In The Companion to Jane Austen leading scholars from around the world present Austen's works in two broad contexts: that of her contemporary world, and that of present-day critical discourse. Beside discussions of Austen's novels there are essays on religion, politics, class-consciousness, publishing practices, and domestic economy, which describe the world in which Austen lived and wrote. More traditional issues for literary analysis are then addressed: style in the novels, Austen's letters as literary productions, and the stylistic significance of her juvenile works. The volume concludes with assessments of the history of Austen criticism and the development of Austen as a literary cult-figure; it provides a chronology, and highlights the most interesting studies of Austen in a vast field of contemporary critical diversity.
• Offers valuable insights to Jane Austen's contemporary world and answers most frequently asked questions about the historical world of Austen's fiction • Debunks the 'cosy' image of Austen with chapters on money, religion, and politics • Good chronology and useful concise guide to Austen criticism • Jargon-free - will appeal to non-academic Austenites • Draws on much material not in the public domain - invaluable for graduate students • 'Austen mania' sweeping the globe - recent TV and film versions of Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility