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Art and Artifact in Austen

Edited by Anna Battigelli

BUY Cloth · 288 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9781644531747 · $75.00 · Mar 2020
BUY Ebook · 288 pp. · ISBN 9781644531761 · $37.50 · Mar 2020
BUY Paper · 288 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9781644531754 · $37.50 · Mar 2020

Jane Austen distinguished herself with genius in literature, but she was immersed in all of the arts. Austen loved dancing, played the piano proficiently, meticulously transcribed piano scores, attended concerts and art exhibits, read broadly, wrote poems, sat for portraits by her sister Cassandra, and performed in theatricals. For her, art functioned as a social bond, solidifying her engagement with community and offering order. And yet Austen’s hold on readers’ imaginations owes a debt to the omnipresent threat of disorder that often stems—ironically—from her characters’ socially disruptive artistic sensibilities and skill. Drawing from a wealth of recent historicist and materialist Austen scholarship, this timely work explores Austen’s ironic use of art and artifact to probe selfhood, alienation, isolation, and community in ways that defy simple labels and acknowledge the complexity of Austen’s thought.


This book, with twelve essays by emerging and well-known Austen scholars, makes a persuasive case for Jane Austen’s deep and fruitful immersion in the arts and material culture of her day. It is an excellent book, offering new insights into all manner of art, music, and theatre in Austen’s life and in her fiction.

Devoney Looser, Arizona State University, author of The Making of Jane Austen

About the Author(s): 

Anna Battigelli is Professor of English at SUNY Plattsburgh and the author of Margaret Cavendish and the Exiles of the Mind.

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