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The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen

(Cambridge Companions to Literature)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  384 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Leading scholars present a comprehensive and up-to-date guide to Jane Austen's works in the contexts of her contemporary world, and of present-day critical discourse. Beside discussions of Austen's novels and letters there are essays on religion, politics, class-consciousness, publishing practices, domestic economy, style in the novels and the significance of her juvenile ...more
Paperback, 251 pages
Published May 13th 1997 by Cambridge University Press (first published 1997)
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Love this book of collected essays on Jane Austen, her novels and her world, giving us valuable insight and information on religion, politics, society, domestic economy & publishing of her times without being overbearing or condescending.
Grace Tjan
This is a collection of essays by Austen scholars, a few of which are very academic (including an analysis of Austen’s style using a mathematical computer program), but is generally accessible to the general reader. There are analysis of Austen’s whole oeuvre, including her short fictions, unfinished novels and letters, discussions about the historical and social backgrounds of her novels, and even speculations about the earlier versions of some of her most famous novels. I find the latter, an e ...more
Brogan Lane
Sep 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jane-austen, 2020
An exceptional collection of essays about Jane Austen and her works - some of them waffled a little bit but I really liked Edward Copeland’s essay on money, Juliet McMaster’s essay on class and Rachel M. Brownstein’s essay on Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice
Nov 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jane, 2015
Excellent book, if you like this sort of thing. I'd just rather read the source material again and again and again. Which probably explains why I am a fan-girl and not a scholar. ...more
Jul 13, 2020 rated it liked it
There are 3 excellent essays in this collection that I think are indispensable if you want to understand the fundamentals of Austen's work: "The Professional Woman Writer" by Jan Fergus, "Class" by Juliet Mcmaster, and "Money" by Edward Copeland. They make explicit what is implicit in so many of Austen's novels, and offer substantial insight into the social world of the Regency era, both in terms of Austen's life and novels. The rest of the essays in here are a mixed bag, ranging from okay to qu ...more
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Right before reading this book, I read Experiment in Criticism where Lewis claimed that most works of literary criticism weren't terribly helpful and that you're normally better off just reading the book again. When I first read it, I thought he was rather harsh. After reading through this book, I'm a lot more prone to agree with him (although, to be fair, there are good works of literary criticism out there.)

This isn't really a bad book in the sense that I disagree with it or that it's making r
Elliot A
Jul 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A good enough collection of articles that discuss all of Austen’s works and affords the reader with enough material to engage in further research and discussions about the novels and the author.

rachel m. brownstein on northanger abbey, sense & sensibility and pride and prejudice, carol houlihan flynn on austen's letters, juliet mcmaster on class, isobel grundy on literary tradition & claudia l. johnson on austen cults & cultures -- of particular interest, or just of particular clarity & charm.

john f. burrows on style at times insightful, but v grating others. gary kelly on religion & politics, dry dry dry.

Dec 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Of the several essays I read in this book I enjoyed them and thought they did a good job of pointing out key features in the novels. There were a couple of essays that I was a little shocked with the mannerisms of the authors - they didn't seem dignified enough, or they were using some slang that I would never get away with putting in my paper. But I learned something from every essay I read and I thought it was a good way to get knowledge about a certain subject/element in the novel that I migh ...more
Dec 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Very good about Jane Austen as a professional woman writer, and about her books, it was a great book to read and use quotes from to my big exam paper! A very good piece of work for reading and writing about Jane Austen.
It was a deligth and very informative about Jane Austen as a professional writer, and about her books.
Jane Greensmith
Mar 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
One of the best set of essays on Austen's work around with contributions from all my favorite Austen scholars. I've read most of the essays at least 2-3 times, and I always reread the novel discussions after I reread one of the fabulous six. ...more
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an ideal book for the general reader and for anyone studying Jane Austen. There are fifteen essays on various aspects of the six novels as well as Austen's letters and the Juvenilia. There is an essay on class as well as one on the professional woman writer which goes into detail about how and when the six novels were published and how much money Austen earned from them in her lifetime.

