By Paul Poplawski
Perhaps the first modern novelist, Jane Austen (1775-1817) has left an indelible mark on the world of letters. She is best known as the author of penetrating studies of domestic life and manners, and her novels such as Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), and Mansfield Park (1814) continue to be read and appreciated today. Yet Austen also wrote numerous other pieces and a substantial body of letters. While her novels have received large amounts of critical attention, scholars have also increasingly studied her other writings, and Austen scholarship continues to grow each year. This reference book is an accurate, comprehensive, and detailed guide to her life and career.
A chronology outlines the principal events in her life and places her within larger literary and historical contexts. The several hundred alphabetically arranged entries that follow identify characters and family members, discuss works and themes, and synthesize the large body of criticism that has grown around her works. Every one of her texts, including all of her minor writings, has a separate entry, as have most of her fictional characters. Entries for individual works typically provide details of composition and publication, a plot summary and critical commentary, a list of characters, and bibliographical references. The volume closes with an extensive bibliography of works by and about her.
- Westport, CT