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Engaging the Age of Jane Austen
Public Humanities in Practice
Bridget Draxler and Danielle Spratt
University of Iowa Press, 2018

Humanities scholars, in general, often have a difficult time explaining to others why their work matters, and eighteenth-century literary scholars are certainly no exception. To help remedy this problem, literary scholars Bridget Draxler and Danielle Spratt offer this collection of essays to defend the field’s relevance and demonstrate its ability to help us better understand current events, from the proliferation of media to ongoing social justice battles. 

The result is a book that offers a range of approaches to engaging with undergraduates, non-professionals, and broader publics into an appreciation of eighteenth-century literature. Essays draw on innovative projects ranging from a Jane Austen reading group held at the public library to students working with an archive to digitize an overlooked writer’s novel. 

Reminding us that the eighteenth century was an exhilarating age of lively political culture—marked by the rise of libraries and museums, the explosion of the press, and other platforms for public intellectual debates—Draxler and Spratt provide a book that will not only be useful to eighteenth-century scholars, but can also serve as a model for other periods as well. This book will appeal to librarians, archivists, museum directors, scholars, and others interested in digital humanities in the public life. 

Contributors: Gabriela Almendarez, Jessica Bybee, Nora Chatchoomsai, Gillian Dow, Bridget Draxler, Joan Gillespie, Larisa Good, Elizabeth K. Goodhue, Susan Celia Greenfield, Liz Grumbach, Kellen Hinrichsen, Ellen Jarosz, Hannah Jorgenson, John C. Keller, Naz Keynejad, Stephen Kutay, Chuck Lewis, Nicole Linton, Devoney Looser, Whitney Mannies, Ai Miller, Tiffany Ouellette, Carol Parrish, Paul Schuytema, David Spadafora, Danielle Spratt, Anne McKee Stapleton, Jessica Stewart, Colleen Tripp, Susan Twomey, Nikki JD White, Amy Weldon


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Erotic Faith
Being in Love from Jane Austen to D. H. Lawrence
Robert M. Polhemus
University of Chicago Press, 1990
In this profoundly original and far-reaching study, Robert M. Polhemus shows how novels have helped to make erotic love a matter of faith in modern life. Erotic faith, Polhemus argues, is an emotional conviction—ultimately religious in nature—that meaning, value, hope, and even the possibility of transcendence can be found in love.

Drawing on a wide range of disciplines, Polhemus shows the reciprocity of love as subject, the novel as form, and faith as motive in important works by Jane Austen, Walter Scott, the Brontës, Dickens, George Eliot, Trollope, Thomas Hardy, Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, and Samuel Beckett. Throughout, Polhemus relates the novelists' representation of love to that of such artists as Botticelli, Vermeer, Claude Lorrain, Redon, and Klimt. Juxtaposing their paintings with nineteenth- and twentieth-century texts both reveals the ways in which novels develop and individualize common erotic and religious themes and illustrates how the novel has influenced our perception of all art.

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Fan Phenomena
Jane Austen
Edited by Gabrielle Malcolm
Intellect Books, 2015
Nearly two hundred years after her death, Jane Austen is one of the most widely read and beloved English novelists of any era. Writing and publishing anonymously during her lifetime, the woman responsible for some of the most enduring characters (and couples) of modern romantic literature—including Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, Emma Woodhouse and George Knightley—was credited only as “A Lady” on the title pages of her novels.
It was not until her nephew published a memoir of his “dear Aunt Jane” more than five decades after her death that she became widely known. From then on, her fame only grew, and fans and devotees, so-called Janeites, soon obsessed over and idolized her. Austen soon found an appreciative audience not only of readers but also of academics, whose scholarship legitimated and secured her place in the canon of Western literature. Today, Austen’s work is still assigned in courses, obsessed over by readers young and old, parodied and parroted, and adapted for films.
Were she alive today, Austen might not recognize some of the work her novels have inspired, such as a retelling of Sense and Sensibility featuring sea monsters, Internet fan fiction, or a twelve-foot statue of a wet-shirted Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy depicting a scene that doesn’t even appear in her novel. But like any great art that endures and excites long after it is made, Austen’s novels are inextricable from the culture they have created. Essential reading for Austen’s legions of admirers, Fan Phenomena: Jane Austen collects essays from writers and critics that consider the culture surrounding Austen’s novels.

