In this major study, leading Austen scholar John Wiltshire offers new interpretations of Jane Austen's six novels, Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1816), Northanger Abbey and Persuasion (1818). Much recent criticism of Austen has concentrated on the social, historical and intellectual context of her work, but Wiltshire turns attention back to Austen's prose techniques. Arguing that each of Austen's works has its own distinct focus and underlying agenda, he shows how Austen's interest in psychology, and especially her treatment of attention and the various forms of memory, helped shape her narratives. Through a series of compelling close readings of key passages in each novel, Wiltshire underscores Austen's unique ability to penetrate the hidden inner motives and impulses of her characters, and reveals some of the secrets of her narrative art.
John Wiltshire is Adjunct Professor at La Trobe University, Melbourne. He is author of Jane Austen and The Body: 'The Picture of Health' (Cambridge University Press, 1992) and Recreating Jane Austen (Cambridge University Press, 2001), and editor of Mansfield Park (Cambridge University Press, 2005) in The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen.
Introduction; 1. Into the open with Catherine Morland; 2. Elinor Dashwood and concealment; 3. Elizabeth's memory and Mr Darcy's smile; 4. The religion of Aunt Norris; 5. The story of Fanny Price; 6. Emma's overhearing; 7. Anne Elliot and the ambient world; Bibliography.