A Companion to Jane Austen by Claudia L. Johnson, Clara Tuite

By Claudia L. Johnson, Clara Tuite

Reflecting the dynamic and expansive nature of Austen reviews, A spouse to Jane Austen presents forty two essays from a extraordinary group of literary students that learn the whole breadth of the English novelist's works and occupation.

  • Provides the main accomplished and updated array of Austen scholarship
  • Functions either as a scholarly reference and as a survey of the main cutting edge speculative advancements within the box of Austen experiences
  • Engages at size with altering contexts and cultures of reception from the 19th to the twenty-first centuries

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From the beginning the public voice of the Austen family record relied on a private and largely unseen female account. Caroline Austen and Anna Lefroy, James Edward Austen-Leigh’s sister and half-sister, are sources for the most intimate personal details that the biography records. Anna’s memories reached back to the time when Aunt Jane was barely 20, and they are touchingly quirky. Jane Austen found a second self or mirror image in Jane Anna Elizabeth Austen, whose life intersects and annotates her aunt’s in surprising ways.

Has but one fault . . it is that his morning coat is a great deal too light”; “I am very much flattered by your commendation of my last Letter, for I write only for Fame, and without any view to pecuniary Emolument” (Letters: 1–3). This is a kind of writing in which details of personal experience – of sensation and action – are entrusted to a form of language that designedly betrays them, leaving the extent of what is revealed highly problematic and personal investment troublingly hijacked – unless one has the key to decipher them.

There is the suggestive comment made by Caroline Austen, Jane Austen’s niece, who spent extended periods of time with the elderly Cassandra, that Cassandra wanted the younger generation of Austens to remember Aunt Jane, but made sure none of them individually remembered or could reassemble too much: “it must be a difficult task to dig up the materials, so carefully have they been buried out of our sight by the past generat[ion]” (Austen-Leigh 2002: 186–7). It is Caroline who describes how some time in the 1840s Aunt Cassandra “looked over and burnt” the bulk of her correspondence from her sister.

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