The reception history of Jane Austen
follows a path from modest fame to wild popularity; her novels are both the subject of intense scholarly study and the centre of a diverse fan culture
. Jane Austen
, the author of such works as Pride and Prejudice
(1813) and Emma
(1815), has become one of the best-known and widely read novelists in the English language.Clark, Robert. "". The Literary Encyclopedia
(subscription only). 8 January 2001. Retrieved 24 August 2008.
During her lifetime, Austen's novels brought her little personal fame; like many women writers, she chose to publish anonymously and it was only among members of the aristocracy
that her authorship was an open secret
. At the time they were published, Austen's works were considered fashionable by members of high society but received few positive reviews. By the mid-19th century, her novels were admired by members of the literary elite who viewed their appreciation of her works as a mark of cultivation. The publication in 1870 of her nephew's Memoir of Jane Austen
introduced her to a wider public as an appealing personality—dear, quiet aunt Jane—and her works were republished in popular editions. By the turn of the 20th century, competing groups had sprung up—some to worship her and some to defend her from the "teeming masses"—but all claiming to be the true Janeites
, or those who properly appreciated Austen.
Early in the 20th century, scholars produced a carefully edited... Read More