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  • Jane Austen Scholarship: “The Richness of the Present Age”
  • Janet Aikins Yount
Deirdre Le Faye. A Chronology of Jane Austen and Her Family (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ., 2006). Pp. xvi + 776. 7 ills. $150, £96. ISBN 0-521-81064-7
Jane Austen. Juvenilia, ed. Peter Sabor. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ., 2006). Pp. lxx + 502. 1 ill. + 18 facs. $140, £68. ISBN 0-521-82420-6
Jane Austen. Northanger Abbey, ed. Barbara M. Benedict and Deirdre Le Faye. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ., 2006). Pp. lxvi + 354. 2 ills. $104, £53. ISBN 0-521-82419-2
Jane Austen. Sense and Sensibility, ed. Edward Copeland. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ., 2006). Pp. lxx + 500. 2 ills. $140, £72. ISBN 0-521-82436-2
Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice, ed. Pat Rogers. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ., 2006). Pp. lxxxii + 540. 2 ills. $149, £72. ISBN 0-521-82514-8
Jane Austen. Mansfield Park, ed. John Wiltshire. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ., 2005). Pp. lxxxviii + 738. 2 ills. $137, £72. ISBN 0-521-82765-5
Jane Austen. Emma, ed. Richard Cronin and Dorothy McMillan. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ., 2005). Pp. lxxx + 600. 3 ills. $140, £72. ISBN 0-521-82437-0 [End Page 73]
Jane Austen. Persuasion, ed. Janet Todd and Antje Blank. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ., 2006). Pp. lxxxvii + 392. 3 ills + 33 facs. $95, £55. ISBN 0-521-82518-4
Jane Austen. Later Manuscripts, ed. Janet Todd and Linda Bree. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ., 2008). Pp. cxxx + 742. 6 ills. $115, £65. ISBN 0-521-84348-5
Janet Todd, ed. Jane Austen in Context. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ., 2005). Pp. xxx + 467. 42 ills. $104, £56. ISBN 0-521-82644-6
D. A. Miller. Jane Austen, or The Secret of Style (Princeton: Princeton Univ., 2003). Pp. x + 108. 1 ill. $12.95 paper. ISBN 0-691-12387-x
Emily Auerbach. Searching for Jane Austen (Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin, 2004). Pp. xiv + 344. 32 ills. $21.95 paper. ISBN 0-299-20184-8
Janet Todd. The Cambridge Introduction to Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ., 2006). Pp. xii + 152. $75, £38. ISBN 0-521-8506-2. $19.95 paper. ISBN 0-521-67369-7
Jocelyn Harris. A Revolution Almost beyond Expression: Jane Austen's “Persuasion” (Newark: Univ. of Delaware, 2007). Pp. 280. 10 ills. $54.50. ISBN 0-87413-966-x

In Jane Austen's Persuasion, Anne Elliot and Captain Benwick form an intimacy through their shared love of literature. The narrator remarks, “Having talked of poetry, the richness of the present age, and gone through a brief comparison of opinion as to the first-rate poets,” Benwick “shewed himself” to be

intimately acquainted with all the tenderest songs of the one poet [Walter Scott], and all the impassioned descriptions of hopeless agony of the other [Lord Byron]; he repeated, with such tremulous feeling, the various lines which imaged a broken heart [emphasis added], or a mind destroyed by wretchedness, and looked so entirely as if he meant to be understood, that she ventured to hope he did not always read poetry.

(108)

The lines that Benwick recites become an indirect discourse through which he mourns his deceased fiancée, Fanny Harville. The poetry thus “images” his emotional state for his nearest listeners: Anne Elliot and the novel's readers. The phrase “richness of the present age,” used to describe the poetry of Austen's day, applies as handily to the current state of Austen scholarship. Indeed, the fourteen books by or about Jane Austen that I have been asked to review [End Page 74] are only a selection of those appearing between 2003 and 2008. Moreover, Austen herself is best understood as “imaged,” in the sense used here, in the more personal responses to her fiction lately published, some of which reflect an “impassioned” longing...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3192
Print ISSN
0098-2601
Pages
pp. 73-113
Launched on MUSE
2009-12-06
Open Access
No
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