In Jane Austen's Cults and Cultures, Claudia L. Johnson shows how Jane Austen became "Jane Austen," a figure intensely-sometimes even wildly-venerated, and often for markedly different reasons. Johnson begins by exploring the most important monuments and portraits of Austen, then passes through the four critical phases of Austen's reception - the Victorian era, the First and Second World Wars, and the establishment of the Austen House and Museum in 1949 - and ponders what the adoration of Austen has meant to readers over the past two centuries. By respecting the intelligence of past commentary about Austen, Johnson shows, we are able to revisit her work and unearth fresh insights and new critical possibilities.
Claudia L. Johnson is the Murray Professor of English Literature at Princeton University. She is the author or editor of several books, including Jane Austen: Women, Politics, and the Novel and Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender, and Sentimentality in the 1790s, both published by the University of Chicago Press.