ABOUT THIS BOOK
Jane Austen distinguished herself with genius in literature, but she was immersed in all of the arts. Austen loved dancing, played the piano proficiently, meticulously transcribed piano scores, attended concerts and art exhibits, read broadly, wrote poems, sat for portraits by her sister Cassandra, and performed in theatricals. For her, art functioned as a social bond, solidifying her engagement with community and offering order. And yet Austen’s hold on readers’ imaginations owes a debt to the omnipresent threat of disorder that often stems—ironically—from her characters’ socially disruptive artistic sensibilities and skill. Drawing from a wealth of recent historicist and materialist Austen scholarship, this timely work explores Austen’s ironic use of art and artifact to probe selfhood, alienation, isolation, and community in ways that defy simple labels and acknowledge the complexity of Austen’s thought.
Published by University of Delaware Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.