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Jane Austen: A Very Short Introduction [#694]
Jane Austen: A Very Short Introduction [#694]
  • Introduces the six major novels of Jane Austen, a perenially popular author, as well as her other writings
  • Combines critical introductions to each of Austen's six major novels with the exploration of key themes of her work
  • Emphasizes the social and historical context of Austen's fiction, and her satirical response to her contemporary world
  • Explores the literary and publishing context of Austen's fiction, and discusses her technical innovations

Jane Austen wrote six of the best-loved novels in the English language, as well as a smaller corpus of works unpublished in her day, including three volumes of witty, non-realist juvenilia and the innovative, unfinished Sanditon. She pioneered new techniques for representing voices, minds, and hearts in narrative prose, and was a penetrating satirist of social tensions and trends in an era dominated by the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, and the socio-economic disruptions entailed by them. Yet Austen struggled for many years to break into print, and even as she became a published author in the last years of her relatively short life, reading tastes and book-trade expectations constrained as much as they enabled her literary career.
This Very Short introduction explores the major themes of Austen criticism through close analysis of her major and minor works, with particular emphasis on the literary, social, and political backgrounds from which the novels emerge, and with which they engage. Thomas Keymer combines critical introductions to each of Austen's six major novels with an exploration of the key themes in her works, from national identity to narrative technique. The Austen who emerges is a writer shaped by the literary experiments and socio-political debates of the revolution decade, drawn in her maturity to a fundamentally conservative vision of social harmony, yet forever complicating this vision through the disruptive ironies and satirical energies of her prose.


Notes on editions

1:Jane Austen practising
2:The terrors of Northanger Abbey
3:Sense, sensibility, society
4:The voices of Pride and Prejudice
5:The silence at Mansfield Park
6:Emma and Englishness
7:Passion and Persuasion
Further reading

About the author: 

Tom Keymer, University of Toronto
Tom Keymer is Chancellor Henry N. R. Jackman University Professor of English at the University of Toronto. He has published numerous books about Restoration, eighteenth-century, and Romantic-period literature and culture, including Poetics of the Pillory: English Literature and Seditious Libel 1660-1820 (OUP, 2019), Sterne, the Moderns, and the Novel (OUP, 2002), and, as editor, The Oxford History of the Novel in English, Volume 1: Prose Fiction in English from the Origins of Print to 1750 (OUP, 2017). He has also edited works by Daniel Defoe, Henry Fielding, Samuel Johnson, and others in the Oxford World's Classics series. He is General Editor of the Review of English Studies and co-General Editor of The Cambridge Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Samuel Richardson.

Product details

ISBN : 9780198725954

Tom Keymer
144 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
Jan 2022
Very Short Introductions
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Jane Austen: A Very Short Introduction [#694]

Jane Austen: A Very Short Introduction [#694]

Jane Austen: A Very Short Introduction [#694]