Skip to main content
Back to Results
Cover image of Matters of Fact in Jane Austen

Matters of Fact in Jane Austen

History, Location, and Celebrity

Janine Barchas

Publication Date
Binding Type

Discover the links between characters in Jane Austen novels and real-life celebrities of the time.

Winner of the CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title of the Choice ACRL

In Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity, Janine Barchas makes the bold assertion that Jane Austen’s novels allude to actual high-profile politicians and contemporary celebrities as well as to famous historical figures and landed estates. Barchas is the first scholar to conduct extensive research into the names and locations in Austen’s fiction by taking full advantage of the explosion of archival...

Discover the links between characters in Jane Austen novels and real-life celebrities of the time.

Winner of the CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title of the Choice ACRL

In Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity, Janine Barchas makes the bold assertion that Jane Austen’s novels allude to actual high-profile politicians and contemporary celebrities as well as to famous historical figures and landed estates. Barchas is the first scholar to conduct extensive research into the names and locations in Austen’s fiction by taking full advantage of the explosion of archival materials now available online.

According to Barchas, Austen plays confidently with the tension between truth and invention that characterizes the realist novel. Of course, the argument that Austen deployed famous names presupposes an active celebrity culture during the Regency, a phenomenon recently accepted by scholars. The names Austen plucks from history for her protagonists (Dashwood, Wentworth, Woodhouse, Tilney, Fitzwilliam, and many more) were immensely famous in her day. She seems to bank upon this familiarity for interpretive effect, often upending associations with comic intent.

Barchas re-situates Austen’s work closer to the historical novels of her contemporary Sir Walter Scott and away from the domestic and biographical perspectives that until recently have dominated Austen studies. This forward-thinking and revealing investigation offers scholars and ardent fans of Jane Austen a wealth of historical facts, while shedding an interpretive light on a new aspect of the beloved writer's work.

Reviews

Reviews

An impeccably researched new book.

Matters of Fact in Jane Austen is unlike any previous work of Austen criticism, both in its attention to minute historical detail and in its pioneering claims... [It] is meticulously researched, beautifully written, highly original, and unquestionably timely. It ought to stimulate not just rousing arguments but provoke, too, further historically attuned Austen scholarship.

This is easily one of the most important books on Austen published in recent years, a must read. Thanks to fantastic volumes like this one... Austen's books are finally being read and reassessed in the context of their times and are no longer given the backhanded compliment of being called 'timeless'... Essential. (Named by Choice in its list of Outstanding Academic Titles, 2013)

A provocative, suggestive, and original book which makes a genuine contribution to scholarship on Jane Austen... It is an excellent example of a truly interdisciplinary approach to literary criticism.

See All Reviews
About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
336
ISBN
9781421411910
Illustration Description
48 b&w illus.
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Introduction: "History, real solemn history" in Austen
1. "Quite unconnected": The Wentworths and Lady Susan
2. Mapping Northanger Abbey to Find "Old Allen" of Prior Park
3

Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Introduction: "History, real solemn history" in Austen
1. "Quite unconnected": The Wentworths and Lady Susan
2. Mapping Northanger Abbey to Find "Old Allen" of Prior Park
3. Touring Farleigh Hungerford Castle and Remembering Mis Tilney-Long
4. "The Celebrated Mr. Evelyn" of Silva in Burney and Austen
5. Hell-Fire Jane: Dashwood Celebrity and Sense and Sensibility
6. Persuasion's Battle of the Books: Baronetage versus Navy List
Afterword: Jane Austen's Fictive Network
Notes
Index

Author Bio
Janine Barchas
Featured Contributor

Janine Barchas

Janine Barchas is a professor of English at the University of Texas, Austin. She is the author of Graphic Design, Print Culture, and the Eighteenth-Century Novel and the creator of the What Jane Saw website: www.whatjanesaw.org.