Edited and with an introduction by Jack Lynch, Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University, this volume brings together a variety of essays discussing Austen and her work.
By all accounts, Jane Austen seems to have lived a quiet, circumscribed life. The daughter of a Hampshire clergyman, she never married and rarely ventured outside the close-knit circle of her family and friends. But while her life may have been uneventful, her novels reveal a keen wit, an acute eye for social foibles, and a masterful prose style. Never out of print, her six novels have attracted a legion of enthusiastic fans and spawned multiple unofficial sequels and prequels as well as television and film adaptations.
This title is divided into four sections:
1. Career, Life, and Influence
Original essays offer readers an introduction to Austen by explicating the culture and time period during which Austen wrote her classic novels and the long history of Austen criticism.
2. Critical Contexts
Austen's critical contexts are considered through a series of wide ranging overviews of her life and works.
3. Critical Readings
This main section of the book provides a sample of critical close readings from a number of schools of thought. Each essay is 2,500-5,000 words in length, and all essays conclude with a list of "works Cited" along with endnotes. Essays are reprinted here to deepen readers' understanding of Austen and strengthen their engagement with the critical concerns surrounding her and her work.
The volume's appendices offer a section of useful reference resources:
- A chronology of the author's life
- A complete list of the author's works and their original dates of publication
- A general bibliography
- A detailed paragraph on the volume's editor
- Notes on the individual chapter authors
- A subject index
- Bernard Paris, Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida
- Susan Morgan, Professor of English at Miami University of Ohio
- Jill Heydt-Stevenson, Associate Professor of English and Humanities at the University of Colorado
- and more.