eligible curtis sittenfeld katie fforde desmond elliott 2017
Search our site
Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell Read the opening extract of the brand new Bernard Cornwell book before its publication on 19/10/2017

The Historical Austen by William H. Galperin

The Historical Austen

RRP £20.99

Notify me
when in stock

As soon as this book is back in stock we will send you an email.


The Historical Austen by William H. Galperin

Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title Jane Austen, arguably the most beloved of all English novelists, has been regarded both as a feminist ahead of her time and as a social conservative whose satiric comedies work to regulate rather than to liberate. Such viewpoints, however, do not take sufficient stock of the historical Austen, whose writings, as William Galperin shows, were more properly oppositional rather than either disciplinary or subversive. Reading the history of her novels' reception through other histories-literary, aesthetic, and social-The Historical Austen is a major reassessment of Jane Austen's achievement as well as a corrective to the historical Austen that abides in literary scholarship. In contrast to interpretations that stress the conservative aspects of the realistic tradition that Austen helped to codify, Galperin takes his lead from Austen's contemporaries, who were struck by her detailed attention to the dynamism of everyday life. Noting how the very act of reading demarcates an horizon of possibility at variance with the imperatives of plot and narrative authority, The Historical Austen sees Austen's development as operating in two registers. Although her writings appear to serve the interests of probability in representing things as they are, they remain, as her contemporaries dubbed them, histories of the present, where reality and the prospect of change are continually intertwined. In a series of readings of the six completed novels, in addition to the epistolary Lady Susan and the uncompleted Sanditon, Galperin offers startling new interpretations of these texts, demonstrating the extraordinary awareness that Austen maintained not only with respect to her narrative practice-notably, free indirect discourse-but also with attention to the novel's function as a social and political instrument.


In this engrossing revisionary experiment, what gets contextualized with immense and unprecedented subtlety is no less than the evolving and period-bound operation of narrative technique itself. -Garrett Stewart, University of Iowa Consistently provocative and frequently excellent. -TLS A signal work for current Romantic studies and for this historical moment. -Romantic Circles Reviews In a style that displays a gift for startling turns of phrase and wit, Galperin offers a learned, vigorous, innovative reconsideration of Austen and her critics... Galperin is equally informative about narrative techniques that work or fail and on how Austen represents early capitalism... Informed by feminist criticism, the book could also serve as an advanced primer on the history and theory of representation, especially its picturesque and realist variants... Essential. -Choice Galperin presents an Austen far less consistently conservative or progressive, far more self-reflexive, and infinitely more complicated than the Austen of much recent scholarship. His book is far richer than any brief review can suggest... This book is so extraordinary. Galperin offers a compellingly revisionist view of Austen's works. -JASNA Newsletter Important, intelligent, engaged, and engaging... The best study of Austen published during the past twenty years. -Clio Impressive and often dazzling. -Studies in Romanticism Startlingly original, scrupulously researched, and formidably smart, The Historical Austen is the most important book on Jane Austen's works to appear in the last fifteen years. -Deidre Lynch, Indiana University A book that will revolutionize Jane Austen studies. -Adela Pinch, University of Michigan Insightful, learned, intense, and challenging, William Galperin's The Historical Austen offers a new turn in a critical conversation that appeared to have reached its limits. More than a new reading of Austen, however, Galperin also brings historicist criticism to a new level. -Eighteenth-Century Life A major reexamination of both Austen's oeuvre and the history of the novel. -Albion An exemplary instance of one ideal of literary scholarship, the reflexive evaluation of literary forms in and as history. -Studies in English Literature

About the Author

William H. Galperin is Professor of English at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and author of The Return of the Visible in British Romanticism.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

13th May 2005


William H. Galperin

More books by William H. Galperin
Author 'Like for Like'


University of Pennsylvania Press


296 pages


Literary studies: c 1500 to c 1800



Lovereading is a wonderful way to expand my literary horizons, discover inspiring authors & get the chance to read new novels first. #loveit

Zarina de Ruiter

At Lovereading there are fabulous books available in every genre, with great reviews to help you pick the right book for you.

Teresa O'Halloran

Lovereading - a community of people passionate about reading and sharing their views. An incomparable website for book lovers.

Helen Clark

I love the newsletter with reviews of all the new books coming out. Can't wait to open it when it arrives in my inbox.

Rachel Aygin

The books for review are always great reads, brilliantly written, and introduces me to a huge variety of, established and new, authors.

Lesley Hart

I love the 'like for like' author recommendations, it's like an old friend whispering in your ear.

Emma Caddick

Lovereading is pitched at just the right level for all the various types of people who enjoy reading in its many forms.

Pam Woodburn

Lovereading is a world of books. It has everything you need from new to old and much loved classic books. It even give you recommendations!

Kate Thurston