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Jane Austen and the Enlightenment - Peter Knox-Shaw

Jane Austen and the Enlightenment

Hardcover Published: 29th November 2004
ISBN: 9780521843461
Number Of Pages: 288

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Jane Austen was received by her contemporaries as a new voice, but her late twentieth-century reputation as a nostalgic reactionary still lingers on. In this radical revision of her engagement with the culture and politics of her age, Peter Knox-Shaw argues that Austen was a writer steeped in the Enlightenment, and that her allegiance to a sceptical tradition within it, shaped by figures such as Adam Smith and David Hume, lasted throughout her career. Knox-Shaw draws on archival and other neglected sources to reconstruct the intellectual atmosphere of the Steventon Rectory where Austen wrote her juvenilia, and follows the course of her work through the 1790s and onwards, showing how minutely responsive it was to the many shifting movements of those turbulent years. Jane Austen and the Enlightenment is an important contribution to the study both of Jane Austen and of intellectual history at the turn of the nineteenth century.

'... constantly illuminating and abundantly well written ... original, informative and effectively harnessed to his overall argument.' Jane Austen Society Newsletter '... an intelligent and inspiring critique that asks us to return to Austen, her contemporaries and her predecessors with an increased sensitivity to the connections between them, and a renewed pleasure in the complexity of the novels themselves.' Times Literary Supplement '... Peter Knox-Shaw greatly contributes to a new reading of the novels ... [his] demonstration is very convincing. He pedagogically describes the general philosophical background to Jane Austen's work and above all, he gives historical justification to her progressivism while other critics only assert it.' Cercles

Acknowledgementsp. ix
Note on chronologyp. xi
The Eighteenth-Century Legacy
Auspicesp. 3
Science, the self, and a changing worldp. 10
Staging the Enlightenmentp. 27
Unheroic sentimentsp. 46
Civility and the passionsp. 60
Pride and Prejudice, a politics of the picturesquep. 73
Courtship and the picturesquep. 85
Bage, Burke, and Wollstonecraftp. 100
Northanger Abbey and the liberal historiansp. 108
Radcliffe and recidivismp. 111
The new well-tempered genrep. 115
Sense and Sensibility and the philosophersp. 129
Empiricism revisitedp. 134
Sensibility reclaimedp. 139
Engaging with the New Age
Diffractionp. 155
Evangelicalism and the Enlightenmentp. 161
Evangelicalism and the Austensp. 167
Mansfield Park: charting the religious revivalp. 174
The virtue of independencep. 179
Emma, and the flaws of sovereigntyp. 197
Rank, courtship, and gender: Adam Smith and Wollstonecraftp. 204
Persuasion: light on an old genrep. 220
Affirming the strength of womenp. 228
Sanditon and speculationp. 243
Select bibliographyp. 255
Indexp. 268
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521843461
ISBN-10: 0521843464
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 29th November 2004
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 2.1
Weight (kg): 0.59