Jane Austen

Jane Austen

Two Centuries of Criticism

Laurence W. Mazzeno

Personal eBook

Camden House



A comprehensive look at the academic criticism of Jane Austen from her time down to the present.
Among the most important English novelists, Jane Austen is unusual because she is esteemed not only by academics but by the reading public. Her novels continue to sell well, and films adapted from her works enjoy strong box-office success. The trajectory of Austen criticism is intriguing, especially when one compares it to that of other nineteenth-century English writers. At least partly because she was a woman in the early nineteenth century, she was long neglected by critics, hardly considered a major figure in English literature until well into the twentieth century, a hundred years after her death. But consequently she escaped the reaction against Victorianism that did so much to hurt the reputation of Dickens, Tennyson, Arnold, and others. How she rose to prominence among academic critics - and has retained her position through the constant shifting of academic and critical trends - is a story worth telling, as it suggests not only something about Austen's artistry but also about how changes in critical perspective can radically alter a writer's reputation.

Laurence W. Mazzeno is President Emeritus of Alvernia University, Reading, Pennsylvania.


312 pages
9x6 in
Personal eBook, 9781782047568, May 2011
Hardback, 9781571133946, May 2011
Library eBook
BISAC LIT004020, LIT004120, LIT004290
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Table of Contents

Becoming England's Jane, 1811-1917
Modernist, Humanist, and New CriticalApproaches, 1918-1948
The Zenith of Formalist and Humanist Criticism, 1949-1974
The Austen Bicentenary, 1975 (and Beyond)
The Feminist Revolution in Austen Studies, 1976-1990
Austen among the Theorists, 1976-1990
Traditional Criticism, 1976-1990
Theory-Based Criticism of Austen, 1991-2008
Traditional Approaches to Austen, 1991-2008
Speculations on the Future
Works by Jane Austen
Chronological List of Works Cited


(W)ill make shelf-challenged booklovers willingly dust off more space. . . . (A) useful tool for assessing past writings and approaches, a solid base upon which to build further scholarship. JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY OF NORTH AMERICA NEWSLETTER

A seminal work of academic excellence and an especially recommended addition to personal and academic library reference collections and reading lists. MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW

A generous, articulate, well-organized, and, amazingly, . . . inviting survey of biography and exegesis. . . . Mazzeno's study is capacious and comprehensive in range and witness. WORDSWORTH CIRCLE

Author Bio

Laurence Mazzeno retired as president of Alvernia College, Pennsylvania.

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