Faculty Book: Rachel Brownstein
Why Jane Austen?
(Columbia University Press, 2011)
The author considers constructions of Jane Austen as a heroine, moralist, satirist, romantic, woman, and author and the changing notions of these categories. She finds echoes of Austen’s insights and techniques in contemporary Jane-o-mania, the commercially driven, erotically charged popular vogue that aims paradoxically to preserve and liberate, to correct and collaborate with old Jane. Her discussion of the distinctiveness and distinction of Austen’s genius clarifies the reasons why we read the novelist—or why we should read her—and reorients the prevailing view of her work. Reclaiming the rich comedy of Austen while constructing a new narrative of authorship, Brownstein unpacks the author’s fascinating entanglement with readers and other admirers. Rachel Brownstein (Prof., Brooklyn) is on the Graduate Center faculty in English and liberal studies.
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Submitted on: FEB 21, 2012