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From Jane Austen to Joseph Conrad
Robert C. Rathburn and Martin Steinmann Jr., Editors
University of Minnesota Press, 1967

From Jane Austen to Joseph Conrad was first published in 1967. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

David Daisches, Douglas Bush, Robert B. Heilman, Arthur Mizener, and William Van O'Connor are among the contributors to this volume of essays on the nineteenth-century British novel. Each of the selections has been written expressly for this book and is published here for the first time.

There are a total of 20 essays, each by a different contributor. In addition, Rathburn, in an introductory essay, relates the nineteenth-century novel to that of the eighteenth century and Steinmann, in the concluding essay, discusses the nineteenth-century novel in relation to that of the present century.

The contributors, in addition to the two editors of the volume, and the novelists they discuss are the following: Charles Murrah, Jane Austen; Alan D Mckillop, Jane Austen; David Dasches, Walter Scott; Curtis Dahl, Edward Bulwer-Lytton; J. Y T. Greig, William Makepeace Thackeray; Douglas Bush, Charles Dickens; George H. Ford, Dickens; Melvin; R. Watson, the Brontes; Robert B. Heilman, Charlotte Bronte; Yvonne French, Elizabeth Gaskell; Bradford A. Booth, Anthony Trollope; Arthur Mizener, Anthony Trollope; Gordon S. Haight, George Eliot; Sumner J. Ferris, George Eliot; Wayne Burns, Charles Reade; Fabian Gudas, George Meredith; John Holloway, Thomas Hardy; Jacob Korg, George Gissing; William Van O'Connor, Samuel Burlter; W. Y. Tindall, Joseph Conrad. Although each essay is focused on a single novel or on one aspect of the novelist, all of them are written to give the reader sense of the novelist's whole achievement.


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Jane Austen
Tony Tanner
Harvard University Press, 1986

Devoted fans and scholars of Jane Austen—as well as skeptics—will rejoice at Tony Tanner’s superb book on the incomparable novelist. Distilling twenty years of thinking and writing about Austen, Tanner treats in fresh and illuminating ways the questions that have always occupied her most perceptive critics. How can we reconcile the limited social world of her novels with the largeness of her vision? How does she deal with depicting a once-stable society that was changing alarmingly during her lifetime? How does she express and control the sexuality and violence beneath the well-mannered surface of her milieu? How does she resolve the problems of communication among characters pinioned by social reticences?

Tanner guides us through Austen’s novels from relatively sunny early works to the darker, more pessimistic Persuasion and fragmentary Sanditon—a journey that takes her from acceptance of a society maintained by landed property, family, money, and strict propriety through an insistence on the need for authentication of these values to a final skepticism and even rejection. In showing her progress from a parochial optimism to an ability to encompass her whole society, Tanner renews our sense of Jane Austen as one of the great novelists, confirming both her local and abiding relevance.


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Jane Austen
A Companion
Ross, Josephine
Rutgers University Press, 2003
The only best-selling authors in Jane Austen's league in the English language today are Shakespeare and Dickens. In the twenty-first century her boundless appeal continues to grow following the enormously successful television and film adaptations of Mansfield Park, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility.

This illuminating, entertaining, up-to-date companion is the only general guide to Jane Austen, her work, and her world. Josephine Ross explores the literary scene during the time Austen's works first appeared: the books considered classics then, the "horrid novels" and romances, and the grasping publishers. She looks at the architecture and décor of Austen's era that made up "the profusion and elegance of modern taste." Regency houses for instance, Chippendale furniture, and "picturesque scenery." On a smaller scale she answers questions that may baffle modern readers. What, for example, was "hartshorn"? How did Lizzy Bennet "let down" her gown to hide her muddy petticoat? Ross shows us the fashions, and the subtle ways Jane Austen used clothes to express character. Courtship, marriage, adultery, class and "rank," mundane tasks of ordinary life, all appear, as does the wider political and military world.

This book will add depth to all readers' enjoyment of Jane Austen, whether confirmed addicts or newcomers wanting to learn about one of the world's most popular and enduring writers.

