't. :) Awadewit (talk) 14:55, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Fair enough. Scartol • Tok 19:51, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • ...they were popular with fashionable people. This feels really odd. How about something like: "They were considered fashionable by members of high society" or some such?
  • Changed (describing this entire phenomenon has been a nightmare!). Awadewit (talk) 14:55, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Yeah, I can imagine. Scartol • Tok 19:51, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm sure this is made clear later in the article, but should "cults" be put in quote marks to indicate that the Janeite groups are not actually religious?
  • Not all cults are religious. See cult (because Wikipedia is so reliable!) Awadewit (talk) 14:55, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
  • This is now gone anyway, in a rewrite. Interestingly, though, one of the primary sources I was looking at uses it. Lol. Awadewit (talk) 01:00, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Early in the twentieth century, scholars produced a carefully edited collection of her works—the first for any British novelist. Really? There was never a definitive collection of Dickens? Because I'm so skeptical, I wonder if a citation wouldn't be useful here.
  • I know! It's amazing--and very cool. Citation added. Awadewit (talk) 14:55, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Weird. Thanks for the cite. Scartol • Tok 19:51, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • ...in the first half of the mid-twentieth century... Wordy; how about "in the middle of the twentieth century"?
  • I don't know why "mid" is even there - it should say "in the first half of twentieth century". Awadewit (talk) 14:55, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Well allright then. Scartol • Tok 19:51, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Austen fandom supports an industry... The switch from past to present is a little jarring. How about: "In the twenty-first century, Austen fandom supports..."?
  • Added some more time markers and reworded. Awadewit (talk) 14:55, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
  • From 1811 until 1815, with the release of... Since we get years for each book published, do we really need the year range at the start of the sentence?
  • Removed superfluous dates. Awadewit (talk) 14:55, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
  • He also affirmed the seriousness and legitimacy of the novel as a genre, arguing that imaginative literature, especially narrative, was more valuable than history or biography. It's not clear how this related to Austen. Perhaps the next sentence should read (if it's true): "When it was properly done, as in Austen, Whately said..."
  • Added suggested phrase. Awadewit (talk) 01:00, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • ...vivacious conversations between Elizabeth and Darcy were replaced by decorous ones. Any chance we could get an example of the original and the altered version (with English re-translation)?
  • Now two people want it! :) I didn't think the French would be very valuable, but I'll look. Awadewit (talk) 14:55, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Added - could you provide a translation? Mine is a bit, um, inelegant. :) Awadewit (talk) 00:50, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I shall. But is: arler avec effet supposed to be "parler"? (And I'm not too happy with "excite" for "aiguisez", but I'm not sure what else to use.) Scartol • Tok 19:51, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Fixed. (I know - I'm not sure, either.) Awadewit (talk) 15:19, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
  • WOOOO Balzac! Yeah, baby! You can't just blame the translations for that, y'know – it's a known fact that he was a better writer. =)
  • He was clearly a hack. Awadewit (talk) 01:00, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • hey HEY! Them's fightin' words. On the other hand, he was sometimes a hack. Certainly before signing his real name he was. =) Scartol • Tok 19:51, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Was James Edward Austen-Leigh related to Jane Austen (as seems likely from the name)? Could we mention this at the start of "Family biographies"?
  • Among the most astute of these critics... This feels like POV or OR. Can we find an alternative to "astute"? Same with: While there were glimmers of brilliant Austen scholarship early in the twentieth century...
  • The scholarship actually makes these assessments. Awadewit (talk) 14:55, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Okay.. I'm still a little nervous and would prefer something like "considered the most astute" or some such.. But I'll let you be the judge. Scartol • Tok 19:51, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • In Jane Austen and the War of Ideas (1975), perhaps the most important of these works, Marilyn Butler argued that... Shouldn't this be present tense? I've changed this and other past-tense instances, but if I've erred, feel free to revert them.
  • Good catch - this is a huge fault of mine, apparently. Awadewit (talk) 14:55, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I think I'm hyper-sensitive to tense transitions. Someday I'll bore you with my idea for a quantum tense. =) Scartol • Tok 19:51, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • It's clearly in the caption, but shouldn't there be a reference to the Jane Austen Centre in the text?
  • Not necessarily - I'm not really sure what we would say about it. Awadewit (talk) 01:00, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Fair enough. Scartol • Tok 19:51, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Why is "traditional telefilm Persuasion" all linked for the movie?
  • To make it clear we are not linking to the novel. Awadewit (talk) 14:55, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Okay, I see. Scartol • Tok 19:51, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Its smart departures from the novel as well as its sensual costuming, fast-paced editing, and original yet appropriate dialogue were central to the serial's appeal. This feels POV or OR; could we put in terms of: "Critics praised its..."?
  • I'd really like to see another sentence about the Bollywood movie. Surely there's something to be added about how they adapted that one!
  • It's actually a really goofy movie, and one that I had a good time watching in England with a bunch of Austen-purists. :) I've tried to make its present-day-India-song-and-dance updates clearer by adding: "The Bollywood production Bride and Prejudice, which sets Austen's story in present day India while including original musical numbers, premiered in 2004." María (habla conmigo) 12:38, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Nice. Scartol • Tok 19:51, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Starring Keira Knightley, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet, Joe Wright's film marked the first feature adaptation of the novel since 1940. Didn't the previous sentence say there was a Bollywood version in 2004? Did that one not count as a feature adaptation?
  • In the same way that Bridget Jones doesn't count as a true feature adaptation; the Bollywood film was only inspired by P&P, while Joe Wright's film was meant as a faithful adaptation. María (habla conmigo) 12:38, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Hmm. Perhaps this distinction needs to be made more clearly in the text, then? From the name and the current description (as well as the description on the movie's page, which says it's "a Bollywood-style adaptation of Pride and Prejudice") make it sound like a more or less faithful version. Scartol • Tok 19:51, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • clarified: marked the first feature adaptation which aspired to be faithful to the novel since 1940. Awadewit (talk) 15:19, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Good luck with this. It was a pleasure to work on! Scartol • Tok 18:09, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Comment from Brianboulton

