Skip to main content
Reading Jane Austen

Book description

Whether you're new to Austen's work or know it backwards and forwards already, this book provides a clear, full and highly engaging account of how Austen's fiction works and why it matters. Exploring new pathways into the study of Jane Austen's writing, novelist and academic Jenny Davidson looks at Austen's work through a writer's lens, addressing formal questions about narration, novel writing, and fictional composition as well as themes including social and women's history, morals and manners. Introducing new readers to the breadth and depth of Jane Austen's writing, and offering new insights to those more familiar with Austen's work, Jenny Davidson celebrates the art and skill of one of the most popular and influential writers in the history of English literature.


'Davidson’s close readings are delightfully fresh, designed to provide formal accounts of how Austen’s fiction functions for the specialist and the common reader alike.'

Gillian Dow Source: The Times Literary Supplement

Refine List
Actions for selected content:
Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Send to Kindle
  • Send to Dropbox
  • Send to Google Drive
  • Send content to

    To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to .

    To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

    Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

    Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

    Please be advised that item(s) you selected are not available.
    You are about to send

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.
Burney, Frances, Cecilia, or Memoirs of an Heiress (1782), ed. Sabor, Peter and Doody, Margaret Anne (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1988).
Fielding, Henry, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (1749), ed. Wakely, Alice and Keymer, Thomas (London: Penguin, 2005).
von Goethe, Johann Wolfgang, The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774), trans. Pike, Burton (New York: Modern Library, 2004).
de Laclos, Choderlos, Dangerous Liaisons (1782), trans. Constantine, Helen (London: Penguin, 2007).
Richardson, Samuel, Clarissa, or The History of a Young Lady (1747–48), ed. Ross, Angus (London: Penguin, 1985).
Richardson, Samuel, Pamela, or, Virtue Rewarded (1740), ed. Keymer, Thomas and Wakely, Alice (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2001).
Smollett, Tobias, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker (1771), ed. Gottlieb, Evan, 2nd edn. (New York and London: W. W. Norton & Co., 2015), 129–31.
Sterne, Laurence, A Sentimental Journey and Other Writings, ed. Parnell, Tim and Jack, Ian (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008).
Broadview Press has published accessible editions of many novels previously difficult to find in modern editions, and checking their chronological list of editions under the heading “Romantic Literature” will provide a much fuller selection.
Edgeworth, Maria, Belinda (1801), ed. Kirkpatrick, Kathryn J. (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1994).
Edgeworth, Maria, Patronage (1814), ed. Carville, Conor, vols. 6–7 of The Novels and Selected Works of Maria Edgeworth (London and Brookfield, VT: Pickering & Chatto, 1999).
Ferrier, Susan, Marriage (1818) (New York: Penguin; London: Virago, 1986).
Hamilton, Elizabeth, Memoirs of Modern Philosophers (1800), ed. Grogan, Claire (Peterborough, ON: Broadview, 2000).
Inchbald, Elizabeth, A Simple Story (1791), ed. Lott, Anna (Peterborough, ON: Broadview, 2006).
Opie, Amelia, Adeline Mowbray, or, The Mother and Daughter (1804), ed. McWhir, Anne (Peterborough, ON: Broadview, 2010).
Wollstonecraft, Mary, Mary, a Fiction and The Wrongs of Woman, or, Maria (1788, 1798), ed. Faubert, Michelle (Peterborough, ON: Broadview, 2012).
Butler, Marilyn, Burke, Paine, Godwin, and the Revolution Controversy (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984).
Colley, Linda, Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707–1837 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992).
Johnson, Claudia L., Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender, and Sentimentality in the 1790s: Wollstonecraft, Radcliffe, Burney, Austen (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995).
Tomalin, Claire, Jane Austen: A Life (1997; New York: Random House, 1999).
Wollstonecraft, Mary, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), ed. Lynch, Deidre Shauna (New York: W. W. Norton, 2009).
Johnson, Claudia L., “Austen Cults and Cultures,” in The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, 2nd edn., ed. Copeland, Edward and McMaster, Juliet (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).
Looser, Devoney, The Making of Jane Austen (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017).
