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The Making of Jane Austen


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An engaging account of how Jane Austen became a household name.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Jane Austen MattersPart I: Jane Austen, Illustrated1. Austen's First English Illustrator: Ferdinand Pickering's Vioctorian Sensationalism2. Visual Austen Experiments: From Lush Landscapes to Bearded Heroes3. A Golden Age for Illustrated Austen: From Peacocks to PhotoplaysPart II: Jane Austen, Dramatized4. Austen's First Dramatist: Rosina Filippi's Duologues for Every Cultivated Amateur5. Playing Mr. Darcy before Laurence Olivier: Cross Dressing, Consuming Passion, and Cracking the Whip6. Dear Jane: Christian Spinster, Feminist Flirt, and Shadow Actress7. Stage to Screen Pride and Prejudice: Hollywood's Austen and Its Unrealized ScreenplaysPart III: Jane Austen, Politicized8. The Night of the Divine Jane: Men's Club Clashes and Politics in the Periodical Press9. Stone-Throwing Jane Austen: Suffragist Street Activism, Grand Pageants, and Costume PartiesPart IV: Jane Austen, Schooled10. The First Jane Austen Dissertation: George Pellew and the Human Telephone11. Textbook Austens: From McGuffey's Readers to National LampoonCoda: Twenty-First Century Jane AustenAfterwordAcknowledgmentsAppendix: Suggested Further ReadingNotesBibliographyIndex

About the Author

Devoney Looser is a Foundation Professor of English at Arizona State University, a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar, and a Guggenheim Fellow. She is the author of Women Writers and Old Age in Great Britain, 1750-1850 and British Women Writers and the Writing of History, 1670-1820.


Energetic and revealing. -- Jane Smiley * New York Times Book Review *
One of the most fascinating sections... consequently takes in the wildly different approaches of [Austen's] early illustrators. * Wall Street Journal *
Looser is a sober and conscientiously corrective guide, constantly prompting us to historicise the conventional ways in which we conceive of Austen... This is a studious and sensible book, driven by a commitment to shedding light on Austen's work and context. * Times Higher Education *
Timely and authoritative. * Times Literary Supplement *
Austen fans have another book to add to their libraries. * Publishers Weekly *
[Looser's] arguments are refreshing and balanced. The Making of Jane Austen lovingly unveils Austen's posthumous journey to become a permanent fixture in classic English literature. * Foreword Reviews *
An informative and delightful read for literary lovers who want to learn more about one of the most celebrated authors of all time, The Making of Jane Austen puts the famed novelist in a whole new light. * Bustle *
Looser's book is full of forgotten performances, artists, and remakes, showing that Austen has long been enlisted to play a variety of roles. * First Things *
The Making of Jane Austen presents a compelling history of how the phenomenon of 'Jane! Austen!' came to be... * Women's Writing *
Written with wit and in pleasing yet learned prose, the book bridges well the gap between academic and popular writing... Altogether, new information for scholars and fans and great fun. Highly recommended. * Choice *
The Making of Jane Austen is both an essential, rigorously researched text for serious Austen scholars and an irresistibly lively reading experience for even the most newly initiated of Janeites. * Romantic Circles *
[W]hat The Making of Jane Austen offers the reader is a brilliant narrative that ends in hope. The story of how Jane Austen became, in Looser's words, 'Jane! Austen!', is a meandering tale with unlikely participants, unexpected twists, and a great deal of humour. * Jane Austen Society of Australia *
A groundbreaking effort to broaden the conversation about Austen's influence in terms of both content and audience, The Making of Jane Austen represents a major contribution to the fast-growing area of Austen reception studies and will be remembered as a book of the decade in Austen scholarship more generally. * JASNA News *
[A] fascinating new study of some of the ways Austen has been used by illustrators, actors, and activists. * Hudson Review *
In this brilliant new view of Austen, Devoney Looser tells us as much about what we want and need from our literary celebrities as [she] does about 'Aunt Jane' herself. * Review 19 *
The book offers insightful close reading of several nineteenth-century illustrations of Austen's fiction. * Review of English Studies *
Clearly organized into sections that dive deeply into the illustrated, the dramatized, and the politicized Austen as well as Austen pedagogy, from the first dissertation to the McGuffey Reader, The Making of Jane Austen provides a review of how Austen's image was shaped and shifted over time by those who marketed her work in books, films, and texts. Looser also looks at how both anti-suffrage men and suffragettes used Austen to prop up their viewpoint as people continue to look to Austen for conservative and liberal ideas. It seems Austen is almost biblical in her ability to be all things to all people. * Tonstant Weader Reviews *
Devoney Looser's delightfully discontinuous history signals straightaway the materiality of its Subject and its place between scholarly and popular mythologies. More subtly, it coaxes the reader to confront her own self in the act of 'making' Austen... Her inclusive, imaginative account is an important marker in the critical turn toward 'matters of fact,' building upon work by Janine Barchas, Claudia Johnson, and Kathryn Sutherland that historicizes Austen's referential texts, their reception, and her gradual institutionalization. * ABO: Interactive Journal for Women in the Arts *
Devoney Looser's latest full-scale contribution to Austen studies is an original, important and well-written book. It is valuable for the highly unusual areas she studies, for information about and clear descriptions of texts probably unknown to many Austen scholars and/or Janeites alike (this is a feat), for the critical intelligence and close reading she applies to some of these; and, for her tales of poignant lives of a few people who ought to be remembered for the significant contribution they made to the ways many people read Austen's texts today. * Eighteenth-Century Intelligencer *
Looser's book gives us a much-needed historical perspective, showing that the most cutting-edge and the most retrograde interpretations of Austen have a deeper history than we have imagined. -- Vivasvan Soni, Northwestern University * Modern Philology *
Looser's book reminds us both how much invention has always been involved in creating Austen's literary reputation, and how frequently that invention has involved suppressing or distorting the voices of women and others who are not part of the dominant discourse. It is therefore also an important contribution to feminist scholarship more broadly, and to the growing body of scholarship that attempts to hear and recuperate the voices of the marginalized and oppressed. -- Katie Halsey, University of Stirling, author of Jane Austen and Her Readers, 1786-1945 * Eighteenth-Century Fiction *
Eminently readable and suitably polemical in places, The Making of Jane Austen will be of supreme interest not only to Austen scholars but to anyone seeking a fit model for unpicking the formation of a literary or historical reputation... With an enviable gift for marshalling unwieldy anecdotes, Looser has with outstanding energy and rigor traversed such places like no one else before her. -- Daniel Cook, University of Dundee * Literature and History *

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