OUT TODAY: Understanding Austen by Maggie Lane

Understanding Austen by Maggie LaneMaggie Lane is the author of Jane Austen’s Family, Jane Austen’s England and Literary Daughters among other books. She has also published articles in The Annual Report of the Jane Austen Society and Persuasions, the journal of the Jane Austen Society of North America. She has lectured on Jane Austen in the UK, the US, Canada and Australia. Having served for many years on the committee of the Jane Austen Society UK, she is now Chair of its South West branch; she lives in Exeter.


No other author uses abstract nouns as extensively as Jane Austen. Three of her six novels even draw on such words for their titles: Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion. Terms like ‘elegance’, ‘gentility’ and ‘propriety’seem to define her well-ordered, judgemental world.

In making the fine moral, psychological and social discriminations on which her plots depend, Jane Austen draws on the vocabulary of her age, which is both more abstract and more fixed than that of today. But as this study shows, she was capable of subtlety and even ambiguity in her deployment of such key concepts.

Here, Maggie Lane, acclaimed author of many Jane Austen books, turns her attention to the fascinating nuances of Austen’s language and the way it embodies her most profound beliefs about human conduct and character.

For more information, check out Maggie Lane’s author post on why she loves Jane Austen here.

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