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Jane Austen and Comedy
Erin Goss
Bucknell University Press, 2019
Jane Austen and Comedy takes for granted two related notions. First, Jane Austen’s books are funny; they induce laughter, and that laughter is worth attending to for a variety of reasons. Second, Jane Austen’s books are comedies, understandable both through the generic form that ends in marriage after the potential hilarity of romantic adversity and through a more general promise of wish fulfillment. In bringing together Austen and comedy, which are both often dismissed as superfluous or irrelevant to a contemporary world, this collection of essays directs attention to the ways we laugh, the ways that Austen may make us do so, and the ways that our laughter is conditioned by the form in which Austen writes: comedy. Jane Austen and Comedy invites reflection not only on her inclusion of laughter and humor, the comic, jokes, wit, and all the other topics that can so readily be grouped under the broad umbrella that is comedy, but also on the idea or form of comedy itself, and on the way that this form may govern our thinking about many things outside the realm of Austen’s work.  

Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.

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Jane Austen
Illustrated Quotations
Edited by the Bodleian Library
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2017
“Next week I shall begin my operations on my hat, on which you know my principal hopes of happiness depend.”—from a letter to Cassandra, October 27, 1798
“You express so little anxiety about my being murdered under Ash Park Copse by Mrs. Hulbert’s servant, that I have a great mind not to tell you whether I was or not.”—from a letter to Cassandra, January 8, 1799
“Single women have a dreadful propensity for being poor, which is one very strong argument in favour of matrimony.”—from a letter to Fanny Knight, March 13, 1817
Much loved for the romantic plot lines and wryly amusing social commentary that spring from the pages of Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, and her other novels Jane Austen was also a prolific letter writer and penned missives on many subjects. To her sister Cassandra she wrote with candid humor about the effects of the Peninsular War (“How horrible it is to have so many people killed! And what a blessing that one cares for none of them!”), about her dislike of parties and social obligations (“We are to have a tiny party here tonight. I hate tiny parties, they force one into constant exertion.”), and about her impressions of London (“Here I am once more in this scene of dissipation and vice, and I begin to find already my morals corrupted.”). Austen’s characters likewise offer commentary on topics like moral character, gender inequality, ageing, and the disappointments of marriage. In Pride and Prejudice, for example, Charlotte Lucas cautions Elizabeth Bennet, “It is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are about to pass your life.”
Drawing together fifty quotations from Jane Austen’s letters and novels with illustrations that illuminate everyday aspects of life in the Georgian era, this beautifully produced volume will make the perfect gift for Janeites.

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Jane Austen
The Chawton Letters
Edited by Kathryn Sutherland
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2017
The life of Jane Austen has fascinated the millions of readers around the world who cherish her work. A new collection presents an intimate portrait of Austen in her own words, showing the many details of her life that found echoes in her fiction, especially her keen observations of the “little matters”—the routines of reading, dining and taking tea, paying visits to family and friends, and walking to the shops or to send the post.
            Brilliantly edited by Kathryn Sutherland, Jane Austen: The Chawton Letters uses Austen’s letters drawn from the collection held at Jane Austen’s House Museum at her former home in Chawton, Hampshire, to tell her life story. At age twenty-five, Austen left her first home, Steventon, Hampshire, for Bath. In 1809, she moved to Chawton, which was to be her home for the remainder of her short life. In her correspondence, we discover Austen’s relish for her regular visits to the shops and theaters of London, as well as the quieter routines of village life. We learn of her anxieties about the publication of Pride and Prejudice, her care in planning Mansfield Park, and her hilarious negotiations over the publication of Emma.  (To her sister, Cassandra, Austen calls her publisher John Murray, “a Rogue, of course, but a civil one.”) Throughout, the Chawton letters testify to Jane’s close ties with her family, especially her sister, and the most moving letter is written by Cassandra just days after Jane’s death. The collection also reproduces pages from the letters in Austen’s own distinctive hand.
            This collection makes a delightful modern-day keepsake from one of the world’s best-loved writers on the two-hundredth anniversary of her death.

