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Jane Austen and her Readers, 1786–1945

Jane Austen and her Readers, 1786–1945

By Katie Halsey

Anthem Nineteenth-Century Series

‘Jane Austen and her Readers, 1786–1945’ is a study of the history of reading Jane Austen’s novels, focused on the responses of ordinary readers.

PDF, 298 Pages

ISBN:9781783080816

October 2013

£20.00, $32.00

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  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents

About This Book

‘Jane Austen and her Readers, 1786–1945’ is a study of readers’ interactions with the works of one of England’s most enduringly popular novelists. Employing an innovative approach made possible by new research in the field of the history of reading, the volume discusses Austen’s own ideas about books and readers, the uses she makes of her reading, and the relationship of her style to her readers’ responses. It considers the role of editions and criticism in directing readers’ responses, and presents and analyses a variety of source material related to readers who read Austen’s works between 1786 and 1945.

Previous studies of Austen’s influence on her readers and literary successors have either presupposed a hypothetical reader, or focused on the texts of the critical tradition, ignoring the views, reactions and thoughts of the common reader. This volume discusses the responses of ordinary readers to Austen’s novels, responses that offer insights into both Jane Austen’s particular appeal, and the nature of the act of reading itself.

Reviews

‘Yoking together close reading with considerable methodological exactitude, ‘Jane Austen and her Readers’ presents the history of a complex series of negotiations and re-negotiations that have shaped readers’ engagements with Austen’s novels, as well as the reception of those works. In acknowledging and privileging the diversity of readers’ responses, Halsey builds up a nuanced picture of Austen’s own embedded narrative strategies, as well as those of her readers.’ —Dr Shafquat Towheed, The Open University


‘Beautifully written and drawing on a wealth of new manuscript and print resources, Katie Halsey places Austen’s nuanced comedy at the heart of fierce disputes about the art of the novel and the moral life of the reader in the period 1786–1945. This study is an elegant, authoritative and compelling account of Austen’s role in the history of the book.’ —Dr Jane Stabler, University of St Andrews

Author Information

Katie Halsey is a lecturer in eighteenth-century literature at the University of Stirling, Scotland.

Series

Anthem Nineteenth-Century Series

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; PART ONE; Introduction; 1. Jane Austen’s Reading in Context; 2. Jane Austen’s Negotiations with Reading; 3. Jane Austen’s Games of Ingenuity; PART TWO; Introduction; 4. Austen’s Readers: Contexts I; 5. Austen’s Readers: Contexts II; 6. Austen’s Readers I: Affection and Appropriation; 7. Austen’s Readers II: Opposition and Resistance; 8. Austen’s Readers III: Friendship and Criticism; 9. Austen’s Readers IV: Sociability and Devotion; Conclusion; Notes; Bibliography; Index

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