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June 09 , 2010

Fan Phenomena: Jane Austen


Nearly two hundred years after her death, Jane Austen is one of the most widely read and beloved English novelists of any era. Writing and publishing anonymously during her lifetime, the woman responsible for some of the most enduring characters (and couples) of modern romantic literature, including Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy, Emma Woodhouse and George Knightley, was credited only as ‘A Lady’ on the title pages of her novels. It was not until her nephew, more than five decades after her death at the age of 41, published a memoir of his ‘dear Aunt Jane’ that she became widely known. From then on, her fame only grew, and fans and devotees, so-called ‘Janeites,’ soon idolized and obsessed over her. Like any great art that endures and excites long after it is made, Austen’s novels are inextricable from the culture they have created. Essential reading for Austen’s legions of admirers, Fan Phenomena: Jane Austen collects essays from writers and critics that consider the culture surrounding Austen’s novels.

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