I've not yet had time to look closely at the text, but I noticed that, in the "Adaptations" section, the impression is given that BBC TV adaptations of Austin began in the 1970s. In fact, at least four BBC dramatisations of Pride and Prejudice preceded the 1970s, the first as early as 1938. Others followed in 1952, 1958 and 1976. Cast lists and other information can be found on the IMDb data base. There was also, I believe, a London theatre adaptation, in about 1906, but I would have to search for details of this. I will take a closer look at the article as soon as possible. Brianboulton (talk) 00:37, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

Quite right, Brian, I'm kicking myself now. What I think I was trying to get across was that the BBC adaptations beginning in the seventies attempted to be more faithful, but things got turned around and that context was lost. It now reads: "In direct opposition to the Hollywood adaptations of Austen's novels, BBC dramatisations from the 1970s onward attempted to..." I looked in the sources for some critical insight into earlier BBC adaptations, but haven't found anything of note aside from the fact that they existed. I also haven't seen any info on a 1906 play, but I do know that in 1936 Groucho Marx saw P&P on the stage, which spurred him to suggest the first Hollywood adaptation. Is this too tangenital to mention? María (habla conmigo) 12:38, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
That's interesting - let's mention that. Awadewit (talk) 16:21, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, it was Harpo, not Groucho; and 1935, not 1936. At least I got the general idea! Added for interest's sake. :) María (habla conmigo) 12:36, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

A bit more from Brian: Sorry to have been so long, but I've been drowning in the waters of the Rhine. The overall standard of this article leaves little or nothing to be desired, but the following points may be helpful:-

