This title includes in-depth critical discussions of her life and works. By all accounts, Jane Austen seems to have lived a quiet, circumscribed life. The daughter of a Hampshire clergyman, she never married and rarely ventured outside the close-knit circle of her family and friends. But while her life may have been uneventful, her novels reveal a keen wit, an acute eye for social foibles, and a masterful prose style. Never out of print, her six novels have attracted a legion of enthusiastic fans and spawned multiple unofficial sequels and prequels as well as television and film adaptations. Edited and with an introduction by Jack Lynch, Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University, this volume brings together a variety of essays discussing Austen and her work. Original essays offer readers an introduction to Austen by explicating the culture and time period during which Austen wrote her classic novels and the long history of Austen criticism as well as by offering close readings of two of her novels, "Pride and Prejudice" and "Persuasion".
Nine other essays are reprinted here to deepen readers' understanding of Austen and strengthen their engagement with the critical concerns surrounding her and her work. These essays examine Austen's artistry and aesthetics; discuss her relationship with 18th century authors like Samuel Richardson, Fanny Burney, and Eliza Haywood; illuminate her treatment of gender, courtship, and sex; investigate her portrayals of the English class system; and, reveal her engagement with prominent religious and philosophical questions of the early 19th century. Uniquely, the volume also contains an original essay by "Paris Review" contributor Radhika Jones, who discusses Austen's enduring appeal and her influence on modern novel genres. Finally, a chronology of Austen's life, a thorough list of her published works, and an extensive bibliography of critical offerings provide a wealth of resources for readers desiring to study Austen in greater depth.
Contributors include Bernard Paris, Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida and the author of numerous studies of 19th century literature; Susan Morgan, Professor of English at Miami University of Ohio and author of "In the Meantime: Character and Perception in Jane Austen's Fiction" (1980); Jill Heydt-Stevenson, Associate Professor of English and Humanities at the University of Colorado and author of "Austen's Unbecoming Conjunctions: Subversive Laughter, Embodied History" (2005); and William Deresiewicz, a former Associate Professor of English at Yale University, a contributor to "The American Scholar", "The Nation", and "The New York Times", and author of "Jane Austen and the Romantic Poets" (2004). Each essay is 5,000 words in length, and all essays conclude with a list of 'Works Cited', along with endnotes.