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The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, 1st edition (1997)

av Edward Copeland, Juliet McMaster (Redaktör)

Andra författare: Rachel M. Brownstein (Bidragsgivare), John F. Burrows (Bidragsgivare), Edward Copeland (Bidragsgivare), Margaret Anne Doody (Bidragsgivare), Jan Fergus (Bidragsgivare)8 till, Carol Houlihan Flynn (Bidragsgivare), Isobel Grundy (Bidragsgivare), Claudia L. Johnson (Bidragsgivare), Gary Kelly (Bidragsgivare), Deirdre Le Faye (Bidragsgivare), Juliet McMaster (Bidragsgivare), Bruce Stovel (Bidragsgivare), John Wiltshire (Bidragsgivare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
270299,214 (4.14)29
In The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen leading scholars from around the world present Austen's works in two broad contexts: that of her contemporary world, and that of present-day critical discourse. Beside discussions of Austen's novels there are essays on religion, politics, class-consciousness, publishing practices, and domestic economy, which describe the world in which Austen lived and wrote. More traditional issues for literary analysis are then addressed: style in the novels, Austen's letters as literary productions, and the stylistic significance of her juvenile works. The volume concludes with assessments of the history of Austen criticism and the development of Austen as a literary cult-figure; it provides a chronology, and highlights the most interesting studies of Austen in a vast field of contemporary critical diversity.… (mer)
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The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen is a selection of essays on Jane Austen's works in 'the context of her contemporary world, and of present-day critical discourse' according to the back cover. (And is that an Oxford comma on a Cambridge University Press book?)

I haven't read much literary criticism before and I haven't studied literature since my GCSE's at 16 so I don't really feel qualified to do a proper review, instead I'm going to comment on the accessibility of the book and some of the individual essays that I found particularly helpful. As with any book of essays from different contributors, I expect someone else reading the same book would find different essays interesting/helpful so I'm not going to comment on the essays which I didn't find interesting or that went completely over my head.

It's also worth noting that there are two editions of this book. The first edition (which I read) was published in 1997. The second edition was published in 2011 and I think roughly a third of the essays have been removed and replaced with different essays between the two editions. You can use the look inside feature on amazon (on the UK site anyway) to see the titles of the essays. I think the majority of the essays I enjoyed are in both editions (so I may buy the second edition at some point).

Jan Fergus wrote an essay on 'The Professional Woman Writer' which compared the way Austen published her novels and the amounts she received for them with other popular female novelists of the time (mainly Frances Burney and Maria Edgeworth, two authors on my wishlist). She also wrote about how female authors were perceived at the time. I found it very interesting to see how little Austen earned for her novels compared to authors we would consider less well-known now (although they weren't less well-known at the time).

John Wiltshire wrote an essay on 'Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion' focussing on the narrative techniques Austen uses in each novel, in particular, the changing narrative voice in Emma and Mansfield Park which was both not a concept I'd heard of before and not something I'd noticed in my reading of either novel. I felt he supported his arguments well to reach his conclusion that MP was 'a milestone in the English novel' and it made me rethink how I viewed what is often one of Austen's less appreciated novels.

Juliet McMaster (also editor) wrote an essay on 'Class' which I found helpful even though I am fairly familiar with 19th century novels. I hadn't realised that there was a difference between being Lady Bertram and Lady Catherine de Bourgh; the inclusion of the first name shows that the title is one Lady Catherine was born to (i.e. she is the daughter of an earl) and she would retain that title irrespective of the rank/class of whoever she married. Lady Bertram however, only has her title because she married Lord Bertram; if she remarried a commoner after Lord Bertram's death she would become plain, old Mrs Someone. This essay also uses Emma to explain the social orders of the day in more detail by ranking all the characters or Emma in order with an explanation.

Edward Copeland (the other editor) in an essay on 'Money' explains women's rights with regard to money at the time (very few) and an idea of the spending power and social status at various incomes which helps put the £10,000 a year and so on into context for a modern reader.

Margaret Anne Doody wrote an essay on Jane Austen's short fiction as contained in the OUP's Catharine and Other Writings (also commonly referred to as Jane Austen's Juvenilia). I think her theory is that the short fiction should not be viewed as 'chaotic and childish' but rather as a style of writing and a path Austen may have chosen to explore if it hadn't been for the changes in culture and literary expectations during the early 19th century. This was an essay that I enjoyed but didn't feel as if I had completely grasped what Doody was trying to say so I may be wrong but I think she was saying that Austen may have wanted to write novels that were more satirical and subversive (based on the style of her juvenilia) but had to mask this with within the more acceptable and traditional framework of domestic fiction which contained a romance to conform with the more decorous early 19th century.

"In her early fiction, Jane Austen could write with zest and confidence. She had inherited a taste for irony, paradox, and 'sparkle' from the eighteenth century. Her early writing is rough, violent, sexy, joky. It sparkles with knowingness. It attacks whole structures, including cultural structures that had made a regularised and constricted place for the Novel, as well as the very workings (in stylized plot and character) of the English novel itself....

The elements that we find in Jane Austen's early short fiction are what kept her later works from dwindling into comfortable prosy little comedies of upper middle-class courtship, with didactic elements carefully inserted. Yet, to a certain extent and not in trifling ways, Austen had to pretend - in order to get published at all - that her mature novels were such innocuous and didactic things."


The Companion also includes a detailed chronology of Jane Austen's life by Deirdre Le Faye and a chapter with suggestions for further reading. ( )
1 rösta souloftherose | Mar 13, 2012 |
If you own one of those "my other car is a barouche" bumper stickers this book is for you. ( )
1 rösta DameMuriel | Apr 28, 2008 |
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» Lägg till fler författare

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Edward Copelandprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
McMaster, JulietRedaktörhuvudförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Brownstein, Rachel M.Bidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Burrows, John F.Bidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Copeland, EdwardBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Doody, Margaret AnneBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Fergus, JanBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Flynn, Carol HoulihanBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Grundy, IsobelBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Johnson, Claudia L.Bidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Kelly, GaryBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Le Faye, DeirdreBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
McMaster, JulietBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Stovel, BruceBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Wiltshire, JohnBidragsgivaremedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat

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There are two editions of the Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen. The editions contain significantly different essays by different contributors and should therefore not be combined.

This is the first edition (1997), ISBNs 0521498678 and 0521495172.
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In The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen leading scholars from around the world present Austen's works in two broad contexts: that of her contemporary world, and that of present-day critical discourse. Beside discussions of Austen's novels there are essays on religion, politics, class-consciousness, publishing practices, and domestic economy, which describe the world in which Austen lived and wrote. More traditional issues for literary analysis are then addressed: style in the novels, Austen's letters as literary productions, and the stylistic significance of her juvenile works. The volume concludes with assessments of the history of Austen criticism and the development of Austen as a literary cult-figure; it provides a chronology, and highlights the most interesting studies of Austen in a vast field of contemporary critical diversity.

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