I was particularly interested in the essays on money - which shows how people with particular incomes c
Feb 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I read several of the essays in this book. I especially liked those that explained all the financial intricacies of the novels. . . . Why oh why must literature scholars write such hard-to-read prose though? I have a suspicion they build up their own egos by writing the most convoluted sentences they can.
makes me wonder if Jane would approve? because yes, it's great to be the subject of scholarly review but good grief, it's so much more than something to be analyzed and picked apart. Let's enjoy. Let's put it in context and admire women for how they survived and coped and got on with their lives as best they could. ...more
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
While not altogether even, generally a very good set of essays.
Apr 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: university-reads
Read a couple of chapters for my final essay...
Overall, I liked the collection though some articles were much stronger than others.
Paul Baker
Mar 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Critical discourse is an acquired taste. When applied to Jane Austen, it can both illuminate and confuse reasonable thought. This collection of critical essays does both in abundance.
Mar 28, 2021 rated it liked it
A nice companion of essays if you want more Austen food-for-thought. 🌻
Apr 20, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was good but I bought the wrong book for class☠️
Mar 05, 2013 added it
Brownstein, Rachel M. Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice P. 50 "It's first brilliant sentence takes the tone of a Johnsonian essayist pronouncing on the nature of universals and truths . . . Takes the tone, of course, so as to mock it." "expresses the gossip's fantasy that women exchange or traffic in men, and not vice versa. The novel takes off, in other words, from Mrs. Bennet's notion (or is it only what Mrs. Bennet pretends to believe?): that rich men exist for peop ...more
Dec 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
I read this exceedingly scholarly volume in pieces, simply becasue it was too much for me to swallow all at once, proving, I guess that I am not Cambridge material. (!) I learned a great deal about JA; was spurred to read other things by other authors of her time by the section that spoke of her influences and about publication at the time and how it influenced her; and, also followed up on reading her letters and the fragments that never became novels, all thanks to this volume. Since I read it ...more
The Companion is a very informative mix of essays on subjects as wide-ranging as discussions of Jane Austen's novels themselves, her particular style, class and money in her writings, and Jane Austen cults and cultures which have developed over the years.

Some essays are really very interesting, well written and easily accessible, yet sadly some others not quite - I especially find Claudia L. Johnson's part on the aforementioned cults and cultures to be extremely confusing. Be that as it may, thi
May 02, 2012 added it
Wealth? Land? Love?.

"Author's Rule" (Birth Right/Nobility- Law of Land/Emancipation of Serfs/Emancipation Proclamation). Customer can lose land bid.

Freedom isn't a reward, it's a right. Suffucating freedom ends country. If tyrants don't want to reward with rights. Society ends, and new one must begin, or lawless Society begins*.

The 21st Century decision.

Reward or lose Product.

*Charity enables re-freedom/escape from prison. Find non-tyrant customers. Non-paying tyrants, and bad contracts/don't
Dec 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
Waaay too academic for me. I guess I'm just not that smart to think of the tangential relationships to slavery in Austen's work that these people did. The Frank Churchill essay was priceless in this regard. I did like the first essay about how Austen would have gotten paid for her work: that was historically accurate and informative. I just need to remember I'm not a literary critic. ...more
Aug 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: austen
This is an excellent resource for Jane Austen's life, writing style, novels, short fiction, letters, and career as a female writer, as well as the time period she lived in including essays on class, money, religion, and politics. I highly recommend this book as the first place to start reading if you're interested in Jane Austen or her work. ...more
A very academic take on Austen. If you're studying her work, writing a paper about her, or you want historical context for her novels, this isn't a bad book to pick up. Not so much a fun read, even for the hard core Janeites. ...more
Sep 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: litthe-nonfic
Very useful for those who want to find out more about Austen's life and work, and those who need references for their own work. ...more
Jul 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Was ok. Some essays were really good while others boring or discussed ideas you already knew.
Charity U
Sep 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: austenite
Mmmm, okay. Didn't really enjoy it a lot thought it had some interesting parts. ...more
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