  • Background
    • There are two "thems" in this sentemce, with different objects: "Austen read all of her novels aloud to her family as she was composing them, receiving feedback and encouragement from them". Some slight rewording advisable.
      • I just deleted the second "them" - it was unnecessary anyway. Awadewit (talk) 15:30, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
    • Why "thirty-five" not 35? To me, the written-out number looks awkward. Similarly, why "twenty-first" century (you use "19th century" form later in the article)?
      • Ah! I thought we had fixed this. Fixed - all centuries now spelled out and changed to "35". Awadewit (talk) 15:30, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
    • "Austen's works are noted for..." etc. No quibbles with this sentence, just wonder whether the word "humour", which is implied by many of the characteristics mentioned, could be used? Humour is, in my mind, her supreme quality.
      • I guess we used the more specific "burlesque" instead - "humour" is a bit vague, but "burlesque" is a type of humour. Is that ok? Awadewit (talk) 15:30, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
        • It's fine - I was only expressing a thought. Brianboulton (talk) 22:59, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
  • 1812–21: Last sentence reads: "No more serious Austen criticism was published until the late 19th century". I'm unsure as to the precise meaning of this. In the next section you have Lewes publishing essays about Austen in the 1840s and 1850s, with Charlotte Brontë (d. 1855) chiming in, so it looks as though there was discussion in the mid-century. Does not this count as "serious", or "criticsm"? I suppose one way of accommodating this would be to change "No more" to "Very little".
  • Changed to "no more serious, original criticism". Awadewit (talk) 15:38, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
  • 19th century European translations: In the French quote you have "...pour arler avec effet". Surely, parler not arler?
  • Family biographies: William and Richard cannot be "descendents of Austen". They may be descendents of Jane's family, however.
  • Criticism
    • The following sentence is overlong and over-complex: "Initiating a 'fresh phase in the critical heritage', in which Austen reviewers became critics, Godwin Smith published the Life of Jane Austen in 1890, launching the beginning of 'formal criticism', that is, a focus on Austin as a writer and an analysis of the techniques that made her writing unique." I'd say there are at least two, maybe three, sentences here. At the very least I'd try: "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 Austin as a writer and an analysis of the techniques that made her writing unique."
    • Can you check that the use of ellipses in the Simpson quote is correct? I thought that if you, rathr than the source, omitted word from a quote you had to use "...her judgement [...] not by direct..." I am probably wrong.
      • Not according to WP:ELLIPSES. Awadewit (talk) 15:38, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
        • Like I say, what do I know? I remember getting told off by Maralia for ellipsis violation some while back, and it's made me watchful. Brianboulton (talk) 22:59, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
    • "well-known is used as a description twice in the same line. Could Oliphant be "prominent"?
    • Not sure that much can be done with the quote marks within quote marks in the Oliphant quotation, but I found this layout a bit distracting.
      • It is a set of quotes we found helpful and concise, so I'm afraid not much can be done. Awadewit (talk) 15:38, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

I have to leave this for now, though I will try to come back. If you are looking to close the review, don't wait for me, I'll pick up at FAC with some supportive comments there. I love these articles. Brianboulton (talk) 17:29, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

  • Thanks! Your help is appreciated! Awadewit (talk) 15:38, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Quick note, I disagree that the Jane Austen Centre does not need to be mentioned in the text. Making the claim that Janeites make a pilgrimage there is huge and loaded. If you'd rather not add it to the prose because it's not relevant to the article on reception history, I'd remove the image entirely. It ends up being the visual version of a non-sequitur, don't you think? --Midnightdreary (talk) 13:42, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

  • It's not that it is not relevant, I just don't think we need a digression on the Centre specifically in the text. We already describe the kinds of pilgrimages that Janeites make in the text. The Centre is merely one example that we can highlight using an image. I have added a footnote to the caption. Awadewit (talk) 16:36, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
If you don't mind my frankness, I think this is a poor choice. Why is the image there? I can't make the connection between "pilgrimages" to the site and the text in the subsection "Modern Janeites" (I mean, I can, but it takes some extra though process to get there). I don't think it's too much to ask that, right where the article mentions that people travel to Austen's birthplace, adding a quick phrase that says, "One such site where Janeites often visit is the Jane Austen Center". Would these 12 words really digress that much? Otherwise, I would again strongly advocate removing the image. The connection just isn't there in the text. --Midnightdreary (talk) 20:21, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't mind your frankness at all. I'm just not convinced by your argument yet. As I said, the text makes the connection explicit: She compares the practices of religious pilgrims with those of Janeites, who travel to Austen's birthplace or locations associated with her novels and the filmic adaptations of them. - The word "pilgrim" is here, as are Austen-related sites. I would rather that the image add to the section than replicate it. I always find captions and images that add information to the section to be superior to those that simply repeat information already in the text. This image and caption add a detail not in the text, but the text provides the context. I'm really not sure what repeating the information would do. Awadewit (talk) 20:41, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
We're battling opinions, not policy. I'll concede. --Midnightdreary (talk) 21:09, 7 November 2008 (UTC) Okay, one last addendum: the text says specifically "birthplace" and sites related to her novels or film adaptations. Which one is the Jane Austen Centre? There is room for confusion; that's all I'm saying. And I'd also suggest that any image automatically adds to an article just by its nature as prose never gives the kind of visual that an image can. --Midnightdreary (talk) 21:12, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
The sentence now reads: She compares the practices of religious pilgrims with those of Janeites, who travel to places associated with Austen's life, her novels and the filmic adaptations. Awadewit (talk) 19:56, 11 November 2008 (UTC)