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The Making of Jane Austen

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The Making of Jane Austen is beautifully written and replete with new information. Devoney Looser provides an incisive and thoroughly original account of how an obscure country clergyman's daughter came to occupy a dominant position among the English novelists. In the bicentenary year of Austen's death, this work will fascinate students, scholars and general readers alike. -- Peter Sabor, McGill University, coeditor of Jane Austen's Manuscript Works A potential game changer, full of force and originality. Looser's refreshingly democratic approach to Austen scholarship not only will add to our knowledge of this author's reception history and literary afterlife but will surprise even the most informed Austen scholar. -- Janine Barchas, University of Texas at Austin, author of Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity This highly entertaining book makes clear that contemporary Janeites - with their cosplay, their clashing interpretations of much-loved novels, their wet-shirt Darcy, and their fiercely possessive relationship to their favorite author - are heirs to a tradition of Austen-love that stretches back to the early 19th century. Devoney Looser's brilliant detective work introduces us to a cast of creative, courageous and eccentric women and men who helped keep Austen's work alive and vital into our own time. -- Deborah Yaffe, author of Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom The Making of Jane Austen is a fascinating and often very funny account of how Austen became one of English literature's best-loved novelists. Devoney Looser has already made a reputation as one of her generation's foremost Austen scholars; here she takes her game to the next level. -- Jenny Davidson, Columbia University Exuberant and unfailingly entertaining, The Making of Jane Austen challenges many pieties about the woman novelist and her fame. Looking beyond the elite caretakers of Austen's reputation, Looser helps us better appreciate the multiple, surprising ways in which nineteenth- and twentieth-century audiences enjoyed, used, and adapted Austen's books. -- Deidre Lynch, Harvard University, author of Loving Literature: A Cultural History A splendid and indispensable work for all readers interested in how Austen is not simply any old great author but a cultural icon who continues to evolve in fascinating and often conflicting ways. -- Claudia Johnson, Princeton University

Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I1. Austen's First English Illustrator2. Visual Austen Experiments3. A Golden Age for Illustrated AustenPart II4. Austen's First Dramatist5. Playing Mr. Darcy before Laurence Olivier6. Dear Jane7. Stage to Screen Pride and Prejudice

About the Author

Devoney Looser is a professor of English at Arizona State University. 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 * ... timely and authoritative... * Times Literary Supplement * 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 * 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 * overall, The Making of Jane Austen presents a compelling history of how the phenomenon of "Jane! Austen!" came to be... * Women's Writing * 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 will puts the famed novelist in a whole new light. * Bustle * 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 * ... fascinating new study... * The Hudson Review * 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 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 * ... what 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!' (p. 11), 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 it 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 * 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. * Scholar Commons *

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