By Claudia L. Johnson, Clara Tuite
Reflecting the dynamic and expansive nature of Austen stories, A spouse to Jane Austen offers forty two essays from a exotic workforce of literary students that learn the entire 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 leading edge speculative advancements within the box of Austen stories
- Engages at size with altering contexts and cultures of reception from the 19th to the twenty-first centuries
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Additional info for A Companion to Jane Austen
But we are not therefore right to dismiss what it is used to illustrate: the originality of her achievement. I take this originality, this perfection of style, to be her accomplished minimalism: what Miller calls her “curious self-fashioning into the selfless medium of Style” (Miller 2003: 106). For the early family biographers the style and look of the letters provided a code that legitimated as it moderated, and allowed them to feel comfortable with, Austen’s literary genius. In the family, the letters functioned as a cover, literally, for novel writing (AustenLeigh 2002: 173).
By contrast, it seems impossible to doubt the intensity of the bond with Cassandra. Yet it is equally impossible to consider their relationship in terms other than those of interdependence or conjoined polarity; a fusion which creates a sense of their complementarity or mutual completion rather than bringing into focus their individual aspects. Again, it is a highly defensive biographical strategy. Austen-Leigh established the terms for all subsequent investigation when he presented the sisters thus: They were not exactly alike.
As Austen put it to Cassandra from Godmersham on June 30, 1808, “. . it is pleasant to be among people who know one’s connections & care about them” (Letters: 137–8). After 1805, the financial assistance of the prosperous, landowning Edward Austen (he took the name of Knight officially in 1812) became indispensable to the domestic well-being of the Austen women. When in 1884 Lord Brabourne, Fanny’s son and Jane Austen’s great-nephew, published his mother’s collection of letters, he did not fail to make the case that they offered a counterimage to that provided by James Edward Austen-Leigh in his Memoir of Jane Austen (1870), the first proper biography.
A Companion to Jane Austen by Claudia L. Johnson, Clara Tuite