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Jane Austen
Women, Politics, and the Novel
Claudia L. Johnson
University of Chicago Press, 1990
"The best (and the best written) book about Austen that has appeared in the last three decades."—Nina Auerbach, Journal of English and Germanic Philology

"By looking at the ways in which Austen domesticates the gothic in Northanger Abbey, examines the conventions of male inheritance and its negative impact on attempts to define the family as a site of care and generosity in Sense and Sensibility, makes claims for the desirability of 'personal happiness as a liberating moral category' in Pride and Prejudice, validates the rights of female authority in Emma, and stresses the benefits of female independence in Persuasion, Johnson offers an original and persuasive reassessment of Jane Austen's thought."—Kate Fullbrook, Times Higher Education Supplement

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Jane Austen
Writer in the World
Edited by Kathryn Sutherland
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2017
The life of Jane Austen has fascinated the millions of readers around the world who cherish her work. A new collection presents an intimate portrait of Austen through her personal possessions, showing the many details of her life that found echoes in her fiction, especially her keen observations of the “little matters”—the routines of reading, dining and taking tea, paying visits to family and friends, and walking to the shops or to send the post.
Brilliantly edited by Kathryn Sutherland, Jane Austen: Writer in the World offers a life story told through the author's personal possessions. In her teenage notebooks, literary jokes give a glimpse of her family’s shared love of reading and satire, which can be seen in the subtler humor of Austen’s published work. Pieces from Austen’s hand-copied collection of sheet music reveal how music was used to create networks far more intricate than the simple pleasures of home recital. A beautiful brown silk pelisse-coat, together with lively letters between Austen and Cassandra, give insight into her views on fashion. All feature in this lavishly illustrated collection, along with homemade booklets in which she composed her novels, portraits made of Austen during her lifetime, and much more. Also included are objects associated with the era in which Austen lived: newspaper articles, naval logbooks, and contemporary political cartoons, shedding light on Austen’s wider social and political worlds.
This collection makes a delightful modern-day keepsake from one of the world’s best-loved writers on the two-hundredth anniversary of her death.

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The Novel Stage
Narrative Form from the Restoration to Jane Austen
Marcie Frank
Bucknell University Press, 2020

2020 Choice​ Outstanding Academic Title

Marcie Frank’s study traces the migration of tragicomedy, the comedy of manners, and melodrama from the stage to the novel, offering a dramatic new approach to the history of the English novel that examines how the collaboration of genres contributed to the novel’s narrative form and to the modern organization of literature. Drawing on media theory and focusing on the less-examined narrative contributions of such authors as Aphra Behn, Frances Burney, and Elizabeth Inchbald, alongside those of Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, and Jane Austen, The Novel Stage tells the story of the novel as it was shaped by the stage.

Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press. 


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Some Words of Jane Austen
Stuart M. Tave
University of Chicago Press, 2019
Jane Austen’s readers continue to find delight in the justness of her moral and psychological discriminations. But for most readers, her values have been a phenomenon more felt than fully apprehended. In this book, Stuart M. Tave identifies and explains a number of the central concepts across Austen’s novels—examining how words like “odd,” “exertion,” and, of course, “sensibility,” hold the key to understanding the Regency author’s language of moral values. Tracing the force and function of these words from Sense and Sensibility to Persuasion, Tave invites us to consider the peculiar and subtle ways in which word choice informs the conduct, moral standing, and self-awareness of Austen’s remarkable characters.

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The Submerged Plot and the Mother's Pleasure from Jane Austen to Arundhati Roy
Kelly A. Marsh
The Ohio State University Press, 2016
In The Submerged Plot and the Mother’s Pleasure from Jane Austen to Arundhati Roy, Kelly A. Marsh examines the familiar, overt plot of the motherless daughter growing into maturity and argues that it is accompanied by a covert plot. Marsh’s insightful analyses of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Anglophone novels reveal that these novels are far richer and more complexly layered than the overt plot alone suggests. According to Marsh, as the daughter approaches adulthood and marriage, she seeks validation for her pleasure in her mother’s story. However, because the mother’s pleasure is taboo under patriarchy and is therefore unnarratable, the daughter must seek her mother’s story by repeating it. These repetitions alert us to the ways the two plots are intertwined and alter our perception of the narrative progression.
Combining feminist and rhetorical narratological approaches, Marsh’s study offers fresh readings of Persuasion, Jane Eyre, Bleak House, The Woman in White, The House of Mirth, The Last September, The Color Purple, A Thousand Acres, Bastard Out of Carolina, Talking to the Dead, and The God of Small Things. Through these readings, The Submerged Plot and the Mother’s Pleasure explores how the unnarratable can be communicated in fiction and offers a significant contribution to our understanding of narrative progression.

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