Lynch, Deidre, ed. Janeites: Austen’s Disciples and Devotees (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000).
Butler, Marilyn, Jane Austen and the War of Ideas (Oxford: Clarendon, 1975).
Chwe, Michael Suk-Young, Jane Austen: Game Theorist (Princeton, NJ, and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2013).
Davidson, Jenny, Hypocrisy and the Politics of Politeness: Manners and Morals from Locke to Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).
Davidson, Jenny, “Jane Austen and the Conditions of Knowledge,” in A Companion to British Literature: Volume III: Long Eighteenth-Century Literature 1660–1837, ed. DeMaria, Robert Jr., Chang, Heesok and Zucker, Samantha (Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 2014), 298311.
Johnson, Claudia L., Jane Austen: Women, Politics and the Novel (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1988).
Miller, D. A., Jane Austen, or The Secret of Style (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003), 4041.
Rawson, Claude, “Satire, Sensibility and Innovation in Jane Austen: Persuasion and the Minor Works,” in Satire and Sentiment, 1660–1830: Stress Points in the Augustan Tradition (New Haven, CT, and London: Yale University Press, 1994), 267–98.
Sabor, Peter, “Jane Austen: Satirical Historian,” in Swift’s Travels: Eighteenth-Century British Satire and Its Legacy, ed. Hudson, Nicholas and Santesso, Aaron (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 217–32.
Sabor, Peter, “Refashioning The History of England: Jane Austen and 1066 and All That,” in The Afterlives of Eighteenth-Century Fiction, ed. Cook, Daniel and Seager, Nicholas (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 273–89.
Said, Edward W., Culture and Imperialism (New York: Knopf, 1993).
Spacks, Patricia Meyer, Gossip (New York: Knopf, 1985).
Tanner, Tony, Jane Austen (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1986).
Trilling, Lionel, “The Sentiment of Being and the Sentiments of Art,” in Sincerity and Authenticity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972), 5380.
Deutsch, Helen, Loving Dr. Johnson (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).
Keymer, Tom, Richardson’s Clarissa and the Eighteenth-Century Reader (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992).
Miller, Andrew, “Lives Unled in Realist Fiction,” Representations 98 (Spring 2008): 118–34.
Patey, Douglas Lane, Probability and Literary Form: Philosophic Theory and Literary Practice in the Augustan Age (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984).
Perry, Ruth, Novel Relations: The Transformation of Kinship in English Literature and Culture, 1748–1818 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).
Vermeule, Blakey, Why Do We Care about Literary Characters? (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010).
Zunshine, Lisa, Why We Read Fiction: Theory of Mind and the Novel (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2006).
Bal, Mieke, Narratology: Introduction to the Theory of Narrative, 2nd edn. (1985; Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997).
Banfield, Ann, Unspeakable Sentences: Narration and Representation in the Language of Fiction (Boston and London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982).
Barthes, Roland, “The Reality Effect” (originally published in French in 1968), in The Rustle of Language, trans. Howard, Richard (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1989), 141–54.
Booth, Wayne, The Rhetoric of Fiction (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961), 216.
Cohn, Dorrit, Transparent Minds: Narrative Modes for Presenting Consciousness in Fiction (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978).
Wood, James, How Fiction Works (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Picador, 2008).
Only a few of these books mention Austen specifically, but each offers something of value in illuminating Austen’s treatment of human values and behavior.
Arendt, Hannah, On Revolution, intro. Schell, Jonathan (1963; New York: Penguin, 2006).
Bourdieu, Pierre, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste (1979), trans. Nice, Richard (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984).
Goffman, Erving, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (New York: Doubleday, 1959).
Hirschman, Albert O., The Passions and the Interests: Political Arguments for Capitalism Before Its Triumph (1977; Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013).
MacIntyre, Alasdair, After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory, 2nd edn. (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984).
Shklar, Judith, Ordinary Vices (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1984).


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed