Jane Austen and Critical Theory 2021004634, 2021004635, 9781032019826, 9781032019918, 9781003181309

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Jane Austen and Critical Theory
 2021004634, 2021004635, 9781032019826, 9781032019918, 9781003181309

Table of contents :
Half Title
Title Page
Copyright Page
Table of Contents
List of contributors
PART I: The Cultural Work of Austen’s Life and Afterlives
1. Lady Oracle: Jane Austen as High Priestess of Modern Romance or Secret Icon of Female Independence
2. Jane Austen in Australia and New Zealand
3. “This is 1806, for Heaven’s sake!”: The Tension between Nostalgia and Feminism in Austen Adaptation and YouTube FanVids
PART II: Identity, Relationality, and Community
4. Logical Time in Austen’s Persuasion: Desire and the Unproductive Anxious Interval
5. Pride and Prejudice and the Comedy of the Universal
6. Autonomy Will Set You Free, or Will It?: Autonomy, Precarity, and Survival
7. The Shrewdness of Sophia Croft in Persuasion
PART III: The Known and the Possible in Austen
8. Austen’s Theory of Change
9. Jane Austen’s Angry Inch: The Nonbinary Son-to-Come
10. Pleasure and Danger: Theorizing Adolescence in and through Austen
PART IV: The Vitality of Austen
11. The Austenian Mise-en-Scène
12. Wickham Then and Now: From Historical Masculinity to Toxic Masculinity
13. Jane Austen, Feminist Legal Philosopher

Citation preview


Jane Austen and Critical Theory is a collection of new essays that addresses the absence of critical theory in Austen studies—an absence that has limited the reach of Austen criticism. The collection brings together innovative scholars who ask new and challenging questions about the efficacy of Austen’s work. This volume confronts mythical understandings of Austen as “Dear Aunt Jane,” the early twentieth-century legacy of Austen as a cultural salve, and the persistent habit of reading her works for advice or instruction. The authors pursue a diversity of methods, encourage us to build new kinds of relationships to Austen and her writings, and demonstrate how these relationships might generate new ideas and possibilities—ideas and possibilities that promise to expand the ways in which we deploy Austen. The book specifically reminds us of the vital importance of Austen and her fiction for central concerns of the humanities, including the place of the individual within civil society, the potential for new identities and communities, the urgency to address racial and sexual oppression, and the need to imagine more just futures. Michael Kramp is Professor of English at Lehigh University, USA. He is the author of Disciplining Love: Austen and the Modern Man (2007) and editor of Jane Austen and Masculinity (2017).


Edited by Michael Kramp

First published 2021 by Routledge 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158 and by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2021 Taylor & Francis The right of Michael Kramp to be identified as the author of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. With the exception of Chapter 4, no part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Chapter 4 of this book is available for free in PDF format as Open Access from the individual product page at www.routledge.com. It has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Kramp, Michael, editor. Title: Jane Austen and critical theory / edited by Michael Kramp. Description: New York, NY ; Abingdon, Oxon : Routledge, 2021. | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2021004634 (print) | LCCN 2021004635 (ebook) | ISBN 9781032019826 (hardback) | ISBN 9781032019918 (paperback) | ISBN 9781003181309 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Austen, Jane, 1775-1817--Critcism and interpretation. Classification: LCC PR4037 .J3145 2021 (print) | LCC PR4037 (ebook) | DDC 823/.7--dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2021004634 LC ebook record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2021004635 ISBN: 978-1-032-01982-6 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-032-01991-8 (pbk) ISBN: 978-1-003-18130-9 (ebk) DOI: 10.4324/9781003181309 Typeset in Bembo by Taylor & Francis Books

To my mother, Ann Veronica Swan Kramp, the first person who taught me to love crazy ideas.


List of contributors Acknowledgements Abbreviations Introduction Michael Kramp

ix xii xiv 1


The Cultural Work of Austen’s Life and Afterlives 1 Lady Oracle: Jane Austen as High Priestess of Modern Romance or Secret Icon of Female Independence Megan A. Woodworth 2 Jane Austen in Australia and New Zealand Joanne Wilkes 3 “This is 1806, for Heaven’s sake!”: The Tension between Nostalgia and Feminism in Austen Adaptation and YouTube FanVids Rebecca White

19 21 38





Identity, Relationality, and Community 4 Logical Time in Austen’s Persuasion: Desire and the Unproductive Anxious Interval Isabelle Michalski and David Sigler 5 Pride and Prejudice and the Comedy of the Universal Daniela Garofalo 6 Autonomy Will Set You Free, or Will It?: Autonomy, Precarity, and Survival Enit Karafili Steiner 7 The Shrewdness of Sophia Croft in Persuasion Natasha Duquette

75 77 92

108 125


The Known and the Possible in Austen


8 Austen’s Theory of Change Kate Singer


9 Jane Austen’s Angry Inch: The Nonbinary Son-to-Come Chris Washington


10 Pleasure and Danger: Theorizing Adolescence in and through Austen Shawn Lisa Maurer



The Vitality of Austen


11 The Austenian Mise-en-Scène Christopher C. Nagle


12 Wickham Then and Now: From Historical Masculinity to Toxic Masculinity Kit Kincade


13 Jane Austen, Feminist Legal Philosopher Sarah Ailwood





Dr. Sarah Ailwood is Senior Lecturer in the School of Law, University of Wollongong. She researches law, literature, and humanities with a focus on gender and history. She is the author of Jane Austen’s Men: Rewriting Masculinity in the Romantic Era (Routledge, 2020), together with other essays on Austen, women’s life writing, and testimony in legal and public contexts. She is currently exploring women’s voices, listening, and law reform in the #MeToo moment. Dr. Natasha Duquette is Professor of Literature and Academic Dean at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College. She is the author of 30-Day Journey with Jane Austen (Fortress Press, 2020) and Veiled Intent: Dissenting Women’s Aesthetic Approach to Biblical Interpretation (Pickwick, 2016). Together with Elisabeth Lenckos, she co-edited Jane Austen and the Arts: Elegance, Propriety, and Harmony (Lehigh University Press, 2013). Dr. Daniela Garofalo is Professor of English at the University of Oklahoma. She is the author of Manly Leaders in Nineteenth-Century British Literature (SUNY, 2008) and Women, Love, and Commodity Culture in British Romanticism (Ashgate, 2012) as well as the co-editor, with David Sigler, of Lacan and Romanticism (SUNY, 2019). She has also published essays on Jane Austen, Lord Byron, Thomas Carlyle, William Godwin, John Keats, and Emily Brontë. Dr. Kit Kincade is Professor of English and Gender Studies at Indiana State University. Her books include an edition of Daniel Defoe’s An Essay on the History and Reality of Apparitions and an edition of Clara Reeve’s Old English Baron, as well as a co-edited collection of essays, Topographies of the Imagination: New

x List of contributors

Approaches to Daniel Defoe. She has also published articles on Jane Austen, Daniel Defoe, Maria Edgeworth, and Textual Studies/Book History. Dr. Michael Kramp is Professor of English at Lehigh University. He is the author of Disciplining Love: Austen and the Modern Man (Ohio State University Press, 2007) and editor of Jane Austen and Masculinity (Bucknell University Press, 2017). He has also published articles on such figures as Deleuze, Foucault, Pater, Dickens, and Lawrence. Dr. Shawn Lisa Maurer is Professor of English at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. She is the author of Proposing Men: Dialectics of Gender and Class in the Eighteenth-Century English Periodical (Stanford University Press, 1998) and has edited Elizabeth Inchbald’s Nature and Art for Broadview Press (2005). Isabelle Michalski is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English at the University of Calgary. She explores the ways Asian American romance fiction simultaneously conforms and subverts contemporary racial stereotypes, and how it presents readers with a picture of a cosmopolitan and transnational United States. Dr. Christopher C. Nagle is Associate Professor of English and Gender & Women’s Studies at Western Michigan University. He is the author of Sexuality and the Culture of Sensibility in the British Romantic Era (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) and essays on a wide range of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century women writers. Dr. David Sigler is Associate Professor of English at the University of Calgary. He is the author of Sexual Enjoyment in British Romanticism (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015) and co-editor, with Daniela Garofalo, of Lacan and Romanticism (SUNY, 2019). Dr. Kate Singer is Associate Professor of English and Chair of the Critical Social Thought program at Mount Holyoke College and author of Romantic Vacancy: The Poetics of Gender, Affect, and Radical Speculation (SUNY Press, 2019) and co-editor of Material Transgressions: Beyond Romantic Bodies, Genders, Things (Liverpool University Press, 2020). Dr. Enit Karafili Steiner is Senior lecturer at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. She is the author of Jane Austen’s Civilized Women: Morality, Gender and the Civilizing Process (Pickering and Chatto, 2012) and Northanger Abbey/Persuasion: Readers’ Guide to Essential Criticism (Palgrave, 2016), and editor of Frances Brooke’s The History of Lady Julia Mandeville (Routledge, 2013), Called to Civil Existence: Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (Rodopi, 2014), and of the special issue of Women’s Writing titled Cosmopolitan Endeavours.

List of contributors xi

Dr. Chris Washington is Assistant Professor of English at Francis Marion University. His first monograph is Romantic Revelations: Visions of Post-Apocalyptic Hope and Life in the Anthropocene (University of Toronto Press, 2019) and he is the co-editor, with Anne McCarthy, of Romanticism and Speculative Realism (Bloomsbury, 2019). Dr. Rebecca White teaches in the Department of English Studies at Durham University, UK. She is a reviewer of American literature for The Year’s Work in English Studies (Oxford University Press) and has published widely on nineteenth- and twentieth-century figures. She has also introduced a volume of Dickens’s novels for Anthem Press and is currently working on a monograph exploring Austen’s afterlives. Dr. Joanne Wilkes is Professor of English at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Her publications on Austen include Women Reviewing Women in Nineteenth-Century Britain: The Critical Reception of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë and George Eliot (Ashgate, 2010), plus essays in Jane Austen and Masculinity, Jane Austen and William Shakespeare, and Politics and Emotions in Romantic Periodicals. Dr. Megan A. Woodworth is a contract academic instructor at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton and St. Thomas University. She is the author of Eighteenth-Century Women Writers and the Gentleman’s Liberation Movement (Ashgate, 2011) and has published essays on Jane Austen, Frances Burney, and Jane West.


Much of the writing, editing, and correspondence for this volume was completed during the Coronavius (Covid-19) pandemic. I am immensely thankful to all the contributors for their tremendous efforts to bring this work to fruition. I am not fully cognizant of all the difficulties they endured to complete their chapters on time, but I am aware of some. When we all agreed to take on this project, none of us could have imagined we would be researching, writing, and communicating in various stages of lockdown, quarantine, caretaking, and sickness. I know that many of the authors have experienced sincere personal and familial crises that have complicated the completion of their work, most have endured extremely difficult remote teaching responsibilities, and some have taken over challenging administrative roles. I am also extremely grateful to the editorial staff at Routledge, especially Michelle Salyga and Bryony Reece, who have been extremely supportive and informative throughout the entire process, especially during the pandemic. Thank you all for your collaboration, support, and expertise. Lehigh University has been a consistent supporter of my research. I am specifically appreciative of my colleagues Lorenzo Servitje, Kate Crassons, Suzanne Edwards, Scott Gordon, Beth Dolan, Lyndon Dominique, Dawn Keetley, Ed Whitley, Kate Bullard, Deep Singh, Sarita Jayanty Mizin, Fathima Wakeel, and Alan Synder. I am also very grateful for all my students who have persistently challenged me to think in new and creative ways; your efforts have always been impactful. Thanks to my former teachers, Debbie Lee, Claudia L. Johnson, Albert Rivero, John Ehrstine, Ron Bieganowski, S. J., Victor Villanueva, and Virginia Hyde, all of whom played vital roles in my education. I remain especially grateful to Carol Siegel for all that she has done and continues to do to teach me.

Acknowledgements xiii

I am very appreciative of the love, grace, and friendship of my parents, brothers, and sisters—and a family that rather generously continues to grow. I would like to believe Dad would have appreciated parts of this book; I hope Mom will enjoy some as well. Finally, thanks to Rita, Nicholas, and Jackson, whose love makes all of this possible. Let’s think of some new crazy ideas soon, perhaps even some silly ones.










Emma. Edited by Richard Cronin and Dorothy McMillan. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Juvenilia. Edited by Peter Sabor. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Jane Austen’s Letters (3rd edition). Edited by Deirdre Le Faye. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995. Later Manuscripts. Edited by Janet Todd and Linda Bree. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Mansfield Park. Edited by John Wiltshire. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Northanger Abbey. Edited by Barbara M. Benedict and Deirdre Le Faye. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Persuasion. Edited by Janet Todd and Antje Blank. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Pride and Prejudice. Edited by Pat Rogers. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Sense and Sensibility. Edited by Edward Copeland. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.


In her discussion of Persuasion, Virginia Woolf points to Austen’s ambitious, perhaps even risky intellectual and artistic activity: “she is trying to do something which she has never yet attempted. There is a new element.”1 As Woolf observes, when we think in ways we have “never yet attempted,” we might uncover “a new element,” and when this happens, as she suggests about Austen, we “[begin] to discover that the world is larger, more mysterious, and more romantic than [we] had supposed.”2 Woolf’s assessment of Austen recalls the fundamental work of critical theory that helps us to appreciate the depth, variation, and even paradoxical qualities of our cultural, aesthetic, political, communal, and individual experiences. When I first started teaching critical theory, I was told to instruct students to apply philosophical ideas to literary texts; senior colleagues directed me to provide undergraduate and graduate students with a conceptual toolbox that they might mobilize to complete distinct readings. I have learned to ignore this advice, not merely because it does not accurately represent my sense of intellectual inquiry, but because I think it inhibits the efficacy of theory. I agree with Woolf that we learn to think differently, explore diverse possibilities, and understand numerous complications by exploring alternative critical and creative directions. Jonathan Culler, in his memorable assessment of “theory,” highlights this investigative process. He acknowledges that while it may tempt us to “desire mastery” and “organize and understand the phenomena that concern you,” it inevitably “makes mastery impossible, not only because there is always more to know, but, more specifically and more painfully, because theory is itself the questioning of presumed results and the assumptions on which they are based.”3 While the modern discipline of English often trains us to apply concepts to texts or assemble pragmatic approaches from which we might perform focused readings, critical theory is fundamentally about asking questions. When we study critical theory, we learn to formulate queries or even offer speculations—perhaps DOI: 10.4324/9781003181309-1

2 Michael Kramp

queries and speculations we had not yet imagined—and such epistemological processes are both destabilizing and formative. As Culler concludes, “the nature of theory is to undo … You have not become master, but neither are you where you were before. You reflect on your reading in new ways. You have different questions to ask.”4 When we ask these questions, we at once challenge assumptions, develop innovative ideas, and form potentially transformative relationships. To embrace the work of critical theory, in short, is to accept, like Austen, that the world might be or become “larger, more mysterious, and more romantic that [we] had supposed.”5 Throughout the past four decades, Austen scholarship has been rich, informative, and most assuredly prolific, and yet for a variety of reasons, it has not consistently engaged with critical theory. We have, instead, repeatedly returned to familiar modes of investigation to frame valuable discussions. Indeed, for much of the past forty years, Austen criticism has been focused around, and at times obsessed with, variations of three primary questions: (1) interrogations of her politics, broadly defined, including her fictions’ allegiance with and impact on issues such as gender dynamics, sexual desire, class conflict, military history, etc.; (2) meticulous explorations of her life and afterlives; and (3) various examinations of her distinctive style and its effects on her narratives, her characters, her artistry, and her readers. Scholarly responses to these questions have proved indispensable to our understanding of Austen and her writings, especially our attempts to grasp the cultural contexts of her life, novels, and afterlives. Several of the most important critical works of the past fifty years, for example, sought to historicize Austen’s fiction, life, or style within the turbulent post-Revolutionary period or re-historicize features of her afterlife, highlighting its versatile artistic and political utility. Austen studies has, no doubt, made tremendous contributions, and our pursuit of these investigations will continue to produce important scholarship, but the dearth of our engagement with the work of critical theory may have encouraged us to revert to established questions, comfortable methods, and permutations of what we think we know or do not (yet) know. My hope for this volume is that it helps us to re-relate to Austen. By no means am I suggesting that this volume invites us to experience her writing anew or provides the proverbial new directions in criticism. But the authors ask different kinds of questions that prompt alternative critical energies and integrate communities of thinkers often excluded from traditional Austen studies. Some of the questions asked by the contributors will appear recognizable; some may appear quite strange. At their core is an invitation to reimagine how we construct our relationships to Austen, her novels, her life, and her cultural importance. Do we seek mastery? Do we seek to complete a puzzle by adding a missing piece of information from history, the archives, her biography, or her afterlife? Do we seek to re-read a text or passage that may have become rote for us? Gilles Deleuze, in his brilliant “Letter to a Harsh Critic,” identifies a strategy—adopted by many of the authors in this volume—for re-forming our scholarly relationships to texts and authors. He methodically refutes a reader’s

Introduction 3

cynical comments, but acknowledges that “the bit I like in your letter, the bit I think is rather wonderful in fact, is where you say … what you yourself did with it.”6 Deleuze builds a peculiar connection with his reviewer, even expressing admiration for how the detractor used his writing—“what you yourself did with it.” For Deleuze, there is a vitality in the deployment of his work, even by a derisive critic, and he values the energy that doing things with his words engenders. The authors in this volume do things with Austen; they do not simply offer new interpretations of her novels, politics, life, afterlives, or style. They engage the work of critical theory to ask questions; and these questions initiate new kinds of conversations that may challenge our assumptions, make us uncomfortable, or even de-center “Austen.” They ultimately help us to reconsider our relationships to Austen and embrace a world that is “larger, more mysterious, and more romantic than [we] had supposed.”

Austen Studies and the Disconnect with Critical Theory Austen studies’ limited relationship with critical theory is tied to Austen’s longstanding appeal, her distinct status within the canon of British literature, and a pervasive perception of her novels as pedagogical instruments that must be decoded or clarified by experts. These factors are, of course, intertwined and impact our ongoing efforts to investigate Austen’s politics, life, and style. Thanks to the outstanding work of numerous critics, we now have a deeper appreciation for the way early biographical writing by Austen’s extended family constructed “Jane Austen” as an affectionate, devout, and withdrawn woman writer whose books supposedly eschewed the intellectual and cultural dynamics that might benefit from or even require the questions of critical theory. Henry Austen’s “Biographical Notice of the Author” (1818), James Edward Austen-Lehigh’s A Memoir of Jane Austen (1869, 1871), and the first edition of the (selected) Letters of Jane Austen (1884), collected by her great nephew, Lord Brabourne, all helped solidify Austen’s enduring popularity following her death, but they also honed the identity of the author as “Dear Aunt Jane” and directed, perhaps even stultified, how we read her novels.7 Claudia L. Johnson argues that these texts promoted Janeitism—“the self-consciously idolatrous enthusiasm for ‘Jane’”—and explains how such worship is “spurred on by … biographical information about the quaint and saintly obscure spinster aunt who lived in a quieter time.”8 Austen’s popular allure, established quickly following her death, incites her cult-like appreciation, and, as Deidre Lynch acknowledges, such “popularity and marketability appear in some way to threaten Austen’s canonicity.”9 Austen’s perpetual and widespread appeal has, of course, never truly endangered her canonical standing, but as Lynch points out, “a customary method of establishing one’s credentials as a reader of Austen has been to regret that others simply will insist on liking her in inappropriate ways.”10 As scholars, we presume we know how to like her work, how to approach her novels, how to teach her corpus, perhaps even how best to adapt or popularize her stories;

4 Michael Kramp

likewise, as scholars, we tend to believe that Janeites and other amateur readers lack or await such knowledge, and we frequently question or even shun those critics or students who dare shift the discussion or initiate new conversations. This rather arrogant attitude, tied to what Nicholas Dames discusses as “the nature of possessive love,” has restricted the reach of critical theory within Austen studies.11 We have all too often jettisoned emergent questions as unnecessary, relegated new participants as marginal, or dismissed alternative methods as dangerous. The well-documented legacy of Austen’s enduring popular appeal has discouraged critics from asking some questions, and it has also prompted us to persist with specific investigations about her pedagogical function, the historical contexts of her life and writings, and her unique position in the history of British literature. Scholars frequently quote F.R. Leavis’s insistence that “Jane Austen, in fact, is the inaugurator of the great tradition of the English novel” to affirm Austen’s place in the canonical study of literature.12 Leavis praises Austen as “one of the truly great writers … [who] not only makes tradition for those coming after, but her achievement has for us a retroactive effect … [H]er work, like the work of all great creative writers, gives a meaning to the past.” Austen, for Leavis, is an exceptional individual talent, and she also helps us to understand the progression of history, the “potentialities and significances brought out in such a way that, for us, she creates the tradition we see leading down to her.”13 He effectively places Austen on a literary pedestal: she is a phenomenal artist and makes our own history clear to us, providing a connection to an inherited past. Woolf adopts similar language, accentuating the vast applicability of Austen’s narratives: “she was writing for everybody, for nobody, for our age, for her own.”14 Woolf upholds the comprehensive reach of Austen while praising her ability to “[keep] to her compact; she never trespassed beyond her boundaries.”15 Even the groundbreaking African American philosopher and public intellectual Cornell West adores Austen’s work because “it’s all about wisdom, how to live” and dubs her “the daughter of Shakespeare.”16 West, likewise, employs universalist language when he claims “Jane Austen, like all the great artists, raises the questions of what does it mean to be human?”17 We now recognize that Austen is not merely a “great” writer who addresses “universal” issues. Johnson, Lynch, Devoney Looser, Clara Tuite, and others have written vital scholarship illustrating the politicized deployments of Austen within university curriculums and beyond—deployments that serve national, patriarchal, imperial, even militaristic agendas.18 These functions depend upon her distinctive canonical status, including her universality, her purported affinity with a white, male, heterosexual legacy, her restraint, and her ostensible wisdom. Austen holds a particular, even paradoxical position within the canon. She is a woman writer who belongs within (at the start of?) a male tradition of letters, who somehow speaks to and relates to all of us, and who remains controlled, even limited in her scope; we do not require extensive training to read and enjoy her stories, yet a vast array of academic and amateur experts stand ready to clarify elusive meanings. Austen is canonical and exceptional, and while her anomalous status has secured the cultural importance of her writings and life, it has also discouraged us

Introduction 5

from engaging with the work of critical theory that might complicate, destabilize, or even reshape this status. Austen’s distinct position in the canon, moreover, has guided how we teach, study, and transmit her legacy as an incomparable figure who offers pedagogical, ethical, even political insights that must be decoded through judicious—and seemingly predetermined—interpretative strategies. While Leavis identifies Austen as the foundation of his Great Tradition, he does not devote extensive attention to her work, concluding that “since Jane Austen, for special reasons, needs to be studied at considerable length, I confine myself to [George Eliot, Henry James, and Joseph Conrad].”19 Leavis extols her, but quickly moves on to writers whom he might study efficiently in dialogue, leaving Austen for others to scrutinize in single-author monographs. His methodological decision has influenced our practices as teachers and scholars, as we still often write books and teach courses about Austen in isolation. In addition, we continue to believe that such a technique is justified because of Austen’s elite standing and remarkable style. Helena Kelly argues in her popular study Jane Austen: The Secret Radical that Austen “was anticipating that her readers would understand how to read between the lines, how to mine her books for meaning.”20 Kelly insists, “if we want to be the best readers … we have to read, and we have to read carefully.”21 Her rather simple-sounding advice is foundational to Austen scholarship; the narratives supposedly contain information that must be excavated by attentive readers, many of whom, like Kelly, draw on cultural and historical contexts to reveal meanings, including subtle political messages. But according to Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, many of the messages we derive from the novels are not so subtle, at least for some. She makes clear that “Austen criticism is notable mostly not just for its timidity and banality but for its unresting exaction of the spectacle of a Girl Being Taught a Lesson.”22 Sedgwick points to the predictability of critical approaches to Austen as well as our penchant for using her novels as training manuals to discipline young women; we teach, read, and build hermeneutics so that the novels might relay instructions and detail examples. Sedgwick importantly adds that “this history of impoverished ‘Jane Austen’ readings is not the result of a failure by readers to ‘contextualize historically.’”23 Sedgwick levied her critique in the early 1990s, and in many ways we have responded with the relentless historicism of Austen, often looking to highlight political features of her corpus, revisit Marilyn Butler’s foundational claims about the novels’ purported anti-Jacobinism, or elucidate feminist implications of her work.24 Such methods have directed our scholarly ambitions to enunciate refined insights of the novels, reveal their often underappreciated historical contexts, or track unknown features of Austen’s afterlives, but they have also encouraged us to sustain established approaches, discouraging us from engaging with the work of critical theory that might incite new questions, and inhibiting new relationships with Austen that might open us to alternative critical communities beyond tight-knit groups of Austen scholars and admirers. Critical theory is most assuredly not a panacea for all scholarly inquiries, but it invites us to reconsider our methods and assumptions, especially methods and

6 Michael Kramp

assumptions that may have become habitual. Its absence in Austen scholarship is notable, but several scholars writing in the early 2000s modeled its efficacy, especially its capacity to form new kinds of queries and speculations. The Postcolonial Jane Austen, edited by You-me Park and Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, was an early example. In her introduction, Rajan explains how “reading Austen postcolonially is not one critical ‘approach’ among others, uniquely propagated by ‘postcolonial’ critics, but rather, an inescapable historical imperative in our times.”25 She highlights the need to “set Austen ‘in the world’” and concludes, “Why we read Jane Austen is also a function of how we read Jane Austen.”26 Rajan does not merely offer a postcolonial lens or apply a postcolonial theory; instead, she challenges us to embrace urgent questions about how and why we read an assemblage of stories we thought we knew. Tuite’s Romantic Austen: Sexual Politics and the Literary Canon also encourages us to pursue new strategies and helps us rethink how we have used Austen—and how we might use Austen—within and beyond the discipline of English. Tuite engages with the ideas of Pierre Bourdieu, Judith Butler, Michael Warner, and Sedgwick, amongst others, to reevaluate the function of Austen. For Tuite, “literary culture is one particular form of national culture, a set of cultural formations by which a nation represents itself to itself and to others.”27 She illustrates how “Austen has been appropriated for a particular British national reproductive myth of heterosexual romance,” and engages with Warner’s concept of “repronarrativity” to explore “the terms of a queer appropriation of Austen.”28 Finally, D.A. Miller’s Jane Austen, or the Secret of Style offers an invigorating rereading of specific moments in the novels, drawing on Barthes’s idea of “the brute intimacy of style—as the ‘decorative voice of hidden, secret flesh.’”29 Miller’s book is almost universally admired, in part because he seemingly adopts established strategies of investigating the brilliance of Austen’s style and uncovering “secret” interpretations of passages and scenes. His methods, however, also draw explicitly on post-structural theories that have radical implications. For example, he explains how “Austen’s work most fundamentally consists in dematerializing the voice that speaks it.”30 Austen’s style, according to Miller, offers an alluring experience for our sense of self, transforming our conceptions of subjectivity, relationality, and desire. Others writing in proximity to this period offered similarly important interventions with critical theory, but we have not sustained these kinds of relationships in Austen studies; and while we, no doubt, still value the work of Miller, Tuite, and Park and Rajan, I am not certain we fully appreciated the impacts and possibilities that their projects introduced. I know I did not. Subsequent self-conscious disciplinary reflections about the value—indeed, very purpose—of literary scholarship may have temporarily sapped our energy for theoretically informed questions; such ongoing reflections, however, may have ultimately helped to inspire invigorating new directions for humanistic inquiry, especially within Austen studies.

Introduction 7

The Function of Criticism at the Present Time, the Humanities, and the Efficacy of Austen Bruno Latour’s influential “Why Has Critique Run Out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern” may offer an anxious response—of sorts—to the kinds of sparkling readings that Miller performs. Latour questions, “Is it really the task of the humanities to add deconstruction to deconstruction? More iconoclasm to iconoclasm? What has become of the critical spirit? Has it run out of steam?”31 Latour interrogates the merits of critical methods that have become entrenched or inappropriately deployed and cautions about the possible ramifications of such stagnation on the training of future scholars. He specifically urges us “to renew … the critical mind” and make it “relevant again.”32 His article served as a threshold moment for many in the humanities. If the work we were ostensibly trained to complete had truly “run out of steam,” what should we do now? And how should we rationalize our value amidst proliferating refrains of the “crisis of humanities” within—and beyond—institutions of higher learning?33 He elaborates on this idea in “An Attempt at a ‘Compositionist Manifesto,’” in which he makes clear both the limits and preconditions of critique: “with critique, you may debunk, reveal, unveil, but only as long as you establish, through this process of creative destruction, a privileged access to the world of reality behind the veils of appearances.”34 Latour’s assessment of critique recalls longstanding practices within Austen studies of carefully reading the novels for lost meanings, hidden political ideas, and applicable lessons. This hermeneutic strategy has secured the “privileged access” that Austen scholars use both to craft their expertise and to preserve Austen’s standing as a canonical and popular authority. The arguments of Latour were unsettling, especially for those of us who were trained to establish historical context, read literature for resistance, or make visible ideas that were supposedly obscure. Of what value were our skills to study, teach, and explain the intricacies of texts—including Austen’s stories—that remained adored in and out of the academy? Was there still any purpose for critique or even any cultural importance left for humanistic study? Prominent thinkers such as Rita Felski, Caroline Levine, and Toril Moi responded to the concerns of Latour, establishing a vibrant discussion on the function of literary studies, the dominance of extant critical approaches, and various challenges and opportunities for the future of the humanities. In The Limits of Critique, Felski echoes many of Latour’s claims and openly wonders: “What intellectual and imaginative alternatives does [critique] overshadow, obscure, or overrule? What are the costs of such ubiquitous criticality?”35 She encourages us to “[free] up literary studies to embrace a wider range of affective styles and modes of argument,” and specifically suggests we might reconsider our relationships to texts: “we might place ourselves in front of the text, reflecting on what it unfurls, calls forth, makes possible”; we might conceptualize the text “as something that makes a difference, that helps makes [sic] things happen.”36 Levine, like Latour and Felski, enunciates concerns about

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routinized modes of investigation, recalling specific frustration with the omnipresence of historicism, which she claims “felt like a narrowing of the intellectual world.” She reflects: “Deconstructive approaches might be exciting, but they were increasingly called self-indulgent; historicism might feel laborious, but it was about power and injustice—serious business.”37 Austen studies, throughout the last four decades, has vigorously pursued both the ostensibly “serious business” of historicism and the ongoing work of “ubiquitous criticality,” seeking to “unmask, expose, subvert, unravel, demystify, destabilize.”38 And scholars have, no doubt, revealed much about Austen’s life and corpus; indeed, one of the most prominent developments has been our renewed appreciation for how her texts, her life and afterlives, her politics, even her style “[help] make things happen”—and fail to create other impacts or reach other communities. Award-winning scholarship such as Johnson’s Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures and Looser’s The Making of Jane Austen modeled creative methods, invited new dialogues, and even reframed the place of Austen within traditional understandings of the humanities; in addition, works by Looser, Johnson, and others reminded us that people outside of academia had long deployed Austen’s life and texts, as Deleuze suggests, to do things. While much academic writing on Austen continues to rely upon familiar methods, as early as the 1990s scholars used more public forums to ask compelling questions and form different kinds of relationships with Austen, her life, and her stories. Terry Castle, in her review of Deirdre Le Faye’s new edition of Austen’s letters, raised alarm amongst scholars and devotees alike by pointing to the “underlying eros … of the sister–sister bond” and the “primordial bond” between Jane and Cassandra. Castle observed how Austen “constantly invites her sister to think about her—about her precise location in space, or about the various physical sensations that either soothe or discomfit her.”39 Castle’s article broached possibilities, including possibilities that made many uneasy; she invited us to rethink our conceptions about Austen and her stories, and reimagine the potential impacts of her writings, especially for alternative communities of people who might do things differently with them. Johnson’s influential review of Patricia Rozema’s filmic adaptation of Mansfield Park (1999), likewise, pointed to the generative potential of Austen. Johnson fully acknowledged that the film would anger some viewers because of the “powerful nostalgia [that] motivates many assumptions about Austen, who is imagined to have celebrated a life that unfolded before the advent of the ills of modernity—such as doubt, war and, more recently, feminism and multiculturalism.” Johnson, however, praised the film: “At last a director has treated Austen not as a sacred text or museum piece but as a living presence.”40 Rozema, per Deleuze’s harsh critic, did something with Austen; the filmmaker asked compelling questions, pursued creative directions, and initiated alternative relationships with a narrative we thought we knew. We still experience conservative tendencies within Austen studies, but writers, artists, and critics have continued to use public venues to discuss her life, novels, style,

Introduction 9

and politics, perpetually highlighting her ongoing importance to core ideas within the humanities—and these works have fostered and exposed new kinds of communities, including some that have disturbed liberal academics. Nicole M. Wright’s frequently discussed “Alt-Right Jane Austen” introduced a specific conversation on the popularity of Austen within neo-conservative online venues, and while she drew on familiar issues such as canonicity, popular appeal, and politics, she integrated these topics with specific questions about race, including the ambitions of white supremacists. She notes that for alt-right groups aiming to promote visions of “a vanished white traditional culture … Austen is not a trailblazer for the female authors who followed in her wake, but rather a rebuke to women who have not reached her level of achievement.”41 Wright synthesized inquiries about race, gender, and literary authority, and her article helped to foster a public dialogue with writers such as Daunta Kean, Olivia Murphy, and Ayesha Mattu and Nura Maznavi.42 None of these thinkers cites established figures in Critical Race Theory or postcolonial studies, but they all open up new avenues, consider alternative deployments of Austen, and interrogate the kinds of communities we form and support as reputed experts within the humanities. While neither Mattu nor Maznavi is an academic Austen scholar, their brilliant essay builds upon Wright’s article to isolate “a failure of the white imagination.” They consider the various Austen updates and indicate how “none of these movies or books conceive of a world where the themes of Austen’s books center the lives and loves of people of color”; they illustrate how “this racial myopia from liberal institutions—which fundamentally limit Austen’s universal themes—serves as a direct line to the so-called alt-right claiming Austen for themselves.”43 This consistent failure of the white imagination, according to Mattu and Maznavi, is an inability of our liberal humanistic institutions—our scholars, our artists, our writers—to fathom, recreate, and share amongst more diverse audiences the supposed universality of Austen that Leavis, Woolf, and West all admired. While Wright suggests that alt-right groups are effectively using Austen to promote their visions of white purity, Mattu and Maznavi remind us how liberal institutions like Hollywood and academic humanities departments facilitate such efforts by refusing to engender alternative communities, ask different questions, or do new things with her stories. No end appears in sight to public discussions of Austen, many of which identify her importance to vital questions of the humanities—and in turn remind us of the crucial need for the humanities within our current moment. Dames’s “Jane Austen is Everything,” for example, reviews scholarship by Kelly and Looser but also asks a compelling question that could frame a first-year seminar: “How modern is Austen—and are we still modern in the same way?” Like Wright and Mattu and Maznavi, Dames couches his discussion within the larger context of a civilized society experiencing crisis. He explains how “the balance between self and society is the core dream of a liberal world: a place where individuals might be both sufficient unto themselves and possessed of rights accordingly, but also bound to one

10 Michael Kramp

another in a pact of mutual correction.” According to Dames, this vision—or perhaps “fantasy”—of “civil society” is Austen’s and “still ours.” He creatively speculates about a time when we no longer read Austen and reflects: “if and when that time arrives, we will know that her comic ideal, of spirited, rightsholding individuals living in social concord, no longer seems appealing, or viable, and that her idea of what it means to be an individual is no longer recognizable.”44 Dames dares to ask a question we rarely, if ever, consider within the canonical study of Austen, and his comments foreground the import of her stories to our contemporary understandings of individual liberty, the role of community, and the efficacy of art. In “Why We Turn to Jane Austen in Dark Times,” Janice Hadlow also considers Austen’s affinity with cultural uncertainty and the humanities. She claims that Austen’s “power to connect with us in hard times arises not because her retired life shielded her from grief, pain, and fear—but because she knew very well what it was like to feel vulnerable, exposed, and anxious.” Hadlow points to “a toughness in Austen” that offers “an altogether more bracing prescription of how to respond to terrible events … a product of her constant exposure to a steady stream of human tragedies.” She reframes a familiar question, and rather than accentuating placid respite, romantic escape, or even amusement, identifies a “resilience” in Austen: “we cannot afford, Austen suggests, to allow ourselves the bitter pleasure of surrendering to terrible events. We need to find a little iron in our souls if we’re not to be crushed by the horrors the world throws at us.”45 While we may associate discussions of adaptivity and responsiveness with STEM disciplines or discourses of evolution, technology, and health, Hadlow reminds us of the resilience that is fundamental to Austen and its importance to our human experiences of sorrow, endurance, and tenacity. Diverse writers like Dames and Hadlow present Austen as an integral contributor to longstanding humanistic inquiries, and they invite us to pursue additional questions:    

How might we build and maintain civil society alongside increasing diversity and amidst increasing disparity? How might individuals respond resiliently to new challenges, including explicit hatred and discord? Can we develop or rebuild relationships with communities that we have neglected, dismissed, or intentionally subordinated? And do literary and cultural experiences of Austen help us to address such queries?

We need to continue to ask new questions and welcome new methods, especially as we face emergent threats to the humanities. In their introduction to Critique and Postcritique, Elizabeth S. Anker and Felski conclude: A recurring theme in discussions of postcritique is the urgency of crafting new rationales—and updating our old ones—for the value of the arts and

Introduction 11

humanities. We can no longer assume that a stance of negativity and opposition is sufficient to justify the aesthetic or social importance of literature or our practice as critics.46 As the public writing on Austen has made clear, the future of the humanities will not be isolated in libraries, archives, or scholarly journals, and our critical and creative energies will continue to generate relationships beyond the academy. Joseph North, in Literary Criticism: A Concise Political History, claims that “what needs now to be emphasized is the critical paradigm’s potential as a source of alternatives to the presently dominant mode … what useful contributions literary studies might be able to make to the struggle for a better society in this new period, beyond the ‘scholarly turn.’”47 And Anna Kornbluh specifically encourages us to move away from critical practices that promoted “formedness and [imagined] politics as demolition”; instead, she invites us to take seriously art’s potential “to create a just collective amidst desperate interdependence … The work of building—not just resisting but reconstituting; not just breaking forms but making new ones.”48 Austen has played a vital role in depicting modern cultures, establishing the discipline of English, even shaping humanistic values; her life and work have also been deployed for educational, revolutionary, national, imperial, militaristic, and racist ends. We now have an opportunity to rethink how we will use and relate to Austen: what we will do with her texts, what kinds of communities we will form around her work, and whether we will be open to new questions and methods that expose the world to be “larger, more mysterious, and more romantic than [we] had supposed.” Austen scholars’ pursuit of these and other questions can become essential to the future work of the humanities both in and out of the academy.

Jane Austen and Critical Theory The authors in this volume illustrate why Austen remains a key voice for central issues in the humanities, including the future of the individual within a liberal society, the diversity of desire, the generative impacts of art, legacies of racial oppression, and the power of resilience to build different and more just futures. Throughout their arguments, they ask new questions, even at times decentering Austen. In Revolution of the Ordinary, Moi concludes: “If I don’t speak up, I will never discover whether there can be a community that includes me. Maybe there isn’t, at least not right now. To write is to risk rebuff.”49 The authors in this volume often adopt Moi’s thinking, and while they “risk rebuff,” they also embrace dynamic critical and creative relationships. They build upon the recent public writing that has enunciated bold and at times disruptive queries and help to reposition Austen within alternative communities. While the volume maintains an organizational structure, the authors also speak across sections, reminding us of how humanistic inquiries inevitably become complex, at times messy.

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Several of the chapters in the volume pursue questions of the individual’s identity within social networks of power. Isabelle Michalski and David Sigler (Chapter 4) and Daniela Garofalo (Chapter 5), for example, complicate our conceptions of social formation, domination, and relationality. They reconsider scenes and characters we know well by drawing on the ideas of Lacan, inviting us to rethink how we craft and use identity within communities. Enit Karafili Steiner (Chapter 6) engages Judith Butler and others to address autonomy and precarity in Mansfield Park. Steiner, like Garofalo and Michalski and Sigler, demonstrates the importance of Austen to our modern notion of the individual, the challenges of social relationships, and emergent communal possibilities. Kate Singer (Chapter 8) and Chris Washington (Chapter 9) also explore such possibilities. Washington’s “Jane Austen’s Angry Inch” shows the potential for a nonbinary future in Austen’s writing—a potential that disrupts the cisheteropatriachal regimes of thought and being. Singer employs the possibility of alternative ontologies to develop distinct ways of knowing Fanny Price. Washington and Singer discuss Austen alongside traditions of racial and sexual oppression and use her writings to envision new ways of being in the world. Indeed, all of these thinkers remind us of the importance of Austen to our conceptions of the individual’s role within civil society and invite us to consider what this role might become. Contributors also explicitly borrow from other disciplines to develop nuanced questions. Shawn Lisa Maurer (Chapter 10), for example, draws upon concepts from neuroscience and psychology to treat Austen’s role in theorizing modern notions of adolescence. Natasha Duquette (Chapter 7) works closely with theological discourses and scriptural analysis to query the function of Sophia Croft in Persuasion. Both Maurer and Duquette prompt us not just to reexamine characters or novels, but ultimately to reevaluate how we study and deploy Austen’s stories. Chris Nagle (Chapter 11) turns to film studies, and specifically the study of film sound, to track the materiality of our sonic experiences in Austenian film adaptations, while Kit Kincade (Chapter 12) uses prominent sociological theories to discuss Wickham’s toxicity, especially within popular adaptations. These chapters remind us of the interdisciplinary reach of Austen criticism, but they also illustrate what happens when scholars decenter Austen, allowing different communities of knowledge to direct our inquiries. Megan Woodworth, Joanne Wilkes, Rebecca White, and Sarah Ailwood (Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 13) all investigate Austen’s affinity for such different kinds of communities and communal relations. White places Austen’s postmodern afterlives alongside Enlightenment feminist thought and points to tensions within networks created by YouTube fanvids and spin-offs. Woodworth discusses how biographical studies of Austen have restricted the ways in which we think about her life, resulting in both conservative ideologies and alternative possibilities. Wilkes identifies the communities built around and through Austen in Australia and New Zealand and illustrates a racist myopia in Austen studies as well as explicit imperial deployments of her novels by white settler cultures. Finally, Ailwood highlights the importance of Austen to feminist legal thinking and

Introduction 13

points to the vital legacy of her work today. All four of these contributors help us to reflect on how we use—and might use—Austen to form communities still in the process of becoming. Austen scholarship has assuredly not run out of steam, but there is, likewise, a need for more questions. Jane Austen and Critical Theory asks some important questions and invites some new dialogues, but this volume is assuredly limited. In particular, it does not contribute enough to the kind of transformative work on race by scholars such as Catherine E. Ingrassia, Victoria Baugh, and Patricia A. Matthew.50 The volume also points to the need for more writing on alternative identities, communities, and desires within Austen. And the authors repeatedly remind us of Austen’s importance as a central figure within the humanities. Matthew’s profound essay “On Teaching, but Not Loving, Jane Austen” recounts her conflicted relationship with Austen; but she notes how her “coolness toward her novels invites my students to read her thoughtfully without worrying that they have to come up with the ‘right’ interpretation.”51 I hope this collection helps us move beyond similar anxieties within Austen studies— anxieties surrounding “right” interpretations, proper methods and deployments, or acceptable communities. We could, no doubt, benefit from additional flexibility to ask different kinds of questions and establish new kinds of relationships; and such openness and versatility will expand the reach of Austen within the humanities. Austen is a vital figure within intellectual, artistic, and political circles, and as we navigate ongoing crises of racial injustice, sexual inequities, civil unrest, global disparities, and the decline of human rights, her art remains integral to our work. The study of Austen may not directly solve grand problems, but if we ask new questions about her work, it can help revitalize the humanities for uncertain futures that are “larger, more mysterious, and more romantic than [we] had supposed.”

Notes 1 Virginia Woolf, “Jane Austen,” in The Common Reader, 1st Series (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1925), 147. 2 Ibid. 3 Jonathan Culler, Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 16. 4 Ibid. 5 Woolf, 147. 6 Gilles Deleuze, “Letter to a Harsh Critic,” in Negotiations, 1972–1990, trans. Martin Joughin (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), 9. 7 See, for example, Deidre Lynch, ed., Janeites: Austen’s Disciples and Devotees (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000) and Claudia L. Johnson, Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012). 8 Claudia L. Johnson, “Austen Cults and Cultures,” in The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen (2nd edition), ed. Edward Copeland and Juliet McMaster (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 232. 9 Deidre Lynch, “Introduction: Sharing with Our Neighbors,” in Janeites: Austen’s Disciplines and Devotees, ed. Deidre Lynch (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), 10. 10 Ibid., 7.

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11 Nicholas Dames, “Jane Austen is Everything,” The Atlantic, September 2017, www. theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/jane-austen-is-everything/534186/. 12 F.R. Leavis, The Great Tradition: George Eliot, Henry James, Joseph Conrad (New York: New York University Press, 1963), 7. 13 Ibid., 5. 14 Woolf, 139. 15 Ibid., 140. 16 Cornel West, “Power and Freedom in Jane Austen’s Novels,” Persuasions 34 (2012), 111 (original emphasis). 17 Ibid., 112. 18 See, for example, Clara Tuite, Romantic Austen: Sexual Politics and the Literary Canon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 1–27; Lynch, ed., Janeites: Austen’s Disciples and Devotees, 3–24; Johnson, Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures, 68–98; and Devoney Looser, The Making of Jane Austen (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017), 1–11. 19 Leavis, 1. 20 Helena Kelly, Jane Austen: The Secret Radical (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2017), 30. 21 Ibid., 33. 22 Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, “Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl,” Critical Inquiry 17 (1991), 833. 23 Ibid., 836. 24 See, specifically, Marilyn Butler, Jane Austen and the War of Ideas (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975). While we have certainly learned to question Butler’s claim that “Jane Austen’s novels belong decisively to one class of partisan novels, the conservative,” our scholarly approaches still often assume, as Butler foregrounded, that “Jane Austen is by common consent an author remarkably sure of her values” (ibid., 1). Claudia L. Johnson’s groundbreaking study Jane Austen: Women, Politics, and the Novel (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988) was one of the first scholarly attempts to rethink Austen’s politics. She brilliantly explains why “political analysis cannot be left at the level of identifying an author’s sympathies with this or that administration,” then adds: “Most of the novels written in the ‘war of ideas’ are more complicated and less doctrinaire than modern commentators have represented” (ibid., xxi). 25 Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, “Austen in the World: Postcolonial Mappings,” in The Postcolonial Jane Austen, ed. You-me Park and Rajeswari Sunder Rajan (London: Routledge, 2000), 3. 26 Ibid., 3, 21 (original emphasis). 27 Tuite, 16. 28 Ibid., 19, 18. 29 D.A. Miller, Jane Austen, or the Secret of Style (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 20. 30 Ibid., 6–7 (original emphasis). 31 Bruno Latour, “Why Has Critique Run out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern,” Critical Inquiry 30, no. 2 (2002), 225. 32 Ibid., 231. 33 See, for example, Michael Bérubé and Cary Nelson’s influential collection Higher Education under Fire: Politics, Economics, and the Crisis of the Humanities (New York: Routledge, 1995). 34 Bruno Latour, “An Attempt at a ‘Compositionist Manifesto,’” New Literary History 41, no. 3 (2010), 475. 35 Rita Felski, The Limits of Critique (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015), 5. 36 Ibid., 3, 12. 37 Caroline Levine, Forms: Whole, Rhythm, Hierarchy, Network (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015), ix.

Introduction 15

38 Felski, 5. 39 Terry Castle, “Sister–Sister,” London Review of Books, August 3, 1995, www.lrb.co.uk/ the-paper/v17/n15/terry-castle/sister-sister. 40 Claudia L. Johnson, “This is a ‘Mansfield Park’ Worth Visiting,” Los Angeles Times, December 20, 1999, www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1999-dec-20-ca-45689-story. html. 41 Nicole M. Wright, “Alt-Right Jane Austen,” Chronicle of Higher Education, March 12, 2017, www.chronicle.com/article/alt-right-jane-austen/. 42 See, specifically, Daunta Kean, “Pride and Racial Prejudice—Why the Far Right Loves Jane Austen,” Guardian, March 21, 2017, www.theguardian.com/books/shortcuts/ 2017/mar/21/pride-and-racial-prejudice-why-the-far-right-loves-jane-austen; Olivia Murphy, “Regency Lives Matter: Jane Austen So White? Not So Fast …,” ABC Religion & Ethics, April 7, 2017, www.abc.net.au/religion/regency-lives-matter-jane-austen-sowhite-not-so-fast-/10095894#:~:text=Not%20So%Fast%20…,-Olivia%20Murphy&text= To%20be%20perfectly%20clear%2C%Jane,long%20after%20she%20had%20died; and Aye sha Mattu and Nura Maznavi, “Jane Austen and the Persistent Failure of the White Imagination,” Medium.com, May 15, 2017, https://medium.com/the-establishment/jane-austen-a nd-the-persistent-failure-of-the-white-imagination-9a3c75c4bb5d; See also, Marcos Gonsalez, “Recognizing the Enduring Whiteness of Jane Austen,” Literary Hub, December 11, 2019, https://lithub.com/recognizing-the-enduring-whiteness-of-jane-austen/. 43 Mattu and Maznavi. 44 Dames. 45 Janice Hadlow, “Why We Turn to Jane Austen in Dark Times,” Electric Literature, April 6, 2020, https://electricliterature.com/why-we-turn-to-jane-austen-in-dark-times. 46 Elizabeth S. Anker and Rita Felski, “Introduction,” in Critique and Postcritique, ed. Elizabeth S. Anker and Rita Felski (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017), 20. 47 Joseph North, Literary Criticism: A Concise Political History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017), 4. 48 Anna Kornbluh, The Order of Forms: Realism, Formalism, and Social Space (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019), 3, 5. 49 Toril Moi, Revolution of the Ordinary: Literary Studies after Wittgenstein, Austin, and Cavell (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017), 19. 50 See, for example, Catherine E. Ingrassia, “Emma, Slavery, and Cultures of Captivity,” Persuasions 38 (2017), 95–106; Victoria Baugh, “Mixed-Race Heiresses in EarlyNineteenth-Century Literature: Sanditon’s Miss Lambe in Context,” European Romantic Review 29, no. 4 (2018), 449–458; and Patricia Matthew, “Jane Austen and the Abolitionist Turn,” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 61, no. 4 (2019), 345–361. 51 Patricia A. Matthew, “On Teaching, but Not Loving, Jane Austen,” The Atlantic, June 23, 2017, www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/07/on-teaching-but-no t-loving-jane-austen/534012/.

Bibliography Anker, Elizabeth S. and Rita Felski. “Introduction.” In Critique and Postcritique, edited by Elizabeth S.Anker and Rita Felski, 1–28. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017. Baugh, Victoria. “Mixed-Race Heiresses in Early-Nineteenth-Century Literature: Sanditon’s Miss Lambe in Context.” European Romantic Review 29, no. 4 (2018): 449–458. Bérubé, Michael and Cary Nelson, eds. Higher Education under Fire: Politics, Economics, and the Crisis of the Humanities. New York: Routledge, 1995. Butler, Marilyn. Jane Austen and the War of Ideas. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975. Castle, Terry. “Sister–Sister.” London Review of Books, August 3, 1995. www.lrb.co.uk/ the-paper/v17/n15/terry-castle/sister-sister.

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Culler, Jonathan. Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford, 1997. Dames, Nicholas. “Jane Austen is Everything.” The Atlantic, September, 2017. www.thea tlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/jane-austen-is-everything/534186/. Deleuze, Gilles. “Letter to a Harsh Critic.” In Negotiations, 1972–1990, trans. Martin Joughin, 3–12. New York: Columbia University Press, 1995. Felski, Rita. The Limits of Critique. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. Gonsalez, Marcos. “Recognizing the Enduring Whiteness of Jane Austen,” Literary Hub, December 11, 2019, https://lithub.com/recognizing-the-enduring-whiteness-of-janeausten/. Hadlow, Janice. “Why We Turn to Jane Austen in Dark Times.” Electric Literature, April 6, 2020. https://electricliterature.com/why-we-turn-to-jane-austen-in-dark-times. Ingrassia, Catherine E. “Emma, Slavery, and Cultures of Captivity.” Persuasions 38 (2017): 95–106. Johnson, Claudia L. Women, Politics, and the Novel. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988. Johnson, Claudia L. “This is a ‘Mansfield Park’ Worth Visiting.” Los Angeles Times, December 20, 1999. www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1999-dec-20-ca-45689-story.html. Johnson, Claudia L. “Austen Cults and Cultures.” In The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen (2nd edition), edited by Edward Copeland and Juliet McMaster, 232–247. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Johnson, Claudia L. Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012. Kean, Daunta. “Pride and Racial Prejudice—Why the Far Right Loves Jane Austen.” Guardian, March 21, 2017. www.theguardian.com/books/shortcuts/2017/mar/21/p ride-and-racial-prejudice-why-the-far-right-loves-jane-austen. Kelly, Helena. Jane Austen: The Secret Radical. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2017. Kornbluh, Anna. The Order of Forms: Realism, Formalism, and Social Space. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019. Latour, Bruno. “Why Has Critique Run out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern.” Critical Inquiry 30, no. 2 (2004): 225–248. Latour, Bruno. “An Attempt at a ‘Compositionist Manifesto.’” New Literature History 41, no. 3 (2010): 471–490. Leavis, F.R. The Great Tradition: George Eliot, Henry James, Joseph Conrad. New York: New York University Press, 1963. Levine, Caroline. Forms: Whole, Rhythm, Hierarchy, Network. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015. Looser, Devoney. The Making of Jane Austen. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017. Love, Heather. “Truth and Consequences: On Paranoid Reading and Reparative Reading.” Criticism 52, no. 2 (2010): 235–241. Lynch, Deidre. “Introduction: Sharing with Our Neighbors.” In Janeites: Austen’s Disciplines and Devotees, edited by Deidre Lynch, 3–24. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000. Lynch, Deidre, ed. Janeites: Austen’s Disciplines and Devotees. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000. Matthew, Patricia A. “On Teaching, but Not Loving, Jane Austen.” The Atlantic, June 23, 2017. www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/07/on-teaching-but-not-lo ving-jane-austen/534012/.

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Matthew, Patricia A. “Jane Austen and the Abolitionist Turn.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 61, no. 4 (2019): 345–361. Mattu, Ayesha and Nura Maznavi. “Jane Austen and the Persistent Failure of the White Imagination.” Medium.com, May 15, 2017. https://medium.com/the-establishment/ja ne-austen-and-the-persistent-failure-of-the-white-imagination-9a3c75c4bb5d. Miller, D.A. Jane Austen, or the Secret of Style. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003. Moi, Toril. Revolution of the Ordinary: Literary Studies after Wittgenstein, Austin, and Cavell. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017. Murphy, Olivia. “Regency Lives Matter: Jane Austen So White? Not So Fast …” ABC Religion & Ethics, April 7, 2017. www.abc.net.au/religion/regency-lives-matter-jane-austenso-white-not-so-fast-/10095894#:~:text=Not%20So%Fast%20…,-Olivia%20Murphy& text=To%20be%20perfectly%20clear%2C%Jane,long%20after%20she%20had%20died. North, Joseph. Literary Criticism: A Concise Political History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017. Rajan, Rajeswari Sunder. “Austen in the World: Postcolonial Mappings.” In The Postcolonial Jane Austen, edited by You-me Park and Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, 3–25. London: Routledge, 2000. Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. “Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl.” Critical Inquiry 17, no. 4 (1991): 818–837. Tuite, Clara. Romantic Austen: Sexual Politics and the Literary Canon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. West, Cornel. “Power and Freedom in Jane Austen’s Novels.” Persuasions 34 (2012): 111–118. Woolf, Virginia. “Jane Austen.” In The Common Reader, 1st series, 137–149. New York: Harcourt, Brace, & World, Inc., 1925. Wright, Nicole M. “Alt-Right Jane Austen.” Chronicle of Higher Education, March 12, 2017. www.chronicle.com/article/alt-right-jane-austen/.right-jane-austen/.


The Cultural Work of Austen’s Life and Afterlives

1 LADY ORACLE Jane Austen as High Priestess of Modern Romance or Secret Icon of Female Independence Megan A. Woodworth

In 2007, I encountered my first Austen meme. In the style of the “I Can Has Cheezburger” cat meme, it featured a colorized close-up of the face from the Victorian engraving commissioned for James Edward Austen-Leigh’s Memoir of Jane Austen, with blocks of text reading “im in mah novels/ hidin mah subtex.” The meme juxtaposes the inane “dear Aunt Jane,” with her vacant expression, and the richness and complexity of her texts, championed by academics and subversive fan cultures alike.1 The tension between highly polished but insipid image and irreverent text is the visual representation of the problem of biographical mythmaking that continues to influence understandings of Jane Austen. In his introduction to the “Austen and Deleuze” special issue of Rhizomes, Michael Kramp reflects on the ways in which Austen’s image has been crafted and notes that academics have “often expressed a desire to congeal and contain ‘Austen’ in order to assert dominance over her work.”2 The same tendency exists in Austen biography, in ways that contribute to some of the same critical containment strategies. Kramp counters those who “insist upon reading Austen’s novels as an experience of the author’s opinions or advice,” framing Austen instead as a Deleuzian concept: “because of the immense reach and influence of her life and works[,] she has impacted a range of peoples, groups, and institutions, creating new kinds of relations and possibilities.” Each Deleuzian concept is “a combination that did not exist before”—this kind of energy would have a salutary effect on Austen biography.3 In “Literature and Life,” Gilles Deleuze claims writing “consists in inventing a people who are missing.”4 Biography answers this by shaping the facts of a life together into narrative, inventing a person who if not quite missing would be otherwise inscrutable to posterity. This sense of someone being missing has driven modern biographies of Austen, but despite the many attempts to fill her in, she is DOI: 10.4324/9781003181309-3

22 Megan A. Woodworth

still missing. Austen biography has relied on the same family authorities and has fallen into the narrative patterns expected in the biography of a woman, namely the marriage plot. In order to invent the missing Austen, one that better accords with an expansive and expanding sense of her life and novels that has emerged through our engagement with feminist critical theory, these patterns must be broken. Originally, this essay was to explore how the making of Austen as a biographical subject is filtered through reception of the novels to produce Jane Austen as an infallible oracle for romantic fulfillment. This particular Deleuzian concept of Jane Austen is recognizable to those who came of age during the 1990s Austen film craze, which as Emily Auerbach notes, tends to promote romance at the expense of other themes;5 it is perhaps unsurprising, then, that the sensibility of these adaptions was melded with the self-help genre to produce a profusion of Austen-themed guides to dating.6 Austen became a kind of oracle whose teachings could bring women the romance they desperately desired. But the story is more complicated because oracles, as David Shaw notes, can be Janus-faced, looking forward and backward at the same time.7 The Jane Austen that remains persistently, stubbornly present is “Jane” (sometimes “dear Aunt Jane”): the inoffensive, backward-looking oracle that seems to champion love and marriage as women’s ultimate fulfillment. She is the Jane Austen of girls being taught a lesson, bemoaned by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick.8 But there is another Jane Austen—“Austen,” whom Auerbach identifies as a serious philosopher, a purveyor of wisdom whose work must be taken seriously as such.9 Her exclusion from Shaw’s study, subtitled A History of Wisdom from Zeno to Yeats, is in many ways the legacy of her original biographers’ shaping of her story. The “faultless” Jane Austen, whose “temper was as polished as her wit” and whose compositions “came finished from her pen,” was constructed first by her brother Henry in his “Biographical Notice” and later elaborated on as “dear Aunt Jane” by her nephew.10 These narratives still have an oversized influence on our understanding of Austen’s life, but the tension between such pictures of perfection and her work has long invited skepticism. As Jason Solinger observes, Virginia Woolf sought “to supplant the familiar image of female craftwork (the little bit of ivory) with the figure of the master artist.”11 Woolf famously suggested that writing about Austen has a tendency to rouse the passions of “25 elderly gentlemen living in the neighbourhood of London, who resent any slight upon her genius as if it were an insult offered to the chastity of their aunts.”12 There is an important intersection here between the sensibilities of elderly gentlemen and protective impulses toward virgin aunts; of course, it recalls the relationship between Austen and her first biographer. More than that, however, it exposes the ways in which women—even those who remained single and are now dead—are valued primarily in terms of their marriageability and in reference to their utility to men’s lives (transmitting their property or leaving their honor unsullied). These are the sensibilities that govern the biographies of women, even when their lives do not fit neatly into the narrative.

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Woolf complains family biographies focused on the wrong details. Indeed, this could be said of many recent biographies. The attempts to find the missing Austen, obscured by family lore, excised by Cassandra’s knife, sacrificed to a fire, or otherwise obliterated, focus all too often on romance. But it is a wrong detail, so Austen will remain elusive. The missing Jane Austen is the forward-looking face—perhaps the sketch done by Cassandra that was found wanting by AustenLeigh and his siblings. Despite being declared unlike its subject, the sketch bears a strong resemblance to a portrait of young Frank Austen and also, as Annette Upfal and Christine Alexander argue, matches the Mary Queen of Scots miniature in The History of England.13 Modern critics have abused the sketch as amateurish and unattractive. But it is just disconcerting in its honesty: too much at odds with Austen-Leigh’s insipid facsimile. It is the face not of a sour young woman, but of one who is not performing for strangers. There needs to be more of her and less speculation about romantic disappointments or context or stories about family members. The missing Jane Austen, the forward-facing oracle, can be written with a conscious use of feminist theory to temper biography’s imposition of the marriage plot and its gendered expectations on the lives of real women. Erasing these embellishments from the traditional Jane Austen narrative will foreground Austen’s own choices and commitment to her profession, to present her as the author not simply of important literary works but of a life of her own.

Biography and Theory and the Woman Problem: Jane Austen as Case Study Biography has long grappled with its fiction problem, but it has yet to deal with its gendered narrative problem. On the slippage between biography and fiction, Hermione Lee observes that the details that anchor a life in its reality are just glimpses that must be knit together; thus, a biographer must compose a “whole out of parts” and give “a quasi-fictional, story-like shape to their material.”14 John Wiltshire concurs, suggesting “biography is a hybrid form, a compromise formation between fact and make-believe, in which imaginative possession continually comes up against, and engages with, stubborn resistance.”15 This dance is complicated, however, by less well-acknowledged narratives of gender expectations that creep, often unrecognized because ubiquitous, into biographies, and add an unnecessary fictional wrinkle to a form that clings to ideas of truth and objectivity. One truism stubbornly remains: men’s lives, whatever form they take, are, as Laura Marcus observes, viewed as “representative” in ways that women’s are not believed to be.16 Marcus traces how ideas about biography and autobiography were informed by theories of identity that posited male experience as “whole and continuous” and female experience as “fragmentary.”17 She offers Otto Weininger’s Sex and Character (1903) as an influential, disturbing, and ultimately representative example of the limited inner life ascribed to women. Weininger

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argues that because of woman’s focus on “sexual drive and reproduction”— which form her “one class of memories”—“A genuine woman never arrives at any consciousness of a destiny, her destiny.”18 This purported inability to make narrative sense of her life, Weininger concludes, prohibits women from existing in any meaningful sense. The conclusion is not simply “that women are effaced, subsumed into a supposedly universal selfhood which is in fact gendered male because all agency and identity are seen as masculine”; rather, Marcus clarifies, “It is that women, or ‘woman,’ must be presented as a negation in order for the male to be affirmed, as incoherent in order that male identity can be secured.”19 Ideas about biography, then, re-inscribe sexist ideology and are part of the apparatus of misogyny that philosopher Kate Manne defines as keeping women in “their place.”20 A solution would seem to be the application of feminist theory to writing biography; however, as Sharon O’Brien observes, theory is problematized by biography as a genre because it seems to betray objectivity. Because it is supposed to be “truth,” the “overt use of feminist theory explodes the possibility that [the biographer] should be writing from a neutral, objective, uncontaminated stance.”21 While O’Brien observes that such a posture is impossible, “the biographer who admits her own historical and theoretical context defies dominant assumptions about the genre and so takes a considerable risk.”22 But such risks must be taken in order to expose and root out the dangerous assumptions that underpin the standard narrative of a woman’s life. Indeed, Marcus and Carolyn Heilbrun, whose work I discuss below, demonstrate why feminist theory is needed to dissect the sexist assumptions that underpin the gendered narratives of biography, which take a narrative convention—for what are Weininger’s “sexual impulse and reproduction” but the marriage plot?—and present it as an objective account precluding female subjectivity. This narrative sits uncomfortably next to women whose activities deviated sufficiently from the marriage plot to make them worthy of memorialization in biography. Yet it persists, as Allison Booth explains: “As though to naturalize the different social destinies of men and women, criticism of women writers enforces the same biographical convention that shapes heroines in novels.”23 Heilbrun, whose seminal study Writing a Woman’s Life (1988) explores just this problem, points to how the gender dynamics of biography have “made certain facts unthinkable”:24 specifically, a woman’s life that consciously avoids marriage is unthinkable. Heilbrun describes marriage as “the most persistent of myths imprisoning women, and misleading those who write of women’s lives.”25 Indeed, if there is a switch to the more masculine quest plot, there must be an external event that shifts the woman “unconsciously.”26 Traditional biographies of Austen have suffered from this ailment, beginning with those first family forays into mythmaking. So how might a biography of Austen make the quest plot—the quest of an artist to produce art—more legible and break free from a plot of feminine respectability?

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Fear of the implications of female authorship is plainly seen in the first biographies of Austen. Indeed, though the number of women writing and publishing expanded through the eighteenth century, many still regarded the trend as an incursion on male territory. Jan Fergus points out that Matthew “Monk” Lewis fought to prevent his mother from publishing because he considered “a female author as a sort of halfman.”27 This helps to explain why, as Booth suggests, “literary women” were often forced “to invent ways to display exceptional powers that seem to transcend ordinary identity (mere womanhood) yet never to claim the self-determined authority of masculine hero or author.”28 In Austen’s case, her family conducted the cover-up, hiding extraordinary talent under an unexceptionable myth. The novels, however, have always challenged this narrative.29 Despite the evident fabrications in family accounts, modern biographers have done little to change what Marilyn Butler points out is still a family record.30 Wiltshire likens the effect of the family’s act of concealment to the squeaky door at Chawton—which, according to legend, gave Austen time to hide her work—in obscuring her creative process and inner life from posterity: “One is greeted by the polite, conventional lady, that is all: to enter is to be denied, and the surviving biographical material presents little more than this tantalising social self.”31 Rather than simply accepting the role of “900th abridger of the history of Jane Austen,” modern biographers have mined the novels and filled the silences and gaps in a variety of other ways: Park Honan touts new documentary evidence related to Austen family members;32 Claire Tomalin features an entire chapter on neighbors;33 John Halperin and David Nokes read against the conclusions of earlier biographies, to quite different effects;34 and Rachel Brownstein refers to all of these biographies as “allegedly of Jane Austen.”35 All modern biographies tend, without quite insulting the chastity of “dear Aunt Jane,” to focus on possible romances in the silences of Austen’s life—a tradition that perhaps began with Lord Brabourne’s 1884 edition of letters purporting to show a more personal side of his great-aunt. Wiltshire explains the fascination: “the enigma of this writer—whose subject, above all, is love, love in all its varieties—is that so little sense of her own erotic or emotional attachments is available in the surviving documents.”36 But, as Wiltshire argues, trying to uncover these longed-for details results in “the foregrounding of sexual and emotional motifs she would herself have disdained. The young Jane Austen is imagined, anachronistically, on the model of a romantic heroine.”37 The apotheosis of this is perhaps Jon Spence’s Becoming Jane Austen, which posits a secret understanding with Tom Lefroy supported by an elaborate theory about a stay in Cork Street, London, after their official last meeting at a January 1796 ball.38 Lee observes that the romance narratives biographers explore “satisf[y] conventional habits of explaining the life of a spinster … as one of thwarted love.” They can provide “a personal experience of lifelong, hopeless longing” as well as an external circumstance to legitimize the move from romance plot to quest, both of which position the novels as a kind of wish fulfillment or consolation.39

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They are also used to infer “resentful, bitter, caustic” pathologies, as can be seen in Halperin’s biography.40 Halperin’s account, which seems like nothing so much as the textual achievement of Mark Twain’s desire to beat Austen’s skull with her own shin-bone, conjures an Austen that he assures readers is not quite a “bitchmonster.”41 Halperin uses a rumored 1801 seaside romance, cut tragically short by the young man’s apparent death (“This time she had loved!”), to support his thesis about “Jane’s bitterness of spirit”: “Her prospects of marriage were few enough; here was another—the best—snuffed out.”42 His bitter spinster is a rebuttal of what he regards as fraudulent in the Austen produced by AustenLeigh’s Memoir: a woman who is kind, liked children and her mother, and was loved by her family. Halperin’s missing Austen is moody, bitter. She consistently “botched” the endings of her novels.43 If Austen-Leigh attempts to create a properly feminine version of Austen, in Halperin’s treatment she is exposed and berated for not adhering to normative notions of female emotional behavior. Her fault is that her lack of strong and/or reciprocated romantic feelings means that her life does not easily bend to fit the heroine mold that Heilbrun notes is the default form for a woman’s life.44 Even less hostile examples of romance in Austen biography tend, as Heilbrun identifies, to pit “the erotic” against “the ambitious”;45 thus, writing becomes consolation for disappointment and failed romance. Spence argues the Tom Lefroy heartbreak becomes the inspiration for Austen’s writing career: he “found his natural place in her imagination, and he remained there for the rest of her life.”46 Tomalin, too, speculates writing soothes her after the Lefroy disappointment.47 Both Honan and Tomalin connect writing to the Harris Bigg-Wither proposal: for Honan, it eases Austen’s disappointment in herself over her hastily reconsidered acceptance,48 while Tomalin, who imagines the proposal as “a miracle” that must have offered “happiness she had given up expecting,” agrees that the “fiasco” sent Austen back to her manuscripts.49 Nokes, who downplays the importance of Lefroy and dismisses the apocryphal seaside romance as more the nieces’ story than anything else, uses the Bigg-Wither episode to frame Austen as “determined to lead the life of a heroine” by refusing a man she did not love.50 There are bright spots in Austen biography. Jan Fergus’s Jane Austen: A Literary Life focuses on Austen’s apprenticeship and professional context.51 Carol Shields, whose 2001 biography eschews most embellishment as so much “fairy dust,” focuses on the parts that reveal the woman “who must have known … exactly how good a writer she really was.”52 Lucy Worsley’s Jane Austen at Home points to the importance of Austen’s community of unmarried women and the ways they took on domestic labor to facilitate her career.53 She also amplifies the ways in which childbearing is problematized in Austen’s letters, noted in tentative ways in Tomalin’s biography. Biographical criticism, like criticism itself, goes further. Emily Auerbach’s Searching for Jane Austen repudiates the writing-as-consolationprize narrative to argue that it was Austen’s dream fulfilled.54 Similarly, Helena Kelly’s Jane Austen: The Secret Radical supplants the meek aunt of legend with an

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artist whose thinking and vision can be elucidated by reading the novels afresh in their proper historical context (early novels) or alongside contemporary controversies that are more difficult for twenty-first-century readers to recognize (later novels).55 An Austen emerges who was more active in her choices, determined in her professionalism. This Austen can be further delineated, the facts of her life recombined to repudiate the one plot for a woman. It should not be shocking to imagine a woman might value her life enough to refuse to endanger it birthing babies for a man she only tolerated. It should not be normal to frame her life’s work as consolation prizes or as bitter revenge/wish-fulfillment fantasies. But the tenaciousness of these associations is deeply embedded in traditional scholarly and popular understandings, as Kramp and others suggest.56 A more nuanced reading of Austen’s engagement with the marriage plot, readily available in feminist scholarship, should be brought to bear on Austen biography. Emma, with its exploration of female authority and discussion of spinsterhood, bolsters a version of Austen who is neither a bitter old maid nor a brave heroine pining for romance denied, but an artist who made choices to facilitate her career.

Emma and Challenges to the Novelistic Trajectory of a Woman’s Life Emma pushes back against the marriage plot by playing with its various permutations and openly contemplating its avoidance through a heroine who lacks any of the usual inducements to matrimony. Feminist critics who explore the text’s resistance to the marriage plot—and, by extension, the patriarchal ideology underpinning that plot—provide a counternarrative to old ideas about Emma’s necessary education or “humiliation” into proper female submission; instead, they reveal a longing for an independent female life. If, to borrow Wiltshire’s phrasing, the “critical enterprise” can get closer to the “essential Jane Austen,” such readings may inspire a version of Austen’s life freed from the imposition of the marriage plot.57 In “Emma and the Legend of Jane Austen,” Lionel Trilling writes, “The extraordinary thing about Emma is that she has a moral life as a man has a moral life … quite as a matter of course, as a given quality of her nature.”58 This is important because, according to Trilling, it is the presumption of our society that women’s moral life is not as men’s. No change in the modern theory of the sexes, no advance in status that women have made, has yet contradicted this. The self-love that we do countenance in women is of a limited and passive kind, and we are troubled if it is as assertive as the self-love of men is permitted, and expected, to be.59 This observation resonates with Marcus’s account of Weininger. It also chimes with Deborah Cameron’s assertion, quoted by Heilbrun, that “men can be men only if women are unambiguously women.”60 Feminist criticism has connected

28 Megan A. Woodworth

readings of the novel obsessed with humbling Emma Woodhouse to narrative norms designed to reinforce sexist ideology, and these observations can also apply to the marriage plot as the dominant mode of female biography. In her chapter on Emma in Jane Austen: Women, Politics, and the Novel, Claudia L. Johnson demonstrates the necessity for feminist theory to expose the bias underpinning the “ideologically neutral” critical criteria of supposedly “disinterested professionals.”61 Indeed, she argues when Marvin Mudrick “complains that Emma ‘plays God,’ what he really means is that she plays man, and he, as well as others, will not permit her thus to elude the contempt that is woman’s portion.”62 Johnson suggests that critics charge Emma with crimes of which they strive to absolve Austen because “she seemed to deny or devalue her authority”—an impression made possible precisely because the biographical record has so successfully stripped her of that authority.63 Ruth Perry’s suspicion of critical bias also encompasses author, novel, and the marriage plot. Her study of the ways in which Emma resists the marriage plot begins by examining Henry James’s assertion that every novel tells two stories: the protagonist’s and the novelist’s. Perry wonders about the implications of the latter story when the novelist is a woman. She resists the marriage plot in a novel that would otherwise seem to promote “odious big brotherism”—a delightful alternative label for the lover–mentor plot—and argues that those who refuse to acknowledge that resistance refuse to take Austen seriously “as a woman”:64 They do not imagine the implications of what they see to a woman living in a culture that restricted and subordinated women. Thus, they are satisfied that Emma needs to be made vulnerable, whether it be to economic realities, to her own sexuality, or to male authority. But they never suspect that a woman writer might feel differently about that “necessary” vulnerability.65 Emma begins with a heroine who wants for nothing: she is “handsome, clever, and rich,” mistress of her comfortable home, and largely at liberty to do as she pleases.66 As Daniela Garofalo notes, while Emma sees what other women lack, she “does not experience herself as a subject of desire.”67 Instead, she dispassionately contemplates the imperative to marry and, amused by how unlikely it is to enrich her life, rejects it. As Fergus observes, Emma has real work—whether it is managing her father and household, charitable work, or managing anyone who comes into her orbit. This is possible because she is single, a fact of which she is well aware when she tells Harriet Smith that she has no intention of marrying. Having noted, “without love, I am sure I should be a fool to change such a situation as mine,” Emma goes on to enumerate her material advantages—“Fortune … employment … consequence”—and observe, “few married women are half as much mistress of their husband’s house, as I am of Hartfield” (E 90–91). When Harriet raises the specter of the “old maid” and names Miss Bates as an example, Emma argues that it is “poverty only that makes celibacy contemptible” and that a “single woman, of good fortune, is always respectable, and

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may be as sensible and pleasant as anybody else” (E 90–91). Emma then conjures the bitter spinster (which many future critics will apply to Austen) as she describes how “very narrow incomes” tend to “contract the mind, and sour the temper. Those who can barely live, and who live perforce in a very small, and generally very inferior society, may well be illiberal and cross” (E 91). But then she undercuts this stereotype with the example of cheerful Miss Bates, who, despite her poverty, remains generous and engaged with the world. This refutation, as well as Emma’s description of her “active busy mind” and her suggestion that one need not produce a family to have objects of “interest” and “affection,” hints that it might be foolish for any woman to give up an independent life without the inducement of love (E 92). Some have suggested that by having Mrs. Elton also boast of her “resources,” the novel undercuts or parodies Emma (E 298). But Emma is referring to things that enable her to make a life of her own, on her own terms, while Mrs. Elton refers to different consolations, specifically adjusting to giving up “the world” for the “retirement” of marriage (E 298; original emphasis). She boasts of her ability to fill a new life in an inferior house without the luxury of Maple Grove. Her marriage does not necessarily improve her circumstances, and though she derives consequence from her husband, her complaints suggest some dissatisfaction. Furthermore, in her discussion of music—she declares she cannot “live without something of a musical society”—she works her way around to giving it up as a badge of honor, emblematic of the sacrifices women make of their own pleasure in order to tend to their husbands’ houses and concerns (E 298–299). They may be the same resources, but the motivation to use and satisfaction derived from them are as markedly different as the personalities who deploy them. Others deride Emma’s boldness in laughing at marriage as evidence of her lack of self-knowledge (Wayne Booth implores us to imagine Emma “at carpet-work” in a way that must be punctuated with a Cher Horowitz “as if”),68 while her eventual marriage is seen as the didactic and moral purpose of the novel (happy marriages are “what Jane Austen is about,” says Booth).69 In Equivocal Beings Johnson observes that, for Booth and others, “the novel’s comic structure and moral lesson are the same,” encoding heterosexual norms “teleologically onto a rhetoric of fiction.”70 But, Deanna Kreisel advises, readers should “attend to the ways that Austen’s novels formally, or we might say narratologically, function as critiques of the supposedly conservative values endorsed by their endings.”71 Feminist readings tend to resist the assumption that the point of the novel is to educate Emma for a suitable heterosexual relationship and point to how the novel makes a problem of the courtship plot itself. Kreisel suggests that the narrative structure of Emma resists the courtship plot, and its conservative didactic aims, by suggesting that there is loss rather than pleasurable closure in the marriage ending.72 Similarly, Perry argues: The meta-narrative, the story of the story of Emma, reveals how much the imperative to marry costs women—how it inhibits their range of possible

30 Megan A. Woodworth

relationships with other women, makes them dependent on male approval, and limits their imaginative and social autonomy.73 Here the implications for writing Austen’s own life come into sharper focus. Traditional and conservative readings hinge on the idea that Emma learns her lesson, a lesson that Austen, as author, must endorse. This connects to Perry’s observation that “women are expected to be agents of their own socialization in patriarchal society”;74 in the examples of Miss Taylor and Jane Fairfax especially, “[t]heir stories only loop back to repeat themselves as these women become wives, mothers, and teachers, preparing the next generation of the marriage plot.”75 But does Emma enter this loop herself? Mr. Knightley provides most of the information about Emma’s education and development. He reveals she is cleverer than her father and sister and has run roughshod over her erstwhile governess, and that she writes reading lists and plans for improvement, both of which demonstrate taste and ability. Emma clearly understands what is required for genteel femininity but has no patience for the minutiae of it. Fergus recognizes in Emma the anarchic gender-swapping of the juvenilia, and its tendency for female characters to “get away with murder.”76 Similarly, Johnson observes, by the standards of conservative works of the era, Emma is not remotely punished for her most egregious errors.77 Moreover, Mr. Knightley, the apparent lover–mentor, rejects the “odious big-brotherism” expected of him and casts doubt on whether the times he has “blamed” and “lectured” (E 469) Emma have had anything but negative effects. Garofalo even suggests that Mr. Knightley is attracted by Emma’s “deficiency, her lack, and her failures”; therefore, a reformed Emma would “only disappoint his erotic interest.”78 Emma resists reform and is still Emma in the end—just with a partner— and the kind of partner is significant to her ability to be herself: her powerful, independent, imaginative self. Johnson describes the novel as both a “cagey celebration” of female writing and reading and a positive version of female power.79 These elements connect together under the rubric of independence of vision that Trilling found noteworthy. Emma does not need marriage to give her anything as an individual; nor does Mr. Knightley. Because of this, as Johnson suggests, Emma and Mr. Knightley “live and rule together with the autonomy of friends.”80 Emma retains independence of thought and action within this partnership, just as a husband normally would. It is marriage without woman’s expected submission and renunciation of her old life. In having Mrs. Elton speak for those who might be scandalized by the arrangement, Austen makes one last point about obligatory marriage. Mrs. Elton “was extremely concerned” but her complaints are about her own loss of status and amusement: There would be an end of all pleasant intercourse with him.––How happy he had been to come and dine with them whenever they asked him! But

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that would be all over now.––Poor fellow!––No more exploring parties to Donwell made for her. Oh! no; there would be a Mrs. Knightley to throw cold water on every thing. (E 512; original emphasis) It is a final reminder that her resources are necessary to distract from her own bad house and mercenary spouse. Only someone like Mrs. Elton would settle for a bad marriage if she had the resources (mental and otherwise) to remain single.

A Life of Jane Austen for the Twenty-First Century In the end, why does it matter how Jane Austen’s life is framed? Lee asks the question this way: “if the virtuous and benign—or thwarted and bitter—maiden aunt is refused as the working model, what other shape can this story take?”81 Leaving behind the erotic narrative for the ambition narrative validates feminist work on Austen’s novels that has sometimes received the disbelieving, sniffy “Did Jane Austen really mean that?” response.82 More importantly, by eliminating the preciousness that Austen would surely have found ridiculous and embracing the feminist theory that has expanded and enriched readings of the novels, such a biography might help to destroy the notion that women’s lives are incomplete or lacking should they avoid marriage and childbearing, and that women’s creativity and agency should be sacrificed to shoring up the patriarchal structure. The comic form of the novel Austen employs demands a marriage ending, but she resists this imperative by having heroines who break rules—of both conduct and fiction—and heroes who also break rules by embracing those heroines as they are. Novels are not life; women are not heroines. But biographies, which are more widely read than literary criticism, perpetuate and normalize this narrative. The solution is to allow feminist criticism to inform the sensibility of future biographies. As Perry argues, “feminist criticism … repositions us as readers to see the world from the vantage of women, allowing us to imaginatively reconstruct the social, economic, and psychological reality.”83 Thus, even working from the bare facts as they are known but taking Austen seriously as a woman making her own choices—and not as a character to be judged against the pattern of the romantic heroine—we may see her life differently. For me, this means emphasizing Austen’s status as an unmarried woman and rethinking how the Harris Bigg-Wither story is told. Brownstein, who describes the Bigg-Wither anecdote as “overdetermined,” cautions against insisting too much on spinsterhood.84 But I read this as a caution for those who focus on pathologizing or romanticizing narratives. Kelly’s rejection of all of the traditional family mythology of Austen’s life is a good reminder that tradition is not evidence. But, inspired by Kelly’s own use of fictional vignettes based in the letters, I would like to see an Austen biography that starts with the rejection of Harris Bigg-Wither in order to reframe

32 Megan A. Woodworth

Austen’s relationship to both marriage and spinsterhood—to make the argument, more forcefully than has been done previously, that this choice is the decisive moment for the novelist. She is offered the thing society says she must have and decides that she prefers to cut her own path. She rejects the one plot for a woman, knowing that she is likely choosing a difficult life. But she is choosing her own “darling” children85—Sense and Sensibility and then Pride and Prejudice, followed by the others—rather than Bigg-Wither children. The narrative can then go back and follow the established chronological pattern to explain how she got to that fateful night and then work forward to see the liberation and creativity that come from rejecting the social expectation that she will marry, helped along by her minimal domestic responsibilities at Chawton. In effect, I see this as bringing more of Cassandra’s sketch into our understanding of Austen. Sutherland discusses responses to the images of Austen— family arguments about whether they are good likenesses, whether they capture her looks and expressions.86 Those who remember her had the impression that she looked best when animated, but that she could also look intimidating.87 Perhaps her resting face was just not naturally smiling, but more pensive, possibly due to a mouth that turns down at the corners. If we avoid filling in the gaps of Austen’s life and prettifying it to suit Victorian notions of what a woman should look like and live like, what might result? This revised Austen is the forward face of the oracle and the only way to find it is to tell the story. Marcus observes that “fact and fiction are rival versions of the same evidence.”88 Similarly, O’Brien notes: [Q]uite simply, we make everything up—and if we can find ways to tell the stories of women’s lives without implying that these stories are inevitable, natural, transparent, objective renditions of other selves, we can retain the satisfaction of traditional biography without succumbing to the genre’s troubling assumptions.89 The implications of not doing so are made poignantly plain by Kate Bolick. At the end of Spinster, a meditation on the power and importance of the single life for women, Bolick reframes her thesis as a simple question: “are women people yet?”90 Women’s lives must be written as though they are people and not nineteenth-century heroines—even when they are women who lived in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and created iconic heroines. When this happens, the heroines themselves are read in more nuanced ways; we reveal their protests against an unsatisfying patriarchal structure that fashions them as wives and mothers but not individuals with the complex inner lives that Trilling found so revelatory in Emma. That it was a novel that made such an impression accords perfectly with Heilbrun’s dictum that lives in the abstract cannot serve as models—“only stories do that.”91

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Notes 1 Devoney Looser, The Making of Jane Austen (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017); Claudia L. Johnson, Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012); and Holly Luetkenhaus and Zoe Weinstein, Austentatious: The Evolving World of Jane Austen Fans (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2019). 2 Michael Kramp, “The Austen Concept, or Becoming Jane—Again and Again,” Rhizomes 33 (2017), www.rhizomes.net/issue33/intro.html. 3 Ibid. 4 Gilles Deleuze, “Literature and Life,” Critical Inquiry 23 (1997), 228. 5 Emily Auerbach, Searching for Jane Austen (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2004), 280. 6 Claire Harman, Jane’s Fame (London: Picador, 2009), 205. 7 David W. Shaw, Secrets of the Oracle: A History of Wisdom from Zeno to Yeats (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009), 206. 8 Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, “Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl,” Critical Inquiry 17, no. 4 (1991), 818–837. 9 Auerbach, 289. 10 Henry Austen, “Biographical Notice,” in A Memoir of Jane Austen and Other Family Recollections, ed. Kathryn Sutherland (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 139, 141. 11 Jason Solinger, “Virginia Woolf and the Gentlemen Janeites, or the Origins of Modern Austen Criticism, 1870–1929,” in Jane Austen and Masculinity, ed. Michael Kramp (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2017), 223. 12 Virginia Woolf, “Virginia Woolf on Jane Austen: A Review of the Publication of R.W. Chapman’s Edition of the Novels of Jane Austen, in Five Volumes,” New Republic, January 30, 1924, https://newrepublic.com/article/115922/virginia-woolf-jane-austen. 13 Annette Upfal and Christine Alexander, “Are We Ready for New Directions? Jane Austen’s The History of England & Cassandra’s Portraits” Persuasions On-line 30, no. 2 (2010), www.jasna.org/persuasions/on-line/vol30no2/upfal-alexander.html. 14 Hermione Lee, Virginia Woolf’s Nose: Essays on Biography (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005), 2, 37. 15 John Wiltshire, Recreating Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 17. 16 Laura Marcus, Auto/biographical Discourses: Theory, Criticism, Practice (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1994), 45. 17 Ibid., 64. 18 Otto Weininger, Ladislaus Löb, Daniel Steuer, and Laura Marcus, Sex and Character: An Investigation of Fundamental Principles (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005), 109, 111. 19 Marcus, 67. 20 Kate Manne, Down Girl (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), 69. 21 Sharon O’Brien, “Feminist Theory and Literary Biography,” in Contesting the Subject: Essays in Postmodern Theory and the Practices of Biography and Biographical Criticism, ed. William H. Epstein (West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 1991), 127. 22 Ibid., 127. 23 Allison Booth, “Biographical Criticism and the ‘Great’ Woman of Letters: The Example of George Eliot and Virginia Woolf,” in Contesting the Subject: Essays in Postmodern Theory and the Practices of Biography and Biographical Criticism, ed. William H. Epstein (West Lafayette: Purdue University Press 1991), 90. 24 Carolyn G. Heilbrun, Writing a Woman’s Life (New York: Ballantine, 1988), 28. 25 Ibid., 77. 26 Ibid., 48. 27 Jan Fergus, Jane Austen: A Literary Life (London: Palgrave, 1991), 5. 28 A. Booth, 89.

34 Megan A. Woodworth

29 Critics dating back to Margaret Oliphant have been unable to reconcile Austen-Leigh’s Jane Austen with Austen’s actual work. Moreover, as Kathryn Sutherland notes, adding “Lady Susan” and “The Watsons” to the second edition of the biography undercuts Austen-Leigh’s project of hagiography. See Kathryn Sutherland, “Introduction,” in A Memoir of Jane Austen and Other Family Recollections, ed. Kathryn Sutherland (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), xiii–xlviii, xv. 30 Marilyn Butler, “Simplicity,” London Review of Books, March 5,1998, www.lrb.co.uk/ the-paper/v20/n05/marilyn-butler/simplicity. 31 Wiltshire, 18. 32 Park Honan, Jane Austen: Her Life (London: Phoenix, 1987). 33 Claire Tomalin, Jane Austen: A Life (London: Penguin, 1997). 34 John Halperin, The Life of Jane Austen (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984); David Nokes, Jane Austen: A Life (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1997). 35 Rachel Brownstein, Why Jane Austen? (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011), 81. 36 Wiltshire, 32. 37 Ibid. 38 Jon Spence, Becoming Jane Austen (London: Bloomsbury, 2003), 98. 39 Lee, 69. 40 Ibid. 41 Halperin, 79. 42 Ibid., 133 (original emphasis). 43 Ibid., 92, 249. 44 Heilbrun, 21. 45 Ibid., 103. 46 Spence, 116. 47 Tomalin, 122. 48 Honan, 198. 49 Tomalin, 183, 185. 50 Nokes, 257. 51 Fergus. 52 Carol Shields, Jane Austen (London: Penguin, 2001), 105, 61. 53 Lucy Worsley, Jane Austen at Home (London: St. Martin’s, 2017). 54 Auerbach. 55 Helena Kelly, Jane Austen: The Secret Radical (London: Vintage, 2016). 56 Kramp. 57 Wiltshire, 27–28. 58 Lionel Trilling, “Emma and the Legend of Jane Austen,” in Jane Austen’s Emma: A Casebook, ed. David Lodge (London: Macmillan, 1968), 148–169, 154. 59 Ibid. 60 Deborah Cameron, Feminism and Linguistic Theory (London: Macmillan, 1985), 156; quoted in Heilbrun, 20. 61 Claudia L. Johnson, Jane Austen: Women, Politics, and the Novel (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), 122. 62 Ibid, 123. 63 Ibid., 122. 64 Ruth Perry, “Interrupted Friendships in Jane Austen’s Emma,” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature 5, no. 2 (1986), 187, 199 (original emphasis). 65 Ibid., 199. 66 Jane Austen, Emma, ed. Richard Cronin and Dorothy McMillan, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 3. All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text. 67 Daniela Garofalo, “Doating on Faults in Jane Austen’s Emma,” European Romantic Review 28, no. 2 (2017), 228.

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68 Clueless, written and directed by Amy Heckerling (Hollywood: Paramount Pictures, 1995). 69 Wayne Booth, The Rhetoric of Fiction (2nd edition) (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983), 261, 260. 70 Claudia L. Johnson, Equivocal Beings (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), 194. 71 Deanna K. Kreisel, “Where Does the Pleasure Come From? The Marriage Plot and Its Discontents in Jane Austen’s Emma,” Persuasions 29 (2007), 223. 72 Ibid., 218–219. 73 Perry, 200. 74 Ibid., 196. 75 Ibid., 200. 76 Fergus, 153, 52. 77 Johnson, Jane Austen, 141. 78 Garofalo, 236. 79 Johnson, Jane Austen, 132, 126. 80 Ibid., 143. 81 Lee, 76. 82 This is the title of the introductory chapter of Jill Heydt-Stevenson’s Austen’s Unbecoming Conjunctions (London: Palgrave, 2005), in which she contends that Austen really did mean that (ibid., 28). 83 Perry, 200. 84 Brownstein, 97. 85 Jane Austen to Cassandra Austen, January 29, 1813, in Jane Austen’s Letters, ed. Deirdre Le Faye (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 201. 86 Sutherland, xlvi. 87 See Fergus, 127–129. 88 Marcus, 114. 89 O’Brien, 131–132. 90 Kate Bolick, Spinster (New York: Crown, 2015), 293. 91 Heilbrun, 37.

Bibliography Auerbach, Emily. Searching for Jane Austen. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2004. Austen, Henry. “Biographical Notice.” In A Memoir of Jane Austen and Other Family Recollections, edited by Kathryn Sutherland, 137–141. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Austen, Jane. Jane Austen’s Letters. Edited by Deirdre Le Faye. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. Austen, Jane. Emma. Edited by Richard Cronin and Dorothy McMillan. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Bolick, Kate. Spinster. New York: Crown, 2015. Booth, Allison. “Biographical Criticism and the ‘Great’ Woman of Letters: The Example of George Eliot and Virginia Woolf.” In Contesting the Subject: Essays in Postmodern Theory and the Practices of Biography and Biographical Criticism, edited by William H. Epstein, 85–107. West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 1991. Booth, Wayne. The Rhetoric of Fiction (2nd edition). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983. Brownstein, Rachel. Why Jane Austen?New York: Columbia University Press, 2011. Butler, Marilyn. “Simplicity.” London Review of Books, March 5, 1998. www.lrb.co.uk/ the-paper/v20/n05/marilyn-butler/simplicity. Cameron, Deborah. Feminism and Linguistic Theory. London: Macmillan, 1985.

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Deleuze, Gilles. “Literature and Life.” Critical Inquiry 23 (1997): 225–230. Fergus, Jan. Jane Austen: A Literary Life. London: Palgrave, 1991. Garofalo, Daniela. “Doating on Faults in Jane Austen’s Emma.” European Romantic Review 28, no. 2 (2017): 227–240. Halperin, John. The Life of Jane Austen. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984. Harman, Claire. Jane’s Fame. London: Picador, 2009. Heckerling, Amy, writer and director. Clueless. Hollywood: Paramount Pictures, 1995 [DVD]. Heilbrun, Carolyn G. Writing a Woman’s Life. New York: Ballantine, 1988. Heydt-Stevenson, Jill. “Introduction: Did Jane Austen Really Mean That?” In Austen’s Unbecoming Conjunctions, 1–28. London: Palgrave, 2005. Honan, Park. Jane Austen: Her Life. London: Phoenix, 1987. Johnson, Claudia L. Jane Austen: Women, Politics, and the Novel. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988. Johnson, Claudia L. Equivocal Beings. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995. Johnson, Claudia L. Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012. Kelly, Helena. Jane Austen: Secret Radical. London: Vintage, 2016. Kramp, Michael. “The Austen Concept, or Becoming Jane—Again and Again.” Rhizomes 33 (2017). www.rhizomes.net/issue33/intro.html. Kreisel, Deanna K. “Where Does the Pleasure Come From? The Marriage Plot and Its Discontents in Jane Austen’s Emma.” Persuasions 29 (2007): 217–226. Lee, Hermione. Virginia Woolf’s Nose: Essays on Biography. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005. Looser, Devoney. The Making of Jane Austen. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017. Luetkenhaus, Holly and Zoe Weinstein. Austentatious: The Evolving World of Jane Austen Fans. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2019. Manne, Kate. Down Girl. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. Marcus, Laura. Auto/biographical Discourses: Theory, Criticism, Practice. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1994. Nokes, David. Jane Austen: A Life. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1997. Perry, Ruth. “Interrupted Friendships in Jane Austen’s Emma.” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature 5, no. 2 (1986): 185–202. O’Brien, Sharon. “Feminist Theory and Literary Biography.” In Contesting the Subject: Essays in Postmodern Theory and the Practices of Biography and Biographical Criticism, edited by William H.Epstein, 123–133. West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 1991. Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. “Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl.” Critical Inquiry 17, no. 4 (1991): 818–837. Shaw, David W. Secrets of the Oracle: A History of Wisdom from Zeno to Yeats. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009. Shields, Carol. Jane Austen. London: Penguin, 2001. Solinger, Jason. “Virginia Woolf and the Gentlemen Janeites, or the Origins of Modern Austen Criticism, 1870–1929.” In Jane Austen and Masculinity, edited by Michael Kramp, 211–229. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2017. Spence, Jon. Becoming Jane Austen. London: Bloomsbury, 2003. Stout, Janice. “Writing on the Margins of Biography.” South Central Review 23, no. 3 (2006): 60–75.

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Sutherland, Kathryn. “Introduction.” In A Memoir of Jane Austen and Other Family Recollections, edited by Kathryn Sutherland, xiii–xlviii. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Tomalin, Claire. Jane Austen: A Life. London: Penguin, 1997. Trilling, Lionel. “Emma and the Legend of Jane Austen.” In Jane Austen’s Emma: A Casebook, edited by David Lodge, 148–169. London: Macmillan, 1968. Upfal, Annette and Christine Alexander. “Are We Ready for New Directions? Jane Austen’s The History of England & Cassandra’s Portraits.” Persuasions On-line 30, no. 2 (2010). www.jasna.org/persuasions/on-line/vol30no2/upfal-alexander.html. Weininger, Otto, Ladislaus Löb, Daniel Steuer, and Laura Marcus. Sex and Character: An Investigation of Fundamental Principles. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005. Wiltshire, John. Recreating Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Woolf, Virginia. “Virginia Woolf on Jane Austen: A Review of the Publication of R.W. Chapman’s Edition of the Novels of Jane Austen, in Five Volumes.” New Republic, January 30, 1924. https://newrepublic.com/article/115922/virginia-woolf-jane-austen. Worsley, Lucy. Jane Austen at Home. London: St. Martin’s, 2017.


Jane Austen, as we all know, never left England, but in 1984 novelist Barbara Ker Wilson speculated in fiction as to what might have happened had she visited Australia. Ker Wilson produced Jane Austen in Australia for British and Australian readers; the following year, US readers, historically less linked with Australia, encountered the intriguing title Antipodes Jane. This novel does not pretend that Austen really did come to Australia. Deploying what is known of her life in the early 1800s, it takes advantage of the gaps. Austen turned down Harris Bigg-Wither in autumn of 1802, while Cassandra Austen’s story of the young clergyman who died before he could propose seems to relate to the previous year. Jane Austen in Australia, in the aftermath of these distressing events, has Jane take the opportunity to accompany her aunt and uncle, Mrs. Austen’s brother James Leigh Perrot and his wife, to the Port Jackson (Sydney) settlement. This venture, which has the three leave Portsmouth for Port Jackson in February 1803 and then set off back home in March 1804, follows Mrs. Leigh Perrot’s (real-life) escape from a criminal conviction for stealing lace. The legal expenses thus incurred induce the couple to recoup funds by leasing their home and indulging Mr. Leigh Perrot’s enthusiasm for identifying butterfly species. The Port Jackson settlement had been established in 1788 as a new British colony and venue for the transportation of convicts, following Britain’s loss of North American colonies. For a novelist seeking to locate Jane Austen here in Port Jackson’s early years, the name of a historically prominent settler—D’Arcy Wentworth—was no doubt a gift.1 He begins as a potential love-interest for Jane, but becomes a confidant for her literary ambitions, and because he is a complicated person, she declares that she can use his two names for two different characters! Like all historical fiction, Jane Austen in Australia is partly a product of its own time. It reflects the advent of second-wave feminism in making Austen’s interlude DOI: 10.4324/9781003181309-4

Jane Austen in Australia and New Zealand 39

in Australia significant for her writing career, rather than for her love life. The novel was written at a period, too, when Australian Aboriginals had launched a land-rights movement, and when earlier assumptions that the best way forward for them was assimilation into white society were being widely questioned. Thus, it features an Aboriginal boy who helps James Leigh Perrot to investigate the local terrain but then risks being dressed in English clothes and taken to England; he finally runs away back to his own people, and the novel implies that this is a better outcome. En route to Australia, the story glances at the slave trade, and it is an unsympathetic character, the opinionated Mrs. Leigh Perrot, who endorses this practice. Such a theme, in a novel about Jane Austen produced partly for postcolonial Australia, actually foreshadows the landmark postcolonial study of the novelist—Edward Said’s essay on Mansfield Park in his Culture and Imperialism. 2 “Jane Austen and Empire,” as is well known, argues that Sir Thomas Bertram’s authority at home is both financed and undergirded by his slave plantations in Antigua, while slavery itself cannot be openly acknowledged in the domestic world of Mansfield Park. Nonetheless, Culture and Imperialism is not centrally concerned with the particular kind of colony that Australia had been. My focus here is on the impact of Jane Austen and her fiction in Australia, and also in neighboring New Zealand—two countries that share many similarities. In this context, it is important to differentiate settler colonies such as these from other places in the empire that were affected by slavery or the British conquest of millions. Australia and New Zealand were gradually populated over the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by people largely emanating from the British Isles. In both countries, settlers of largely British origin came to outnumber and dispossess the existing inhabitants: Aboriginals in Australia and Ma-ori in New Zealand. Whereas in the colonies of the Caribbean, Indian sub-continent, and Africa there were till the mid-twentieth century large indigenous populations governed by much smaller numbers of authority figures from Britain, in Australia and New Zealand the numbers of British settlers quickly came to outstrip by far the indigenous groups. Hence these latter colonies gained an increasing degree of political autonomy; the various provinces (New Zealand) and states (Australia) eventually combined under single, independent governments. Thus, Australia and New Zealand became “postcolonial” earlier, and in different ways, than most other British colonies. These kinds of ex-colonies were in fact covered in another pioneering work of postcolonial criticism, The Empire Writes Back, produced by Australian-based academics Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin. The prominence in the book of these “settler” ex-colonies was queried, however—as the authors note in the revised edition of 20023—which suggests that some readers found their status equivocal. In any case, the relationship in these colonies between the descendants of the British settlers and Britain itself has been complex, as the authors of The Empire Writes Back, among others, point out.

40 Joanne Wilkes

In Australia, there were strong efforts to establish a national voice in literature, spearheaded from the 1890s in the literary pages of the Bulletin magazine under A. G. Stephens, and featuring writers such as Henry Lawson and A. B. “Banjo” Paterson. These writers focused on the distinctiveness of the Australian landscape, especially its “bush,” and the ethos of “mateship” among white men forged therein as key characteristics of a nation in formation.4 Lawson’s work acknowledged the contribution of women to settlement, but occluded, like most writing of the period, Australia’s indigenous inhabitants. In New Zealand, the nationalist phase emerged later, between the world wars: the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries had seen settler writing that still looked towards Britain, while engaging somewhat with Ma-ori culture. But it was difficult for settlers and their descendants to escape Britain as a frame of reference, and in Australia the psychological and emotional heritage of British literature was artificially protracted by the conditions of the book trade. This was largely controlled by British publishers: Australia was their largest export market from 1889 to at least 1953, and they produced “colonial editions” at cheap prices.5 Australians’ continuing deference to all things British, and the difficulty creative figures had in valuing their own distinctive work in such a context, was labeled the “cultural cringe” in a famous 1950 essay of that name by A. A. Phillips (1900–1985).6 Moreover, a feeling of disjunction between the lived world of Australia and the British textual tradition that dominated its culture has been attested to by prominent Australian novelists remembering the 1950s and 1960s, such as Patrick White (1912–1990) and Thomas Keneally (born 1935). White felt at a remove from Australian reality, while Keneally recalled that “[a]ll the books we read were full of trees we never had seen,” so that his contemporaries felt as if “educated to be exiles” in their own land.7 In New Zealand, something like the “cultural cringe” was lamented in nationalist poet Allen Curnow’s famous lines from 1943: “Not I, some child, born in a marvellous year, / Will learn the trick of standing upright here.”8 As the authors of The Empire Writes Back observe, this predicament in settler societies partly accounts for “their obsession with nationalism, their unresolved passion for ‘identity,’ and the conflict of both these impulses with the residual links to European culture.”9 These kinds of tensions have been evident in the ways school and university curricula have developed over the decades in both countries: the positioning of British canonical literature, including the novels of Jane Austen, has been variable. I will begin by investigating this topic, including Antipodean trends in literary criticism as they bear on Austen and her work. In addition, Austen’s fiction has played varying roles in both Australian and New Zealand culture in general. In the latter context, searchable newspaper databases, which cover many titles from the nineteenth century through to at least the early 1950s, are rich sources of evidence. Sometimes Austen was connected to the Australian or New Zealand scene, and in ways that illustrate aspects of the two countries’ postcolonial situation. From the 1960s onwards, however, when both educational and general

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cultural trends become more global, there is less to say specifically about Austen’s reception in this part of the world. Nevertheless, I will conclude by commenting on some more recent developments. As well as the colonial and then postcolonial positioning of both countries, the impact of the women’s movement is important throughout the whole period. After all, suffrage was granted to Australian and New Zealand women before it was achieved by their counterparts in Britain. Moreover, even before the advent of the literary criticism associated with second-wave feminism in the 1970s, Austen was often read in the Antipodes specifically as a woman writer.

Postcolonial Education? School curricula in Australia and New Zealand have always contained strong strands of British canonical literature. Scholars have analyzed English syllabi in Australian states for exams taken at the end of high school from 1945 to 2005. Overall, British nineteenth-century fiction remains prominent, although, as time goes on, more literature from other sources comes into play—American literature, Australian writing of all kinds (including texts by indigenous and immigrant authors), and other text types.10 British canonical authors remain important, nevertheless, in the options generally taken by students seeking some specialization in English, and/or with an intention to pursue it at tertiary level. Introducing a precursor to the current syllabus of this ilk in 1982, the Board of Senior School Studies for New South Wales explained that it was designed “for those with a particular interest in English, who seek to study plays such as King Lear, or the poetry of Donne, or the novels of Jane Austen or Patrick White.”11 In New Zealand, English syllabi have emerged from the same British tradition as Australia’s and have also undergone changes arising from the addition of literature from both local and other non-British sources, as well as from the expansion and diversification of the student body taking the final exam. English is compulsory, but some options eschew traditional literature for other text types. Some students, however, opt for an international exam—the International Baccalauréate or British AS levels—that features British canonical literature. They may also add a more literature-focused course—“Scholarship”—which is often chosen by those intending university study. As far as tertiary education is concerned, Leigh Dale’s analysis of Australian universities’ English syllabi shows that these long concentrated on a chronologically structured approach to British literature.12 Dale finds that women novelists—most prominently Jane Austen, George Eliot and Charlotte Brontë—make occasional appearances but are not consistently represented.13 In New Zealand, the situation was similar to Australia’s, with a focus on British literature from Old English via Shakespeare through to nineteenth-century poetry and non-fictional prose. Jane Austen does not feature in the pre-war period, but nor does much fiction of any kind. As the universities in both countries expanded from the 1950s onward, though, Austen’s works became more prominent.

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Postcolonial Leavis The approach to English literature associated with Cambridge don F. R. Leavis (1895–1978) had a notable impact in Australian universities and represents an instance of a British literary movement making a specific impact on a postcolonial environment. Such a development is relevant both to the teaching of Austen and to the work of two notable Austen scholars whose academic careers have been predominantly Australian-based: John Wiltshire and Yasmine Gooneratne. The latter’s writing on Austen, as I will illustrate, has a complicated relationship with postcolonial approaches to the novelist. Leavis and his sympathizers believed that British culture might be rejuvenated by a new approach to teaching literature that would reject a preoccupation with textual and historical scholarship in favor of engagement with the vital details of texts and their effects on readers, including their moral ramifications. Great literature thus had much to offer to those both alert and committed to a better future. Central to this case, as far as fiction was concerned, was the “great tradition” championed by Leavis—George Eliot, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, and D. H. Lawrence. The origin of this tradition was, however, Jane Austen, about whom Leavis wrote, “[She] not only makes the tradition for those coming after her, but … creates the tradition we see leading down to her,” such that “[h]er work, like the work of all great creative writers, gives a meaning to the past.”14 In the 1960s, the Leavisite perspective on literature was promoted in Australia, especially by Samuel Goldberg, who held chairs successively at the Universities of Sydney and then Melbourne. Goldberg and his supporters found themselves pitted against the upholders of the more traditional tenets associated with historical scholarship. (More peaceably, the Leavisite approach was adopted at Perth’s University of Western Australia by Allan Edwards, who held the chair in English there from 1941 to 1974.) There was serious controversy, notably at Sydney, in an early instance of the discipline’s “theory wars,” and for a time in the mid1960s students were asked to choose between traditional and Leavis-orientated curricula.15 While Austen’s fiction had sometimes been present in the former, the centrality of novels themselves to the Leavisite valuation of what was worth reading did contribute in general to uptake of the latter.16 Thirty years afterwards, the Sydney interlude was recalled by Austen critic John Wiltshire (born 1941), who as a young Cambridge graduate had joined Samuel Goldberg’s cohort there. Wiltshire commended the Leavisite intervention as a venture that had brought “passionate conviction and a coherent programme” to a curriculum in need of revitalizing.17 But he was less keen on the narrow parameters of what some Australian Leavisites thought worth studying, observing that the “colonial outpost of Leavis developed … a certain parodic relation to its origins.”18 When teaching Austen’s fiction, for example, he could only jokingly suggest that reading Burney’s Evelina might aid in understanding her work.19

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Meanwhile, Yasmine Gooneratne (born 1929), originally from Sri Lanka and with a Cambridge doctorate, came to Australia in 1972 to join the English staff of Macquarie University in Sydney. She later became a notable creative writer. Her monograph Jane Austen, published by Cambridge University Press in 1970, takes an overtly Leavisite approach, citing on its first page Leavis’s declaration on Austen quoted above. The book is indeed part of a series called “British Authors: Introductory Critical Studies,” edited by Leavis’s former student Robin Mayhead, and Mayhead’s “General Preface” announces that its volumes aim “to go straight to the authors’ works; to discuss them directly with a care of attention to concrete detail; to say what they are and what they do, and to indicate a valuation.”20 Moreover, the intended readership is not just British students, but those in other countries where English is spoken, particularly those of the Commonwealth (the former empire). Accordingly, Gooneratne’s take on Jane Austen is that, although her novels are now historically distant, and for non-British readers evoke unfamiliar environments, the values they convey “have a real relevance to universally experienced human dilemmas.” Moreover, by unpacking the ironies present in, for example, the opening of Mansfield Park, readers of the present, and in “any Englishspeaking society,” can illuminate life as it is for them in their own place and time.21 On the other hand, in a paper she presented in 1986 and made available to the authors of The Empire Writes Back, but never published, Gooneratne actually foreshadowed Edward Said’s famous highlighting of slavery as a motif in Mansfield Park. Like Said, she connects the “dead silence” of the Bertram group following Fanny Price’s question to Sir Thomas about the slave trade with what she sees as the novel’s larger silence about the economic basis of the supposedly civilized and polite society that the family represents. She implies, then, that an Austen novel may not in fact offer a straightforward moral compass, or an unproblematic expression of “universally experienced human dilemmas.”22 Yet, when in 1994 Gooneratne was asked, as a writer from a former British colony, for her views on the theories of prominent Kenyan postcolonial critic Ngu-gi Wa- Thiong’o, she expressed firm opposition. The author of works such as Writers in Politics (1981) and Decolonising the Mind (1986), Ngu-gi had argued that the British-based education practiced in the former empire acted as a major agent of control that reinforced Britain’s direct military and political power—a kind of cultural imperialism, a colonizing of the imagination. Thus, to represent British writers as expressing some kind of universal “human condition” occludes the concrete experiences of colonized subjects, especially as they are affected by race, class, economics, and culture. But for Gooneratne, her fundamental knowledge base is that of canonical English literature, and her moral compass that of Austen’s fiction.23 Gooneratne is perhaps in the “double bind” articulated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak—that is, occupying two subject positions that are contradictory but mutually constructive.24 Moreover, as regards the overall legacy of the Leavisite movement for former British colonies, its historian Christopher Hilliard suggests, in a comment arguably relevant to both Gooneratne and Wiltshire, that more

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significant than “its potentially anglicizing canon” might be the “unsettling qualities of its critical practice.”25

Antipodean Jane Austen Outside the Classroom The conviction that Austen’s fiction deals with human nature and thus speaks to readers of all times and places was not confined to Leavisite critics. It originated in British nineteenth-century commentary—especially the tendency to see Austen’s characters as types recognizable in any reader’s life. Such an approach has obviously been problematized in more recent criticism, not least because of postcolonial insights. But in the past it had the benefit of countering another trend in responses to Austen: the assumption that she was a writer of limited scope whose main achievement was to know her own limitations. And this assumption was closely related to Austen’s gender—to notions about what women writers could and could not accomplish. Such a tension in Austen commentary is pertinent to the representation of Austen and her works in the Australian and New Zealand press in the later decades of the nineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth. The evidence here also shows the sometimes contradictory ways in which Austen and her writing were positioned in countries that were gradually becoming postcolonial. During this period, a substantial majority of the population in each country was not educated up to the final two years of high school. It is nonetheless clear from newspapers that Jane Austen was a household name. A casual reference to “Austen’s day” is often used as shorthand to locate a period, or her name is listed in a roll-call of writers whom readers are assumed to recognize. As early as 1883, a letter-writer in the New Zealand Herald knew it was cause for complaint that the rather miscellaneous collection in Auckland’s incipient public library did not include the novels of Austen or Hawthorne.26 When new editions of Austen’s novels appeared, they were often reviewed, as were the various editions of the juvenilia, “Lady Susan,” and the unfinished novels, not to mention letters, biographies, and critical works. And if people wanted to know more, there were clearly many opportunities throughout both countries to attend talks and lectures. These might also include readings or dramatizations from the novels, especially Pride and Prejudice. When the more extended dramatizations of the latter—those of J. C. Squire, A. A. Milne, and Helen Jerome—became available, dramatic groups, amateur and professional alike, staged them. These findings echo those recorded in Devoney Looser’s The Making of Jane Austen about the frequency of dramatizations of scenes from Austen among various educational and amateur groups, especially women’s groups, in both Britain and the United States.27 Jane Austen and her works were popular subjects for radio talks, readings, and dramatizations in both New Zealand and Australia from the early 1930s, with the content comprising a mixture of locally produced material and programs originating in Britain. (Television arrived in Australia only in 1956 and in New Zealand in 1960.)

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A regular press contributor, syndicated in various parts of Australia and New Zealand, was Austen enthusiast Walter Murdoch (1876–1970). He had emigrated from Scotland to Melbourne as a child, and in 1913 became the inaugural Professor of English at the University of Western Australia in Perth. From the second decade of the twentieth century through to the 1960s, Murdoch was a regular newspaper writer and then public broadcaster. Some of his essays from the 1920s and 1930s were collected into books that sold well: he tried to pitch his writing to intelligent but not necessarily highly educated readers. In a column from the 1940s onwards called “Professor Murdoch’s Answers,” he responded to readers’ questions on multifarious topics, from the relatively trivial to the very serious. Literature, not surprisingly, was a significant focus of Murdoch’s journalism. While as a literature professor he concentrated on the British literary canon, he did not always give it the same respect in his journalism. He thus manifested the flip side of the “cultural cringe”—that is, the irreverence towards authority that Australians often identify in themselves and respond to warmly in others. Murdoch stressed that literary classics were comprehensible by the ordinary reader, and if they were found dull, then skipping was perfectly acceptable. He sometimes expressed skepticism too about the reverence offered canonical writers, including Milton, Pope, and Trollope.28 But not Jane Austen. Murdoch would affirm in one of his “Professor Murdoch’s Answers” that she was his favorite novelist. This was because of her “perfect sanity,” her possession of “the keenest and quietest pair of eyes that ever watched the antics of humanity.” Murdoch also believed that Austen’s very narrow social world has universal relevance, “is big enough to hold the whole of human nature.”29 Back in 1924, he had welcomed the Oxford edition of Austen’s novels produced by R. W. Chapman, pointing out that she had “quietly come to be accepted as a great classic.” The sign of this was that now, “as if she were Homer or Herodotus,” scholars had come to pay Austen “the tribute of a patient and meticulous examination of every word she wrote.” Murdoch then goes on to define Austen’s greatness by comparing her with Anthony Trollope. Both of them “chronicle small beer,” he writes, such that the interest of their fiction is in “character and manners.” The difference is that “whereas Trollope gives us an admirable picture of his own time—the mid-Victorian era, Jane Austen gives us a picture of human nature.” In experiencing her characters, readers know that “people are still just like that.” And to “reach what is permanent and universal” is a capacity that “is only given to the greatest genius.”30 Murdoch does not set Austen or her fiction in an overtly Australian context: with her “perfect sanity” and universal relevance, she seems to him to make national distinctions—and perhaps other tensions—irrelevant. Nor is he concerned with Austen specifically as a woman writer. There is however a strand in Australasian press commentary on Austen that does highlight such contexts, and the novelist’s gender is sometimes relevant.

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As a famous Englishwoman, Austen could be a source of cultural capital, as is evident in the way the Antipodean press sometimes trumpeted local Austen connections. In August 1930, the Otago Daily Times (Dunedin) discussed Richard and Arthur Knight, grandsons of Austen’s brother, Edward Knight, who immigrated to the Canterbury settlement in New Zealand. Between them, they had produced over twenty-six children and grandchildren.31 A couple of years later, the Christchurch Press marked the death of Arthur’s fourth son, Henry Henderson Knight, and noted that the Knights’ original New Zealand property was called Steventon.32 Meanwhile, in Australia, there were local sidelines to the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s birth in 1975. Australia’s Marie Dobbs was responsible for the completion of Sanditon, published that year, while a property-owner in the Canberra district commissioned a bust of Austen from a local sculptor.33 This latter connection evokes a potential counter-factual story: the man concerned here was not an Austen but Arthur Bigg-Wither, descended from the man the writer ostensibly refused. Like Ker Wilson’s novel, this Australian-based descendant of an Austen connection implicitly asked, “But what if?” Austen might also be invoked to enhance the prestige of Australian or New Zealand figures. So when New Zealand-born Katherine Mansfield’s death in France in 1923 was to be commemorated by both countries sixteen years later, her home-town (Wellington) newspaper cited a French official who characterized her as “a New Zealand author well on the way to rival Jane Austen, even to becoming the greatest female figure in English literature, when her tragically early death intervened.”34 As Mansfield had died at only thirty-four, perhaps even greater works than Austen’s might have come from her pen, had she lived. Meanwhile, Australian drama critic Leslie Rees declared in 1953 that radio serial writer Gwen Meredith was “the Australian Jane Austen” for her successive serials dealing with Australian country life, The Lawsons (1944–1949) and its sequel Blue Hills (1949–1976).35 On the other hand, the achievement of a British canonical writer such as Austen might be illuminated by comparison with a notable Antipodean figure. Consider the ingenious thoughts prompted in “A. M.” in 1937 by an Austen-based playlet he saw in Wellington (Elizabeth and Mr. Collins) just after hearing of the death of New Zealand-born scientist Ernest Rutherford (1871–1937). Rutherford’s most significant achievement was splitting the atom, so A. M. points out that both the physicist and the novelist were “workers in the minute.” Therefore, although Austen’s novels may seem to comprise boring and conventional trivia, just as the constitution of the atom affects all matter, and Rutherford’s discoveries have influenced physics and philosophy, “so Jane’s world of littleness provides her with traits that are universal, and enables her to throw light on human nature in general.”36 In the case of Australian children’s author Ethel Turner (1870–1958), the comparison with Austen is deployed not just to enhance the colonial writer’s aura, but also to aid an intervention in local literary politics. By 1904, when her

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novel Mother’s Little Girl appeared, Turner had been celebrated for a decade, since her runaway success of 1894, Seven Little Australians. Reviewing her new publication, then, the West Australian declares that “it is beginning to be difficult to see in what Ethel Turner is inferior to Jane Austen.” This is because Turner is “second to few in ability to make humanity interested in human nature, to rob the ordinary of its triteness, and to show the comedy and pathos that lie beneath commonplace lives and characters.” Bolstered by this comparison, the reviewer argues that Turner’s work proves that Australia has produced valuable literature— and not literature in which Australianness is defined by “eternal gum-leaves reaching ad nauseam through the pages, and a bushranger, and a scapegrace, and the ‘never–never track’ and the ‘way out back’ and the ‘stock-whip crack.’” The review then directly targets the writing of the Bulletin school that this description has evoked, urging that Australian life, as exemplified by Turner’s works, also possesses “a social and individual element … as interesting as that furnished by the oldest and most characteristic of European countries and peoples.”37 As Brenda Niall has highlighted, the locales of Turner’s novels introduced to Australian writing the areas between the metropolis and the outback—the suburban places where an increasing proportion of the population actually lived.38 But in 1912, A. G. Stephens, the Bulletin’s former editor, although not mentioning Turner, lambasts Austen herself. Asked to review a volume in which the prominent British critic A. C. Bradley had celebrated the English novelist, Stephens claims that Austen’s books are outdated: they are “little books for little people” and “[t] here are so many things that matter more than Jane Austen.”39 Australian readers, this nationalist would like to think, have moved beyond old England’s superannuated trivia. But the strength of Stephens’s dismissal of Austen perhaps points as well to what the Empire Writes Back critics—as I have mentioned—construe in settler societies as “their obsession with nationalism, their unresolved passion for ‘identity,’ and the conflict of both these impulses with the residual links to European culture.” Also at stake in this difference of views is gender politics. The anonymous champion of Turner and Austen is setting these women’s work against writing centered on wide-open spaces and the masculine activities therein; Stephens, one of the principal advocates of such writing, believes that novels focused on women’s lives in early nineteenth-century provincial England are nugatory. Some commentators, however, celebrate Austen’s novels as those of a woman, and/or her heroines as women, thus contesting any assumption that her subject-matter is trivial and her achievement therefore limited. It emerges too that, as Looser has found in early twentieth-century Britain, Jane Austen and her works serve the feminist cause in the Antipodes.40 At the centenary of Jane Austen’s death in 1917, New Zealand-based suffragette C. Jane McAdam (1872–1951)—writing as “Constance Clyde”—published an article about the author’s “true literary genius.” McAdam denies that Austen “misses the deeper things of life” and argues that, as a pre-Victorian novelist

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living in wartime, she was unaffected by any “cult of feminine self-sacrifice” or the Victorian prudery that might have endangered Marianne Dashwood’s reputation or constrained the heroines’ movements due to the presence of chaperones. Austen was accordingly more familiar with men than were later women novelists, and thus portrayed them more realistically.41 Another journalist, writing as “A Woman” in the Wellington Evening Post in 1925 on the topic of “Womanliness: Some More Misconceptions,” identifies in Austen a strength that is “dissembled” but “of perfect control.”42 In a similar vein, writing in the Adelaide Register two years later, Elizabeth Leigh praises Austen’s “perfect craftsmanship” and “thin, clear irony,” and observes that women need a “lively sense of humour” as life habitually subjects them to “many dull, dreary, and foolish people.”43 The following decade, Iris Wilkinson—or “Robin Hyde” (1906–1939)—one of New Zealand’s most significant writers, questions what she sees as the annoyingly casual assumption that “Women Have No Star” in literature.44 The problem is as much excessive praise as dismissal, she explains. Women’s writing ends up being “embalmed” and therefore neglected—Jane Austen being a case in point. Some commentators may be more overtly feminist. For an anonymous journalist in New Zealand’s Nelson Evening Mail in 1922, Jane Austen “quietly but firmly asserted women’s right to have opinions, and to express them.”45 Seven years later, a very positive review of Ray Strachey’s The Cause in the Melbourne Age identifies a variety of women novelists, including Austen, as early women activists;46 and the following decade a commentary on Mona Wilson’s Jane Austen and Some Contemporaries argues that Austen saw men and women as mentally equal, following Mary Wollstonecraft’s lead.47 Notably popular too in the Antipodes was the drama Elizabeth Refuses (1926), by the socialist feminist Margaret McNamara, which brings together the scenes from Pride and Prejudice in which the heroine defies Mr. Collins and then Lady Catherine de Bourgh.48 C. Jane McAdam’s defense of Austen’s heroines in 1917 was informed by her own wartime context as well as Austen’s; the claims advanced by another New Zealand woman, Cecil F. Hull, were calibrated to the atmosphere of April 1941. These were the dark days of a war into which Australia and New Zealand had followed Britain back in September 1939. A Jane Austen heroine, declares Hull, is no “simpering nonentity who faints—nor swoons—at the sight of a mouse.” By contrast, she continues, they are “not in the least ignorant of the darker side of life” and speak their minds “forthrightly.” Moreover, they are so true-to-life that readers might imagine them stepping from the pages of the novels to contribute to the current war effort. Emma Woodhouse would “organise ambulance lectures,” oversee “the digging of air raid shelters,” paste up warning pamphlets, and ensure that the “obedient villagers” adopted the correct attitudes. The energetic Elizabeth Bennet would drive an ambulance by day and assist an underground canteen at night, inspiring fellow workers with her wit and gaiety; and she would be ably assisted by Charlotte Collins, granted a respite from her life at home with her husband. In the Elliot household, meanwhile, Anne would do the drudgery

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of hospitality while her sister Elizabeth would claim all the credit. Even less happily, Catherine Morland would be “the pre-destined victim of the spymonger,” while Marianne Brandon would leave her husband the Colonel for “the first dashing squadron leader who spread his wings before her dazzled eyes.”49 All of this is not just a tribute to Austen’s novels, of course, but also a bit of entertainment for anxious wartime readers. Arguably the most consolatory comment, however, is that Austen herself would be there in the crisis to model the same “serene detachment” she always demonstrated.

Towards the Present The newspaper records show that audiences in both Australia and New Zealand welcomed the first major screen adaptation of an Austen novel, Robert Z. Leonard’s Pride and Prejudice (1940). The movie began screening late that year in the Antipodes, continued into 1941, and enjoyed a couple of revivals. The fact that one of the actors—Edward Ashley Cooper (Wickham)—was Australian was regularly and proudly noted. In subsequent decades, notably from the 1970s onward, British television adaptations of the novels have aired regularly in both New Zealand and Australia; promptly available, too, have been the various film adaptations of the 1980s and later. As far as post-war Antipodean literary criticism on Austen is concerned, several scholars, in addition to Wiltshire and Gooneratne, have been prominent, including the late John Burrows, Australian author of a landmark computer analysis of Austen’s language, Computation into Criticism: A Study of Jane Austen’s Novels and an Experiment in Method (1987), and the distinguished New Zealand critic Jocelyn Harris, known for her Jane Austen and the Art of Memory (1989), A Revolution almost beyond Expression: Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” (2007), and Satire, Celebrity, and Politics in Jane Austen (2017). These critics have found an international audience, as has New Zealand novelist Eleanor Catton, who wrote the screenplay for Autumn de Wilde’s film version of Emma (2020). The former empire, then, continues to write back, but in ways that contribute to the different strands of Austen criticism in a globalized environment. There are also Jane Austen Societies in both countries, just as there are in Britain and North America. Evidence of the globalization of Austen over recent decades can be found in a 2001 collection edited by Susannah Fullerton (the president of the Jane Austen Society of Australia) and Anne Harbers titled Jane Austen: Antipodean Views. 50 The editors wrote to many well-known people from Australia and New Zealand and asked for their experiences of and attitudes toward Jane Austen. The responses they received are quite varied, and given the date of the project—just after a wave of big- and small-screen adaptations of Austen’s novels—it is unsurprising that many of the contributors focus on the films and TV shows as well as, or instead of, the books. The screen adaptations are, of course, evidence of Austen as a global phenomenon. But what is most

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striking about Fullerton and Harbers’s collection is how seldom the respondents’ situations as people living in Australia or New Zealand inflect their attitudes. There is much discussion of how the writers first encountered Austen’s novels, how they reacted, and whether their views have since changed. There is also much praise of what the contributors see as the impressive qualities of Austen’s fiction—the prose style, especially its economy, how recognizable her characters still seem, her wit and irony, her treatment of social class. Austen’s take on male–female relations and the social situation of women is also of considerable interest. But on the whole, the “Antipodean” contributors do not write about this canonical British novelist from an Antipodean perspective. Globalization does have its paradoxes. Walter Murdoch, for example, was published so extensively and for so long partly because of the increasing outlets afforded by a company, News Ltd, established by his nephew, Keith Murdoch (1885–1952). Subsequently, his final articles appeared in the 1960s in The Australian, a new broadsheet founded by Keith’s son, Rupert. Many years later, in his foreword to a collection of Walter’s essays, Rupert Murdoch recalls pleasant visits to his great-uncle’s home in the mid-1950s: “Walter Murdoch was a wonderful old man,” he writes, “kind and whimsical,” and his essays are “delightful exercises of his imagination,” which is hardly surprising as the man himself was “totally unbusinesslike” and “lived very much in his own mind.”51 It is interesting to speculate about what Walter Murdoch might have thought about the later global activities of News Corp. The extent to which Jane Austen’s novels have influenced Australian and New Zealand fiction cannot be addressed in detail here, although it is a topic that would warrant further investigation. But I will conclude with two current women writers of fiction who suggest different angles on the subject: Australia’s Andrea Goldsmith (born 1950) and New Zealand’s Paula Morris (born 1965). Interviewed on radio for the bicentenary of the author’s death in July 2017, Goldsmith’s comments recall the longstanding discourse about the enduring relevance of Austen’s novels: one reason for their longevity, she believes, is that their characters reveal “fundamental human qualities.” So far, so conventional. But Goldsmith also points to the extent of the “imaginative space” in Austen’s fiction, which “activates a willing imagination” in the reader. In Goldsmith’s case, this would catalyze her own career as a novelist. In this context, Mansfield Park, whose treatment of unrequited love helped the young Goldsmith over a crisis in her own love life, became productive once again many years later. In 2017 Goldsmith was writing Invented Lives, a novel concerning a young woman in 1980s Russia who immigrates to Australia. Then a re-reading of Mansfield Park provided an insight into the condition of a young woman who feels exiled, because this was how Goldsmith now understood Fanny Price. Fanny’s predicament at Mansfield Park thus helped Goldsmith to create a very different—and globalized—fictional world.52

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Finally, Paula Morris’s short story “Premises” offers a comic but probing take on globalized Jane Austen.53 Morris is an indigenous New Zealand writer who identifies strongly as Ma-ori, although her fiction, like Goldsmith’s, is set in a variety of locales. In this particular story, a company based in New York and Los Angeles options the unidentified narrator to develop a screenplay for a million dollars. The “premise” is that the script must feature a beautiful woman who is torn between two lovers, plus a grand old house. The writer presents six screenplays in rapid succession, which Austen readers will recognize as the plots of the six novels. The studio demands countless rewrites, keeps the narrator dangling, and ultimately rejects every proposal in favor of a rival’s mash-up of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, having failed to recognize the origins of either writer’s screenplays. The narrator is not paid for her efforts, but it seems likely that she will continue to accept the studio bosses’ empty promises after they offer her the role of script editor. In one sense, the narrator is a modern-day Austen, but one whose value—in every sense of the word—is rewarded in the contemporary globalized context even less than it was two centuries earlier.

Notes 1 D’Arcy Wentworth’s importance for Austen’s fiction is explored in the first chapter of Janine Barchas’s Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012). 2 Edward Said, “Jane Austen and Empire,” in Culture and Imperialism (New York: Vintage, 1993). 3 Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin, The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literature (2nd edition) (London and New York: Routledge, 2002), 194. 4 Elleke Boehmer, Colonial and Postcolonial Literature (2nd edition) (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 104–105. 5 Tim Dolin, “The Secret Reading Life of Us,” in Readers, Writers, Publishers: Essays and Poems, ed. Brian Matthews (Canberra: Australian Academy of the Humanities, 2004), 115–134. 6 A. A. Phillips, “The Cultural Cringe,” Meanjin 9, no. 4 (1950), 299–302. 7 Boehmer, 204–205. 8 Allen Curnow, “The Skeleton of the Great Moa in the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch,” in Collected Poems, ed. Elizabeth Caffin and Terry Sturm (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2017), 99. 9 Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin, 25. 10 John Yiannakis, “An Overview of the ALIAS Data Findings,” in Required Reading: Literature in Australian Schools since 1945, ed. Tim Dolin, Jo Jones and Patricia Dowsett (Clayton, Melbourne: Monash University Press, 2017), 31. 11 Wayne Sawyer, “Literature at School in N. S. W.: Some Recent History,” in Required Reading: Literature in Australian Schools since 1945, ed. Tim Dolin, Jo Jones and Patricia Dowsett (Clayton, Melbourne: Monash University Press, 2017), 142–143. 12 Leigh Dale, The Enchantment of English: Professing English Literature in Australian Universities (Sydney: Sydney University Press, 2012), 173. 13 Ibid., 176. 14 F. R. Leavis, The Great Tradition: George Eliot, Henry James, Joseph Conrad (London: Chatto and Windus, 1948), 1.

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15 Christopher Hilliard, English as a Vocation: The “Scrutiny” Movement (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 235ff. 16 Dale, 189. 17 John Wiltshire, untitled essay, Cambridge Quarterly 25, no. 4 [F. R. Leavis Special Issue] (1996), 420. Wiltshire is the author of Jane Austen and the Body: “The Picture of Health” (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), Recreating Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), Jane Austen: Introductions and Interventions (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), and The Hidden Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014). 18 Wiltshire, untitled essay, 418. 19 Ibid., 417. 20 Robin Mayhead, “General Preface,” in Yasmine Gooneratne, Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970), v. 21 Yasmine Gooneratne, Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970), 2–3. 22 Yasmine Gooneratne, “Historical ‘Truths’ and Literary Fictions,” paper presented at the International Association of University Professors of English, York, 1986, quoted in Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin, 190–191. 23 R. P. Rama, “A Conversation with Yasmine Gooneratne (1994),” Writers in Conversation 6, no. 1 (2019), https://journals.flinders.edu.au/index.php/wic/article/view/ 39/50. 24 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization (Cambridge, MA, and Abingdon: Harvard University Press, 2012), 1–34. 25 Hilliard, 247. 26 “How a Public Library Should Be Dealt With,” New Zealand Herald, June 8, 1883, 6. 27 Devoney Looser, The Making of Jane Austen (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017), 75ff. 28 Patrick Buckridge, “‘Serious Reading’ between the Wars,” in A History of the Book in Australia 1891–1945: A National Culture in a Colonised Market, ed. Martyn Lyons and John Arnold (St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 2001), 330–333. 29 “Professor Murdoch’s Answers,” Herald [Melbourne], December 17, 1949, 4. 30 Walter Murdoch, “Life and Letters: On Whiskers and Eternity,” West Australian, July 12, 1924, 13, reprinted in Collected Essays of Walter Murdoch (Sydney and London: Angus and Robertson, 1938), 20–24. Margaret Diane Stetz has commented on Murdoch’s writings on Austen along similar lines to my own; see her “Walter Murdoch and Jane Austen,” Persuasions 3 (1981), 21–22. 31 Otago Daily Times, August 5, 1930. 32 “A Pioneer Family: Link with Jane Austen,” Press, July 14, 1932. 33 Maurice Dunlevy, “Writers’ World,” Canberra Times, October 10, 1975, 10, and December 22, 1975, 9. 34 “Katherine Mansfield: A French Commemoration,” Evening Star, January 11, 1939. 35 Quoted in C. B. de Boehme, “Book Reviews,” News [Adelaide], June 19, 1953, 17. 36 A. M., “Jane’s World: Pride and Prejudice: Thoughts on a Play,” Evening Post, October 30, 1937. 37 “Literature: Ethel Turner’s New Book,” West Australian, November 12, 1904, 9. 38 Brenda Niall, “Writing from Home: The Literary Careers of Ethel Turner and L. M. Montgomery,” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 15, no. 4 (1990), 179. 39 A. G. Stephens, “The Bookfellow,” Auckland Star, June, 1912. 40 Looser, 165–177. 41 Constance Clyde, “Jane Austen: Her True Literary Genius,” Otago Witness, August 8, 1917. 42 “Womanliness: Some More Misconceptions,” Evening Post, June 13, 1925. 43 Elizabeth Leigh, “Women’s Page,” Register, April 5, 1927, 5.

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44 Robin Hyde, “Women Have No Star,” Press, January 5, 1937, reprinted in Disputed Ground: Robin Hyde, Journalist, introduced and selected Gillian Boddy and Jacqueline D. Matthews (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1991), 201–204. 45 “Jane Austen,” Nelson Evening Mail, December 16, 1922. 46 “A Page for Women,” Age, January 1, 1929, 4. 47 Australasian, October 15, 1938, 46. 48 Looser, 96. 49 “Austen Heroines Do Their Best,” Auckland Star, April 5, 1941. 50 Susannah Fullerton and Anne Harbers, eds., Jane Austen: Antipodean Views (Wellington: Wellington Lane Press, 2001). 51 Rupert Murdoch, “Foreword,” in Walter Murdoch, On Rabbits, Morality, etc.: Selected Writings of Walter Murdoch, ed. Imre Salusinszky (Perth: UWA Publishing, 2011), iv–v. 52 Andrea Goldsmith, “Austen and the Imagination,” Australian Broadcasting Commission, Radio National, July 18, 2017. 53 Paula Morris, “Premises,” in Lost in Translation: New Zealand Stories, ed. Marco Sonzogni (Auckland: Random House, 2010).

Bibliography “A Page for Women.” Age, January 1, 1929, 4. “A Pioneer Family: Link with Jane Austen.” Press, July 14, 1932. Ashcroft, Bill, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin. The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literature (2nd edition). London and New York: Routledge, 2002. Australasian. October 15, 1938, 46. Barchas, Janine. Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012. Boehme, C. B. de. “Book Reviews.” News [Adelaide], June 19, 1953, 17. Boehmer, Elleke. Colonial and Postcolonial Literature: Migrant Metaphors (2nd edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Buckridge, Patrick. “‘Serious Reading’ between the Wars.” In A History of the Book in Australia 1891–1945: A National Culture in a Colonised Market, edited by Martyn Lyons and John Arnold, 325–334. St Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 2001. Clyde, Constance [C. Jane McAdam]. “Jane Austen: Her True Literary Genius.” Otago Witness, August 8, 1917. Curnow, Allen. “The Skeleton of the Great Moa in the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch.” In Collected Poems, edited by Elizabeth Caffin and Terry Sturm, 99. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2017. Dale, Leigh. The Enchantment of English: Professing English Literature in Australian Universities. Sydney: Sydney University Press, 2012. Dolin, Tim. “The Secret Reading Life of Us.” In Readers, Writers, Publishers: Essays and Poems, edited by Brian Matthews, 115–134. Canberra: Australian Academy of the Humanities, 2004. Dolin, Tim, Jo Jones and Patricia Dowsett, eds. Required Reading: Literature in Australian Schools since 1945. Clayton, Melbourne: Monash University Press, 2017. Dunlevy, Maurice. “Writers’ World.” Canberra Times, October 10, 1975, 10 Dunlevy, Maurice. “Writers’ World.” Canberra Times, December 22, 1975, 9. Fullerton, Susannah and Anne Harbers, eds. Jane Austen: Antipodean Views. Wellington: Wellington Lane Press, 2001.

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Goldsmith, Andrea. “Austen and the Imagination.” Australian Broadcasting Commission, Radio National, July 18, 2017. Gooneratne, Yasmine. Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970. Gooneratne, Yasmine. “Historical ‘Truths’ and Literary Fictions.” Paper presented at the Conference of the International Association of University Professors of English, York, 1986. Hilliard, Christopher. English as a Vocation: The “Scrutiny” Movement. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. “How a Public Library Should Be Dealt With.” New Zealand Herald, June 8, 1883, 6. Hull, Cecil F. “Austen Heroines Do Their Best.” Auckland Star, April 5, 1941. Hyde, Robin [Iris Wilkinson]. “Women Have No Star.” Press, January 5, 1937. Reprinted in Disputed Ground: Robin Hyde, Journalist. Introduced and selected by Gillian Boddy and Jacqueline D. Matthews, 201–204. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1991. “Jane Austen.” Nelson Evening Mail, December 6, 1922. “Katherine Mansfield: A French Commemoration.” Evening Star, January 11, 1939. Ker Wilson, Barbara. Jane Austen in Australia. Richmond, Melbourne: Heinemann, 1984. Republished as Antipodes Jane. New York: Viking, 1985. Leavis, F. R. The Great Tradition: George Eliot, Henry James, Joseph Conrad. London: Chatto and Windus, 1948. Leigh, Elizabeth. “Women’s Page.” Register, April 5, 1927, 5. “Literature: Ethel Turner’s New Book.” West Australian, November 12, 1904, 9. Looser, Devoney. The Making of Jane Austen. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017. M., A. “Jane’s World: Pride and Prejudice: Thoughts on a Play.” Evening Post, October 30, 1937. Matthews, Brian, ed. Readers, Writers, Publishers: Essays and Poems. Canberra: Australian Academy of the Humanities, 2004. Mayhead, Robin. “General Preface.” In Yasmine Gooneratne, Jane Austen, v. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970. Morris, Paula. “Premises.” In Lost in Translation: New Zealand Stories, edited by Marco Sonzogni, 175–185. Auckland: Random House, 2010. Murdoch, Rupert. “Foreword.” In Walter Murdoch, On Rabbits, Morality, etc.: Selected Writings of Walter Murdoch, edited and introduced by Imre Salusinszky, iii–x. Perth: UWA Publishing, 2011. Murdoch, Walter. “Life and Letters: On Whiskers and Eternity.” West Australian, July 12, 1924, 13. Reprinted in The Collected Essays of Walter Murdoch, 20–24. Sydney and London: Angus and Robertson, 1938. Murdoch, Walter. “Professor Murdoch’s Answers.” Herald [Melbourne], December 17, 1949, 4. Niall, Brenda. “Writing from Home: The Literary Careers of Ethel Turner and L. M. Montgomery.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 15, no. 4 (1990): 175–180. Otago Daily Times. August 5, 1930. Phillips, A. A. “The Cultural Cringe.” Meanjin 9, no. 4 (1950): 299–302. Rama, R. P. “A Conversation with Yasmine Gooneratne (1994).” Writers in Conversation 6, no. 1 (2019). https://journals.flinders.edu.au/index.php/wic/article/view/39/50. Said, Edward. “Jane Austen and Empire.” In Culture and Imperialism, 80–96. New York: Vintage, 1993. Sawyer, Wayne. “Literature at School in N. S. W.: Some Recent History.” In Required Reading: Literature in Australian Schools since 1945, edited by Tim Dolin, Jo Jones and Patricia Dowsett, 137–157. Clayton, Melbourne: Monash University Press, 2017.

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Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization. Cambridge, MA, and Abingdon: Harvard University Press, 2012. Stephens, A. G. “The Bookfellow.” Auckland Star, June, 1912. Stetz, Margaret Diane. “Walter Murdoch and Jane Austen.” Persuasions 3 (1981): 21–22. Wiltshire, John. Untitled essay. Cambridge Quarterly 25, no. 4 [F. R. Leavis Special Issue] (1996): 415–420. Woman, A. “Womanliness: Some More Misconceptions.” Evening Post, June 13, 1925. Yiannakis, John. “An Overview of the ALIAS Data Findings.” In Required Reading: Literature in Australian Schools since 1945, edited by Tim Dolin, Jo Jones and Patricia Dowsett, 19–37. Clayton, Melbourne: Monash University Press, 2017.

3 “THIS IS 1806, FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE!” The Tension between Nostalgia and Feminism in Austen Adaptation and YouTube FanVids Rebecca White

“This is 1806, for Heaven’s sake!” declares Mary Crawford in Patricia Rozema’s film version of Mansfield Park (1999), her comment stressing the dynamic contemporaneity of Austen’s text.1 Rozema’s adaptation, in its visualization of the interconnections between gender, class and Britain’s imperial status, illuminates the engagement with modernity that characterizes Austen’s writing but has often been obscured by the postmodern “museum culture” of costume drama. Where Austen disturbs idealizations of the past, screen adaptations (especially during the 1990s) broadly depict a “nostalgic and conservative celebration” of “an England that no longer existed.”2 In particular, such nostalgia—often centered on “romance,” marriage, and, by extension, motherhood and home—in many ways veils Austen’s dialogue with Enlightenment feminism, and instead characterizes her work simply as “domestic fiction.” The enduring cultural legacy of Andrew Davies’s Pride and Prejudice (1995), inseparable from Colin Firth’s portrayal of Darcy, is indeed embodied by viewers’ consternation at his version of Sanditon (2019), in which he challenges the screen conventions of Austenian romantic (and ultimately domestic) union that he himself defined.3 In viewers’ criticism of Charlotte and Sidney’s separation—“We need a Jane Austen ending. This series cannot end this way”—a tension between feminist and post-feminist readings of Austen becomes apparent.4 This post-feminist turn, in which (implicitly) women pursue “romance, find a suitable husband, get married, and have children,” is intertwined with nostalgic perceptions of Austenian adaptation as “heritage drama,” and elides Austen’s recognition—alongside Enlightenment feminists such as Mary Wollstonecraft—that “‘for married women’” there is “‘a sad story against them.’”5 This escapist elision has been reinforced by YouTube fanvids, “spin-offs,” and other forms of paratext, in which couples meet “‘quite in fairyland’” (E 349). Even Rozema’s Mansfield Park—where the imperial DOI: 10.4324/9781003181309-5

“This is 1806, for Heaven’s sake!” 57

undercurrents of Austen’s novel are interlinked with a Wollstonecraftian recognition of gendered slavery—and Davies’s Sanditon—which recalls Rozema’s treatment of racial and sexual abuse—are idyllically re-imagined. Despite Austen’s own refusal of marriage (and motherhood), this conflict between her writing and her afterlives was accentuated during the Covid-19 crisis, as “lockdown” posed a need for Austenian “love and friendship.”6 Nevertheless, in tracing Austen’s trajectory from Enlightenment feminist to feminist and postfeminist, her heroines become not simply “fine ladies” but enlightened “‘rational creatures.’”7 Although James Edward Austen-Leigh maintained that his aunt’s “talents” did not “connect her with the literary world,” her conscious portrait of “this age” locates her firmly within the heated debate of the Enlightenment era.8 The 1790s and early 1800s marked “a very clear increase in feminist thinking,” energized by Enlightenment “optimism about the potential of individual human reason.”9 The “Bluestocking” circle, in which figures such as Elizabeth Montagu encouraged intellectual dialogue between women and men, provided a foundation for the subsequent development of “Enlightenment feminism.” While Locke, Paine, and Rousseau scrutinized man’s nature, female writers—most famously Mary Wollstonecraft, but also Catharine Macaulay and Mary Robinson, for example—“vindicated” the rights of woman. Where the Bluestockings celebrated equality of exchange, however, the Enlightenment feminists were galvanized by male-authored attacks. These centered on interrelated issues of education, the tension between rationality and feeling, and the nature and purpose of marriage. Establishing a fraternal voice admonishing female transgression, Thomas Mathias and Richard Polwhele derided Enlightened women writers as “unsexed,” while Thomas Gisborne’s and James Fordyce’s sermonizing insisted that women should behave with Christian mildness.10 Indeed, female writers, such as Hannah More and Hester Chapone, advocated certain male doctrines. In More’s title, Coelebs in Search of a Wife (1809), the male dominates; the woman is defined merely as domestic object. More’s women should instead “submit to reproach without murmuring.”11 Nevertheless, as Margaret Kirkham asserts, in this period, “to become an author was, in itself, a feminist act.”12 In this, a “sisterhood” of women’s writing is discernible, as Wollstonecraft’s rallying cry—“It is time to effect a revolution in female manners”—was both anticipated and answered by “genius of the first order.”13 Mary Scott’s poem “The Female Advocate” (1774) both embodies and celebrates this flourishing female voice; crossing nationality, race, and class, womanhood is the point of connection. Patriarchy’s “idle, empty words” are deflated in Enlightenment feminist tracts, demanding female educational reform and upsetting the division of (male) rationality and (female) emotion.14 Drawing on Macaulay’s Letters on Education (1790), Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1793) instead declares women to be “rational creatures,” crystallizing a belief formulated as early as Catherine Cockburn (1679–1749).15 Wollstonecraft’s call for rational

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female learning (rather than “accomplishment”) pointed towards the liberation of women within marriage, hitherto shackled as “convenient slaves” under coverture. An ideal of companionate union was instead sought, demanding “justice for one half of the human race.”16 It was within this clamor that Austen worked upon her “little bit” of “ivory.”17 As Kirkham notes, “our habit of thinking of Mary Wollstonecraft as a Jacobin, and Jane Austen as a lady novelist,” makes it “difficult for us to see connections between them”—a prejudice rooted in Austen-Leigh’s “Victorianized” portrait of his “dear Aunt Jane” (her familial, rather than authorial, identity inscribed on her very tombstone).18 However, Marilyn Butler’s assertion that Austen’s “reading, in sermons and conduct-books, must have given her old-fashioned notions of social cohesion and obligation” is questionable, especially with regard to gender.19 Although Austen’s nephew maintained that her “own family were so much, and the rest of the world so little,” her letters recall Wollstonecraft’s and Robinson’s inversion of the (male-authored) conduct-book and sermon, directed at “young ladies.”20 Where the latter women admonish an implied male reader—“you force all women” to “remain immured in their families”—Austen’s letters subvert normative behavior, advocating autonomy rather than socially sanctioned advice (in contrast to Chapone’s notes to her niece, which warn against a “rebellious mind”).21 As Austen wrote to Fanny Knight, “you must not let anything depend upon my opinion. Your own feelings, and none but your own, should determine [marriage]” (L 285). Her letters embrace Robinson’s celebration of female “literary splendour,” flouting Polwhele’s disdain of a woman’s confident intelligence: “I shall have no check to my genius from beginning to end” (L 74–75).22 The “wild beast” (L 212) of the letters lays claim to female authorship (upturning Henry Austen’s avowal that his sister shrank from “notoriety”);23 “dear Aunt Jane” is “your affectionate aunt” the author (L 282). Just as Maria Edgeworth formed a community of literary women, Austen fosters the female voice, encouraging her niece’s writing (L 267). Her instruction that Anna develop “Mrs. Forester” echoes her privileging of her own female characters, inverting “Darcymania” into a desire for “Mrs. Darcymania”: “I went to the Exhibition,” but “there was no Mrs. Darcy” (L 212). Similarly, just as Lizzy pens private epistles, retaining ownership over unseen narratives, Georgiana’s agency is recognized: “I should not feel at all sure of the sort of letter that Miss D would write” (L 213). The female writing and readership embodied by Austen’s letters demonstrate a preoccupation with “her-story,” with rewriting history, from the juvenilia onwards. “The History of England” (1791) acts as a corrective to the androcentric texts taught at Mansfield Park; where the Bertram sisters “used to repeat the chronological order” of “kings,”24 Austen recognizes, like Astell, that “men being the historians, they seldom condescend to record the great and good actions of women.”25 Austen instead edits male authority—“the King made a long speech”26—and, in place of “‘hardly any women at all,’” privileges Mary Stuart, Anne Boleyn, and Jane Grey (each of whom was literally and metaphorically

“This is 1806, for Heaven’s sake!” 59

silenced through beheading).27 Austen’s deflation of male authority extends to the celebrated historian Goldsmith, and is reinforced by allusion to Catharine Macaulay’s History of England (1763–1783) and by her voicing of Astell’s sentiments through Catherine Morland and Anne Elliot: “‘History, real solemn history, I cannot be interested in’” (NA 109); “‘Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story’”—“‘the pen has been in their hands’” (P 255). Wresting “their story” away from men, Austen’s women reclaim the past and forge female legacies. In Mansfield Park, “[w]hat Fanny told [Susan] of former times, dwelt more on her mind than the pages of Goldsmith” (MP 485), while Mrs. Reynolds and Mrs. Rushworth recount Pemberley’s and Sotherton’s past; construing male seats of power through a female imagination, they are “housekeepers” who assume ownership. In Persuasion, a “herstory” is likewise written over “The Peerage.” Sir Walter’s legacy (like Mr. Bennet’s and Mr. Woodhouse’s) is female; his only male issue is a “still-born son” (P 3). A Wollstonecraftian belief in women’s “strength of body and mind” over personal charm is, likewise, evident in Austen’s earliest work.28 In “The Beautifull Cassandra” (1788), the heroine “knocked down the pastry-cook,” emasculates the coachman by placing “her bonnet on his head,” and admires the Widow—notably a single woman—as her “freind” (J 54, 55). Significantly, she concludes the tale with directly voiced self-affirmation: she “whispered to herself, ‘This is a day well spent’” (J 56). Rejecting female “vacancy of mind” (NA 56), Austen, like the Enlightenment feminists, extols woman’s educated “‘thinking brain’” (E 498), and castigates mere “accomplishment.” In “Plan of a Novel” (1816), for example, the heroine understands—but does not speak—modern languages; her learning effectively becomes another form of silencing. Indeed, Bingley’s wonderment that accomplished women “‘all paint tables’”29 is deflated through a critique of schools “‘where young ladies for enormous pay might be screwed’” into “‘vanity’” (E 21). Instead, where Tilney capriciously exchanges one smirk for sense, Austen’s female characters mature into Wollstonecraft’s “rational creatures,” granted stature by intellect;30 Emma Watson rises above minds she perceives as inferior, while Emma Woodhouse dominates her father “in conversation, rational or playful” (E 5). Recognizing that, for men, “‘Education has been theirs’” (P 255), Austenian women harness employed minds within Woolfian rooms of their own. Where Lizzy “took refuge in her own room, that she might think” (P&P 339), Fanny appropriates the schoolroom, regaining possession in spite of her dispossession. Progressing from the child’s nursery, she is, crucially, “mistress” of this specifically female intellectual space (MP 177). While Darcy advocates that woman must substantiate “‘the improvement of her mind by extensive reading,’” the mere acceptance of doctrine is rejected (P&P 43). Although Mary Bennet reads “great books,” she “wished to say something” but “knew not how” (P&P 7); she simply recites men. By contrast, just as Isabella Thorpe makes “‘it a rule never to mind what [men] say’” (NA 35), Lizzy’s retort to Darcy’s “‘perfect model of a woman’” (MP 402) stresses her independent perspective: “‘I never saw such a woman’” (P&P 43). Fanny likewise rewrites male narratives, resisting Tom’s theatrical direction—“‘I’ll put you in and

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push you about’”—and indirectly investing “Cottager’s Wife” (an unnamed woman defined by her husband) with a defiant voice: “‘I really cannot act’” (MP 171). Woman’s voice is indeed allowed to reverberate through Austen’s work, transforming the humor of Mrs. Bennet’s cries into an acknowledgement of the artistic integrity of female literature. Consequently, although Catherine reads “all such works as heroines must read” (NA 7), Northanger Abbey replaces Shakespeare with female thought, enabled by Radcliffe’s woman-authored text: “‘We praise Udolpho in whatever terms we like best’” (NA 109). Northanger Abbey’s metafictional commentary focuses on a literary “sisterhood”— “if the heroine of one novel be not patronized by the heroine of another, from whom can she expect protection and regard?” (NA 30). Such connections between female characters mark Austen’s own corpus. In Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, sisters upbraid brothers; Maria’s interiorized pain at Crawford’s rejection—“He was gone—he had touched her hand for the last time” (MP 227)—anticipates Anne’s ever-present past with Wentworth; both Fanny and Mrs. Elton uphold the importance of the female reader (admonishing brothers who eschew writing to their sisters, and husbands who open their wives’ letters); Anne does not faint at injuries, and—like Nurse Rooke—turns “feminine” healing into commanding authority. Crucially, seemingly antithetical women are likened. Where Lizzy is an “‘obstinate, headstrong girl’” (P&P 394), Fanny is “‘a very obstinate, ungrateful girl’” (MP 172); while the former usurps Darcy’s voice and narrates his unheard proposal—“‘I interested you’”; “‘I have saved you the trouble of accounting for it’” (P&P 421–422)—the latter is idealized as “‘a sweet little wife’” (MP 338) in order to be deconstructed. Both become “‘so unlike’” the Fordycean model “‘of civility, of deference’” (P&P 421), their legacies promising to fulfill Mrs. Elton’s expostulation—“‘We married women must begin to exert ourselves’” (E 330): Georgiana understands “that a woman may take liberties with her husband” (P&P 430), while “fearless” Susan inherits Fanny’s place at Mansfield (MP 547). Above all, Austen presents an evolving reflection on Enlightened womanhood: Miss Bates, “‘a ridiculous, disagreeable old maid’” (E 91), is finally given voice through Miss Elliot, the “mature” spinster permitted both sense and sensibility. This “sisterhood” extends to Austen’s identity as a “lady novelist,” invoking “the capital pen” of “sister author[s]” (NA 112) in intertextual dialogues that uphold Northanger Abbey’s manifesto: “Let us not desert one another,” for “no species of composition has been so much decried,” despite being “work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed” (NA 31). Robinson likewise expostulates against men who “think lightly of the literary productions of women; and yet no works of the present day are so universally read as theirs. The best novels that have been written” have been “produced by women”—who, as Wollstonecraft asserts, possess minds in which “thinking powers [are] displayed.”31 Calls for woman’s physical appearance to be “no longer preferred to her mind” connect both Vindication and Emma, 32 while Emma Watson’s disconcertion—“‘To be so bent on marriage, to pursue a man merely for the sake of

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situation, is a sort of thing that shocks me’”33—recalls Hays: “there is something so very degrading in the idea of breeding up women” merely with “the view of catching at a husband.”34 In disassembling the belief that “the only way women can rise in the world is through marriage,” Austen follows the Enlightenment feminists in deflating patriarchal inscriptions of woman’s role.35 A direct line between Austen and Wollstonecraft exists in their critique of Fordyce (indeed, clergymen’s “letters to young ladies” are silenced throughout the former’s work; Lucy renders Edward voiceless—“‘I have burnt all your letters’” (S&S 414)—while Fanny’s internal monologues deconstruct Edmund’s note: “‘’Tis nonsense all’” (MP 491)). Collins’s recitation of Fordyce illustrates “‘how little young ladies are interested by books’” written “‘solely for their benefit’” (P&P 77), while Sir Thomas’s idealization of Fanny reveals normative transgression: “‘I had thought you peculiarly free from willfulness of temper’” (MP 367). Indeed, elements of Austen’s work develop Enlightenment feminism. Whereas Wollstonecraft professed she had no “wish to invert the order of things,”36 Austen presents a subversive “indifference to decorum” (P&P 39) in her portrayal of gender relations, sexuality and motherhood. In contrast to Wollstonecraft’s maintenance of “order”—“I do not wish [women] to have power over men”37—Austen’s heroines achieve authority over male characters who, crucially, themselves voice sentiments that “‘stand up for women’” (E 331). Although Edmund “corrected [Fanny’s] judgement” (MP 25), such paternalism is itself corrected. Through Knightley, male hegemony is doubly curbed; while he “‘cannot make speeches,’” his self-scrutiny deflates Fordycean sermonizing: “‘I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it’” (E 469)—for “‘what right has he to lecture’” (E 504). Knightley’s chivalry in protecting Harriet’s honor is reversed in The Watsons, as the unpartnered male is rescued by the female at the dance. And women tutor men: Harriet introduces Robert to books; Edward “owed all his knowledge” of “the parish” to “Elinor herself” (S&S 418); Anne possesses “seniority of mind” over Benwick (P 108). Jane West’s advocation that woman becomes simply “the helpmate of man” is therefore expanded, as Mrs. Croft (an intrepid traveler, like Wollstonecraft) literally and metaphorically takes the reins from her husband.38 For Wollstonecraft, “the object of education” is still “to prepare women to become chaste wives and sensible mothers.”39 Where Wollstonecraft maintains that “a sexual character” is “subversive of morality,”40 Austen permits both sense and sensibility—“run mad as often as you chuse; but do not faint” (J 133)—and presents love in physical terms: thinking of Wentworth makes “Anne’s heart beat,” bringing “colour into her cheeks” (P 182). Austen’s admission of forbidden sexuality is channeled through her free indirect discourse, capturing the tension between public and private selves, as women guided by “principle” nevertheless possess “the feelings of youth and nature” (MP 307). Fanny’s declaration—“‘every woman must have felt the possibility of a man’s not being approved’” (MP 408)—implies female sexual choice. (Notably, it is Fanny—not Edmund or Tom—who first succumbs to the

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temptation of “‘cousins in love’” (MP 6).) Lucy asserts autonomy of feeling—“‘I have thought myself at liberty to bestow my [affections] on another’” (S&S 413)— and an erotic female gaze upon “manly beauty” (S&S 51) is presented, from the early “Jack and Alice” (c. 1787) to Austen’s mature novels. Crucially, female desire is not simply the preserve of “the most accomplished coquette in England” (LM 8), Lady Susan, but recognized as collective female experience—“the ladies declared [Darcy] was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley” (P&P 10)—and one that extends from youth to maturity: as Mrs. Bennet reflects, “‘I remember the time when I liked a red coat myself very well—and indeed so I do still in my heart’” (P&P 33). Indeed, admitting her own desiring gaze upon Haden, “something between a man and an angel” (L 303), Austen asserts that she “cannot wish [Fanny Knight] to be fettered”—“how few young men you have yet seen,” “how full of temptation” (L 286). Denying such (implicitly sexual) temptation is instead critiqued: Anne “had been forced into prudence in her youth, she had learned romance as she grew older—the natural sequel to an unnatural beginning” (P 32). Austen’s advocation of woman’s “knowledge of her own heart” (MP 106) stresses selfhood—a move beyond Wollstonecraftian social duty. Possessed of minds that “could not be controlled” (S&S 99), Austen’s married heroines are not depicted as Rousseauesque mothers. Motherhood is instead silencing. As Austen lamented to Fanny, “what a loss it will be when you are married,” when “your delicious play of mind is all settled down into conjugal and maternal affections” (L 329). Lady Middleton, identified specifically as a mother, has “nothing to say” (S&S 36); Mrs. Price is denied a direct voice even in her letters; and Mrs. Gardiner “‘must write no more. The children have been wanting me this half hour’” (P&P 360). This tension between self-expression and maternal duty drives Lady Susan. Possessing the direct voice Mrs. Price loses, Susan’s letters deconstruct male idealizations of her “solid affection for her child” (LM 26). Susan’s sexuality is channeled into self-affirmation rather than child-bearing, yet she gains self-belief from her “intellect and manner” (LM 18), not simply her “bewitching powers” of body (LM 8). Lady Susan therefore plays on Enlightenment feminist doctrines advocating educated rationality as a means of upholding domesticity. Susan serves self rather than society and, crucially, is not simply condemned. Despite being a “dangerous creature” (LM 11), her plight is sympathetic: “she is poor, and may naturally seek an alliance” (LM 22). Once more inverting the Fordycean conduct-letter, Susan’s epistles ultimately bequeath a legacy of female subversion; where she is “tired of submitting [her] will to the caprices of others” (LM 72), her daughter likewise chooses “to set herself so violently against the match” prescribed for her (LM 5). The posthumous publication of Lady Susan alongside Austen-Leigh’s Memoir (1871) embodies a conflict; “dear Aunt Jane” is also the “unprincipled woman” (LM 16). The Austenian woman can be protean and performative; in “Lesley Castle,” Louisa insinuates mildness, acts a patriarchally defined role in order to attract a husband. Where Austen thus depicts the reality, rather than the romance,

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of marriage, Austenian adaptations have in many ways perceived only “infinities of love” (L 241). However, just as Lady Susan declares it her “duty to discourage such romantic nonsense” (LM 58), Stillman’s Love and Friendship [Lady Susan] and Davies’s Sanditon (together with Autumn de Wilde’s Emma (2020)) seek to depict the “unsteady nature of love” (MP 381), and readdress sexuality, gender, and domestic relations through a feminist lens. In Emma, de Wilde upsets romance, as Knightley’s proposal is interrupted by the heroine’s nosebleed.41 In Love and Friendship, Stillman likewise ironizes the conventions of the Austenian heritage film; his stylistic revision embodies his thematic revision, retrieving Austen’s biting commentary upon social performance and gender hierarchy. The opening tension between titles and image visualizes Austen’s narrative satire: “Lord Mainwaring—a divinely attractive man”—is juxtaposed with an image of a somber-faced individual, turning away from camera. Male stature is literally and metaphorically diminished. At a visually absurd ball, markedly tall and short men dance together, while Susan challenges Sir Reginald’s authority over his “own land”: “Is this really Kent?” Just as the “Young Curate” is notably small, the authority of the male voice is also undermined. As in Wollstonecraft’s Vindication, Rousseau is dismissed, his misconstrued words met with silence: “words to that effect. You’ll find the citation in Rousseau … if you’re interested.” Male speech is instead circulatory; in Sir James, the bachelor becomes a Miss Bates figure. The (rebutted) offer to “find you the citation” recurs in the film, exemplifying its preoccupation with revising male narratives; similarly, the Commandments are misremembered throughout, emblematizing wider social transgression. Tellingly, men do not understand Susan’s biblical references—she has to explicate the ultimate patriarchal text; the male voice becomes female. Although Jemma Redgrave and Stillman liken the film to Fielding and Wilde, it instead upholds female narratives, just as Austen’s epistolary novel is centered on female reading and writing.42 Indeed, Lady de Courcy silences her husband’s attempt to re-voice their daughter’s letter; Catherine’s “verbatim” message is read aloud, her words inscribed on the screen. The end credits invite audiences to purchase the novel, in which “Lady Susan Vernon will be entirely vindicated,” redirecting viewers back from the male-directed film to Austen as (female) author. Stillman’s adaptations remain rooted in Austen’s wider work; his Americanization of Alicia, under threat of being returned to Connecticut to be “scalped” (she is a piece of married property under coverture), acknowledges Austen’s references to gendered slavery, for example. The film concludes with Frederica and de Courcy’s wedding, yet such convention is invoked in order to be undermined. Notably, where Lady Middleton relinquishes music upon marriage, Frederica sings, consolidating an extra- and intra-diegetic focus on the (artistic) female voice; the image then cuts to the credits, where an additional scene of Susan praying for Johnson’s death and Alicia’s release undercuts marital romance and points towards women’s social vulnerability, forced into marriage as the “only chance” of “not being starved” (J 151).

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Davies’s Sanditon likewise reassesses the “‘modesty, and sweetness’” (MP 340) often associated with Austen adaptations. Davies interrogates, above all, the intertwined issues of female expression, sexuality, and freedom within the confines of coverture, a form of “enslavement” that has been elided in Austenian screen romance; Firth’s/Darcy’s mythologized kiss in Davies’s Pride and Prejudice ultimately silences his wife, binding her to him as property. Davies’s Sanditon does not conclude with Charlotte and Sidney’s marriage; and, crucially, the heroine refuses the romantic security offered by Stringer. As Olly Blackburn notes, the adaptation’s “transgressions,” which “audiences might think are bold,” are, at core, Austen herself.43 Charlotte is an embodiment of what Catherine Morland becomes: she is “sufficiently well-read in novels,” but “not at all unreasonably influenced by them” (LM 169). Above all, she asserts her own voice—“‘I must judge for myself’”—in a text that, characteristically, undermines masculinity (LM 181). Sanditon inverts Northanger Abbey’s celebration of women’s writing, as Sir Edward extols male literature. He is silenced, however, by Charlotte’s rational female perspective—he talks “so much nonsense”— and the male voice is doubly deflated, as the “silly” young man misquotes Scott. Gender types are reversed: while Charlotte unsentimentally debates Burns’s merits, Sir Edward responds—Marianne-like—“very full of some feelings” (LM 176). Sanditon (albeit incomplete) points towards dashed ideals: in Anne Telscombe’s “finished” version, the town indeed “never prospered.”44 Just as it fails to offer visitors “pictures of perfection,” Davies reworks the stylistic image of Austenian adaptation, not least through shots of the construction of the resort/set, thereby reconfiguring heritage nostalgia (L 335). Austen’s preoccupation with redefining the past is likewise invoked, giving explicit voice, in particular, to the “dead silence” (MP 231) of Mansfield Park. Georgiana, a West Indian heiress, is Black—a literal revisualization of an Austen heroine—and her forbidden lover a “Sons of Africa” activist. Charlotte’s incredulity—“surely slavery is consigned to history?”—is rebutted, further unsettling the seats of male authority that Mrs. Reynolds and Mrs. Rushworth appropriate: “It’s in the grand houses of half the nobility of this country.” Georgiana—doubly disenfranchised as a Black woman—is literally and metaphorically unable to achieve liberty; as she attempts to board a carriage, she is racially and misogynistically abused. Although she challenges her guardian—Sidney’s “fortune is so tainted by the stain of slavery”— the scene cuts to him searching for her, thereby regaining his “mastery.” Just as Georgiana’s bedroom wallpaper depicts birds, the adaptation’s editing reinforces that hers is a caged freedom. In providing Georgiana with a voice, however, postcolonial and feminist reassessments become intertwined. Charlotte’s cry—“Can we not rewrite our history?”—implicitly asserts female narratives, wrested from male control. Lady Denham’s adaptation of Austen’s most celebrated lines—“An heiress with a hundred thousand must be in want of a husband”—indeed emphasizes this privileging of female perspectives (notably, Georgiana’s “worth” outstrips even

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Darcy’s). The series opens with a close-up of Charlotte, her visual authority upheld by her subsequent management of the Parkers’ accident; tellingly, she calls to her sisters, not her brothers, for assistance. Camerawork reinforces this narrative control: the camera pans around her, then cuts to her perspective. Shifts between close-ups and medium shots similarly visualize the power dynamics between Georgiana and Sidney; the camera’s eventual fixedness with the former embodies her direction over the latter in such scenes. Just as Mrs. Croft constructs Kellynch, Charlotte implicitly builds Sanditon (underpinned by Lady Denham’s wealth); assisting with Parker’s papers, she becomes a “lady architect.” Within this “matriarchy,” Charlotte’s comical impersonation of Sidney blurs male and female roles, independence and dependence, and undermines masculine stature. Fuchs’s intellect is made absurd by his grossly magnified face; girls beat boys at sport (developing Wollstonecraft’s advocation of female exercise); Georgiana quashes Sidney’s “heroic” rescue (“I am no man’s property … least of all yours”). Reverend Hankins’s Fordycean sermonizing is doubly deflated, exposing the hypocrisy of biblical language infused with innuendo—“consider the lilies … readying yourself for the day when you shall be plucked … and now to God the Father”—and implicitly recognizing female desire rather than deference. Georgiana indeed asserts her own vision over Hankins’s clifftop art lesson; declaring, “I used my imagination,” she paints an “obscenity.” Just as Fanny Price feels liberated outdoors, the sea provides release for an erotic female gaze; as Sir Edward exclaims “Try not to observe us, ladies,” men bathe “wearing no clothes at all.” Developing Firth/Darcy’s semi-clothed emergence from Pemberley’s lake in Davies’s Pride and Prejudice, Sidney appears naked from the sea before Charlotte. Crucially, however, the male form is construed—and controlled—through the female mind, as the scene is channeled through Charlotte’s analepsis. The tension between public propriety and private transgression is likewise visualized; Charlotte’s performed reading of Self-Control (1811) conceals Oatis’s letter, while Georgiana’s pledged obedience to Sidney cuts to her kissing her lover’s hidden portrait. Erotic paintings in Sir Edward and Esther’s rooms accentuate the interplay between innocence and suggestiveness in Austen’s narratives: Esther, bathed in a candlelit halo, sits against a portrait of a naked woman. Yet, while women are thus objectified, they also dominate: Clara controls her sexual encounter with Sir Edward (against the backdrop, tellingly, of a snake mural). The violence of this scene, however, together with the predatory undertones of Hankins’s sermon, recall Mary Crawford’s sufferance of “‘Rears and Vices’” (MP 71). Davies sexualizes the often overlooked “pain,” as well as the “pleasure,” that preoccupies Austen. Distorted sound effects and disorientating camera angles narrate Clara’s implied violation— “You have no idea what I endured”—and echo misogynistic rhetoric: Georgiana is lasciviously construed as “a lively handful in bed.” Sidney’s familiarity with brothels complicates his status as “hero” (indeed, even Edmund Bertram partakes in Oxonian raucousness), and domesticity is disturbed through the Denhams’ incest (their encounter in front of a latticed mirror externalizing Esther’s imprisonment). Austen’s reference to rational dress is developed

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through the association of the “ideal” woman (under the male gaze) with constricting torment (troubling also the nostalgia of “costume” drama)—“pull me tight unless you want me to look like a boy.” Tellingly, physically abused women become (self-)abusing: Clara scalds herself; Esther cuts open her wound. Just as Georgiana is eroticized by men, Charlotte is threatened with rape and Esther is a “saucy bitch” who “needs to be mastered.” While Georgiana is overtly linked with slavery (not least through references to her slave mother), women’s subjection to male mastery crosses race through coverture: both Georgiana and Esther are threatened with married enslavement (the former is indeed kidnapped as a bartered commodity). “Romance” is likewise juxtaposed with realism: Georgiana’s letter from her “beloved Oatis” is read against an image of impoverished domesticity. However, recognizing that “without equality of affection, marriage can become a kind of slavery,” Austen’s preoccupation with companionate union is raised as a solution: symbolized by Charlotte and Sidney “balancing” the boat as they discuss marriage as “a question of compatibility,” shots of the couple are increasingly presented in equal profile (as with de Wilde’s Knightley and Emma). Crucially, Esther and Babington’s wedding is revisionary rather than romantic, exacting a critical commentary upon Austenian adaptation’s concealment of woman as femme couverte. Instead, Esther’s assertion—“I do not wish to be your property”—is met by Babington’s avowal: “I have no wish to own you.” Their parity recalls both Lady Denham’s autonomy—“I am my own woman”—and Charlotte’s self-possession; parting from Sidney, the adaptation concludes with a close-up of Charlotte looking ahead, past the camera, and past the male gaze. Fulfilling Emma Woodhouse’s wish to see the sea, Sanditon’s wide horizons enable female liberation, its tides erasing convention. Davies and Stillman stylistically and thematically redefine the Austenian heritage film, constructing instead the “most unfamiliar world” that Telscombe likewise construes from Austen’s fragment.45 Audiences, however, shared Sir Thomas’s consternation: “‘You have shewn yourself very, very different from anything that I had imagined’” (MP 367). Rejecting Sanditon’s “broken romance,” fans impose “Austen” upon Austen “the author,” recreating her “‘prosaic, unromantic’” Sidney (as described in Telscombe’s version) according to a Darcymania that implicitly reinforces a patriarchal (“enslaving”) narrative of marriage and motherhood.46 Driven by the perception that Davies’s ending is “disrespectful” to “Austen’s memory,” fanvids re-edit his screenplay to create “A Proper Ending.”47 Such fanvids proliferate, reinforcing and recreating each other in a dream of Jane Austen. In Sidney and Charlotte: Adore You, Charlotte’s declaration—“Can we not rewrite our history, if we find it disagreeable?”—is played over Sidney’s leavetaking.48 The video subsequently takes up this call to render Sanditon “agreeable”: Sidney’s exclamation—“I couldn’t let you go”—overlays the couple’s clifftop parting, thereby implicitly reuniting them. Crucially, many montages explicitly frame Charlotte and Sidney’s (re)union with maternal domesticity. In Charlotte

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and Sidney: I Am My Best Self, images of the couple interacting with the Parker children are intercut with Sidney’s declaration, “I would do anything to be blessed with such a wife”; Charlotte is, above all, idealized as maternal.49 Sidney and Charlotte: Falling in Love likewise asserts domestic maternalism, as the opening close-up of their kiss is concluded by Charlotte playing with the Parker children.50 This scene (shot from Sidney’s perspective) introduces Sanditon: A Better Ending, which reverses the sequence of Falling in Love, and instead ends with the clifftop kiss; intercut with (Esther’s) wedding scenes, Charlotte’s clandestine encounter with Sidney is bound back into propriety, her implied maternal, domestic role her “better ending.”51 By disordering the narrative of Davies’s screenplay, fans reestablish Austenian “order”; ironically, their homage is in many ways to Davies’s Pride and Prejudice, rather than to Austen herself.52 Such fanvids enact “a post-feminist nostalgia for pre-feminism”; in doing so, they reassert the patriarchal gender hierarchy that Austen (and the Enlightenment feminists) in many ways disassemble.53 Although #sanditonsisterhood invokes (Enlightenment) feminism, #sidlotte and #stringlotte point back to coverture—Charlotte’s name is merged into men’s. Certain “spin-offs” exact an intricate postmodern, feminist commentary, yet fanvids rework fanvids, placing them back within conventionally “Austenian” frames. The Lizzie and Lydia Bennet Diaries and Emma Approved complicate Austenian “romance.” As her relationship with Wickham develops, Lydia’s eroded selfhood is visualized by her bare face and the webcam’s suffocating closeness; increasingly, her missives seem surreptitious, her voice dispossessed. Wickham coerces her to “admit we’re dating”—a twenty-first-century version of coverture, her “choice” is framed by his control.54 In Emma Approved—a lifestyle coaching business that widens women’s scope beyond romance—Miss Bates is a financial advisor, controlling economics rather than a victim of them, Harriet and Emma share a coded language (invoking Austen’s privileging of female voices), and baby-shower chaos suggests the reality of motherhood. However, despite Emma’s learned lesson—“Better to stop the wedding now than have a bad marriage”— YouTube fanvids reimpose simplified romance: Emma and Knightley: Stay, Stay, Stay (EssieSpiros, 2014) is followed by Emma and Knightley: You Put Your Arms around Me (KnightleyWoodhouse, 2014); meanwhile, The LBD Cast Plays Marrying Mr. Darcy (Mary Kate Wiles, 2017) veils the tension in both Lizzie’s and Lydia’s diaries, and the slow-motion Lizzie and Darcy: Kiss Me (ltdProductions2, 2013) prolongs romance.55 Links to “Emma’s” real-life fashion, dating, and write-in advice blogs, as well as to Martin’s proposal video, perpetuate the (female) pursuit of love and, implicitly, marriage. Significantly, Emma Approved Revival (PemberleyDigital, 2018) negates the Austenian “happy ending”: against the backdrop of client Anne Elliot’s failed engagement, Knightley and Emma are unmarried and Harriet has herself refused Martin. However, the screenwriters responded to fans’ yearning for Emma’s engagement and consequently revived

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her intimacy with Knightley, and the possibility of Harriet and Martin’s reconciliation. This focus on marriage ends ideally in motherhood. An “Austen Bridal Shower Set” (Etsy.co.uk) literalizes “Austenian” weddings; an “Austen-like” profile with the bride-to-be’s name conflates the spinster–author with wifehood; and a “recipe card” reinforces woman’s domesticity. Notably, a “Pemberley Heirloom Baby Blanket” is also advertised. Austen’s contrary focus on intellectual “motherhood”—“I can no more forget [Sense and Sensibility] than a mother can forget her suckling child” (L 182)—is echoed by Robinson: “let your daughters … read and think like rational creatures.”56 However, where Austen’s own “child’s” tale, “The Beautifull Cassandra,” has the girl-heroine run from maternal domesticity, “Austen BabyLit” perpetuates—like the Fordycean sermon—a cycle of marriage and motherhood. Maria Sanchez-Vegara’s My First Jane Austen features a girl holding pen and paper on the cover, yet the book (implicitly) embodies maternalism through the actuality of mothers reading to their children/daughters.57 Jennifer Adams’s Little Miss Austen is emblazoned with a bridal-like girl declaring, “I love Darcy”;58 just as the cover illustration of Kate Coombs’s Goodnight Mr. Darcy reinforces gendered separate spheres,59 Adams teaches that marriage is an ideal, nurturing the next generation’s post-feminist Austen. As Josephine Tovey wrote during the Covid-19 crisis, “None of us know what happens next. At least immersed in Austen’s world … I know how it ends.”60 Austen has become a guide to correct conduct; Austenian courtship forms the model of social distancing, embraced by an escapist nostalgia for the “manners” for which Amanda yearns in Lost in Austen (ITV, 2008).61 As Janice Doane and Devon Hodges maintain, such nostalgia presents an “antifeminist impulse,” where, Gayle Green notes, “woman keeps the home.”62 In a world in crisis, Austen provides comforting certainty, an idyll of enforced domesticity; Austen homewares, baby-name lists, and nursery fittings form the “natural sequel” to dating guides and games. (Elizabeth Kantor’s The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After shows “modern women a world that we’re aching to be part of,” while Emma Campbell-Webster’s Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure construes Mrs. Croft’s intrepidity into successful journeying towards marriage with Darcy.63) In many ways, such narratives demonstrate a tension between feminist and post-feminist conceptions of Austen, embedded in Darcymania itself—suggestive of both the erotic female gaze and a desire for matrimony (or the fulfillment of matrimony in the case of baby clothes captioned “Mummy Loves Darcy”). This conflict characterizes Lost in Austen. Although Londonized Lizzy embraces her career, Amanda Price returns to Regency Pemberley; while this echoes Fanny Price’s rejection of Portsmouth, it privileges marriage over her “fortune” lost under coverture.64 As Sarah Wootton notes, Austen perpetuates “an appetite for nostalgic screen romance,” not least in her biopics. Although Wootton maintains that Becoming Jane (Ecosse, 2007) ultimately “affirms that her fiction is her lifetime’s achievement,” the end titles problematize this; in stressing that “Neither

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Jane” nor “Cassandra ever married,” spinsterhood can be taken as a “sad story” that “Miss Austen Regrets” (BBC, 2007).65 Tellingly, fanvids act as “correctives,” foregrounding Fanny’s belief in her aunt’s hidden love stories. Albeit within the complex power dynamics of the erotic and critical female gaze (in which Knightley’s authority is fetishized, for instance), fanvids embrace the “worship” of men that Mary Chudleigh rejected—women should “men … despise”—and perpetuate the fleeting fixation on romance that Wollstonecraft cautioned against.66 Although Austen professed, “I cannot write quietly … fortunately I have nothing to say” (L 45), her writing aligns itself with these early feminists, echoing Astell’s belief in woman’s “skill to strike out a New Path”67: “I must keep to my own style and go on in my own way” (L 312). Where Astell condemns fine ladies as “good for nothing,” Austen turns this language against men: for Catherine, they are “‘all so good for nothing’” (NA 110).68 Blending defiance with deference— even Jane Bennet asserts, “‘I always speak what I think’” (P&P 231)—Austen scrutinizes the realism, rather than simply the romance, of marriage (a “‘manoeuvring business’” (MP 53)) and domesticity (“composition seems to me impossible with a head full” of “muttons” and “rhubarb” (L 321)). Above all, she writes plainly, not as “‘an elegant female,’” but “‘as a rational creature speaking the truth from her heart’” (P&P 122).

Notes 1 Mansfield Park [1999], directed by Patricia Rozema (Los Angeles: Miramax, 2002). 2 Andrew Higson, English Heritage, English Cinema (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 12. 3 Sanditon, written by Andrew Davies, directed by Oliver Blackburn, Lisa Clarke and Charles Sturridge (London: ITV, 2019); Love and Friendship, directed by Whit Stillman (Dublin: Blinder Films, 2016). 4 ravelscot, discussion board comments, Sidney and Charlotte: I Don’t Love Her, YouTube, posted by Lysse93, August 8, 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3VoeVWnRo0. 5 Angela McRobbie, The Aftermath of Feminism: Gender, Culture and Social Change (London: Sage, 2009), 12; Jane Austen, Emma, ed. Richard Cronin and Dorothy McMillan, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 299. All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text. 6 Austen proliferated on British television during lockdown. Re-runs, particularly of Davies’s Pride and Prejudice, occurred regularly during Spring and Summer 2020 (for instance, on May 7, 2020, BBC Four’s prime evening slot was occupied by Davies’s series; and UKTV ran a “Jane Austen Season” during September 2020). 7 Jane Austen, Persuasion, ed. Janet Todd and Antje Blank, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 75. All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text. 8 James Edward Austen-Leigh, A Memoir of Jane Austen (London: Bentley, 1871), 2; Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, ed. Edward Copeland, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 221. All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text. 9 Jane Rendall, The Origins of Modern Feminism (London: Macmillan, 1985), 2, 7.

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10 Richard Polwhele, The Unsex’d Females (London: Cadell and Davies, 1798); Thomas Mathias, The Pursuits of Literature (London: Becket, 1797), ii; Thomas Gisborne, Sermons (London: Cadell and Davies, 1802); James Fordyce, Sermons to Young Women (London: Payne, 1766). 11 Hannah More, Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education (London: Cadell and Davies, 1801), 319. 12 Margaret Kirkham, Jane Austen: Feminism and Fiction (London: Athlone, 1997), 33. 13 Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (London: Johnson, 1796), 92; Mary Robinson, A Letter to the Women of England (London: Longman, 1799), 12. 14 Wollstonecraft, Vindication, 211. 15 Ibid., 6. 16 Ibid., x, xiv. 17 Jane Austen to James Edward Austen, December 16–17, 1816, in Jane Austen’s Letters (3rd edition), ed. Deirdre Le Faye (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 323. All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text. 18 Kirkham, 40; Austen-Leigh, Memoir, 1. 19 Marilyn Butler, Romantics, Rebels and Reactionaries (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981), 102. 20 Austen-Leigh, 11. 21 Wollstonecraft, Vindication, ix; Chapone, 68. In Love and Freindship, it is Janetta’s duty to flout her father—upturning Gisborne’s and Fordyce’s prescribed obedience. 22 Robinson, 12. 23 Henry Austen, “Biographical Notice of the Author” (P 330). 24 Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, ed. John Wiltshire, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 21. All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text. 25 Mary Astell, The Christian Religion (London: Wilkin, 1705), 293. 26 Jane Austen, Juvenilia, ed. Peter Sabor, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 177. All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text. 27 Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, ed. Barbara M. Benedict and Deirdre Le Faye, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 110. All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text. 28 Wollstoncraft, Vindication, 8. 29 Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, ed. Pat Rogers, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 42. All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text. 30 Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, ed. Edward Copeland, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 412. All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text. 31 Robinson, 95; Wollstonecraft, Mary: A Fiction [1788], ed. Michelle Faubert (Toronto: Broadview, 2012), 76. 32 Wollstonecraft, Vindication, 8. 33 Jane Austen, Later Manuscripts, ed. Janet Todd and Linda Bree, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 83. All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text. 34 Mary Hays, Appeal to the Men of Great Britain (London: Johnson, 1798), 227. 35 Wollstonecraft, Vindication, 9. 36 Ibid., 49. 37 Ibid., 134. 38 Jane West, Letters to a Young Lady (New York: Penniman & Co, 1806), 21. 39 Wollstonecraft, Vindication, 200.

“This is 1806, for Heaven’s sake!” 71

40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47

48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68

Ibid., vii–viii. Emma, directed by Autumn de Wilde (London: Working Title, 2020). DVD Extras, Love and Friendship. DVD Extras, Sanditon. Jane Austen and Anne Telscombe, Sanditon (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1975), 154. Ibid., 87. Ibid., 134, 151. In contrast to fanvids, Telscombe’s continuation of Austen’s narrative is interesting in its de-romanticization of Sidney. Elizabeth B., discussion board comment, “Sanditon Review: One of ITV’s Most Divisive Dramas in Recent History,” October 14, 2019, culturefly.co.uk, https://cul turefly.co.uk/sanditon-review-one-of-itvs-most-divisive-dramas-in-recent-history/. Despite de Wilde’s revisionary proposal scene, fanvids romanticize this moment, and simplify Stillman’s film into an uncontested narrative of love and friendship. Sidney and Charlotte: Adore You, YouTube, 3:29, posted by Lysse93, August 8, 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ur1c8U17wE. Charlotte and Sidney: I Am My Best Self, YouTube, 4:09, posted by soledad, August 8, 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ur1c8U17wE. Sidney and Charlotte: Falling in Love, YouTube, 2:50, posted by Oulina, August 8, 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sG2PD-JP20. Sanditon: A Better Ending, YouTube, 4:05, posted by Misstweet, August 8, 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rlo85pMUGg. Discussion board, Sanditon: A Better Ending, www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rlo85p MUGg. Alice Ridout, “Lost in Austen: Adaptation and the Feminist Politics of Nostalgia,” Adaptation 4, no. 1 (2011), 14. The Lydia Bennet Diaries: Kicks, YouTube, 2:24, posted by TheLydiaBennet, August 8, 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcDfefV7D18. Emma Approved: The Right Decision, YouTube, 6:39, posted by PemberleyDigital, August 8, 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGPM7qnPXjU. Robinson, 94. Maria Sanchez-Vegara, My First Jane Austen (London: Frances Lincoln, 2019). Jennifer Adams, Little Miss Austen (Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith, 2011). Kate Coombs, Goodnight Mr. Darcy (Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith, 2014). Josephine Tovey, “Sense and Social Distancing,” Guardian, April 29, 2020, www. theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/apr/30/sense-and-social-distancing-lockdown-ha s-given-me-a-newfound-affinity-with-jane-austens-heroines. Lost in Austen, written by Guy Andrews, directed by Dan Zeff (London: ITV, 2009). Janice Doane and Devon Hodges, Nostalgia and Sexual Difference (New York: Methuen, 1987), xiii; Gayle Green, “Feminist Fiction and the Uses of Memory,” Signs 16, no. 2 (1991), 296. Elizabeth Kantor, The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After (Washington, DC: Regnery, 2012), ix; Emma Campbell-Webster, Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure (New York: Riverhead, 2007). See also Ridout, 22. Sarah Wootton, “Revisiting Jane Austen as a Romantic Author in Literary Biopics,” Women’s Writing 25, no. 4 (2018), 541, 546. Mary Chudleigh, The Female Advocate (London: Andrew Bell, 1700), 41. Mary Astell, “Preface to Travels of an English Lady, by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu” [1724], in The Complete Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, ed. Robert Halsband (Oxford: Clarendon, 1965), 467. Mary Astell, A Serious Proposal to the Ladies (London: Wilkin, 1701), 124.

72 Rebecca White

Bibliography Adams, Jennifer. Little Miss Austen. Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith, 2011. Andrews, Guy, writer; Zeff, Dan, director. Lost in Austen. London: ITV, 2008 [DVD]. Astell, Mary. A Serious Proposal to the Ladies. London: Wilkin, 1701. Astell, Mary. The Christian Religion. London: Wilkin, 1705. Astell, Mary. “Preface to Travels of an English Lady, by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu” [1724]. In The Complete Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, edited by Robert Halsband, 467. Oxford: Clarendon, 1965. Austen, Jane. Jane Austen’s Letters, ed. Deirdre Le Faye (3rd edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995. Austen, Jane. Emma. Edited by Richard Cronin and Dorothy McMillan. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Austen, Jane. Mansfield Park. Edited by John Wiltshire. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Austen, Jane. Juvenilia. Edited by Peter Sabor. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Austen, Jane. Northanger Abbey. Edited by Barbara M. Benedict and Deirdre Le Faye. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Austen, Jane. Persuasion. Edited by Janet Todd and Antje Blank. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Edited by Pat Rogers. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Austen, Jane. Sense and Sensibility. Edited by Edward Copeland. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Austen, Jane. Later Manuscripts. Edited by Janet Todd and Linda Bree. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Austen, Jane and Anne Telscombe. Sanditon. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1975. Austen-Leigh, James Edward. A Memoir of Jane Austen. London: Bentley, 1871. Butler, Marilyn. Romantics, Rebels and Reactionaries. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981. Campbell-Webster, Emma. Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure. New York: Riverhead, 2007. Chapone, Hester. Letters on the Improvement of the Mind. London: John Sharpe, 1829. Chudleigh, Mary. The Female Advocate. London: Andrew Bell, 1700. Coombs, Kate. Goodnight Mr. Darcy. Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith, 2014. Davies, Andrew, writer; Blackburn, Oliver, Lisa Clarke and Charles Sturridge, directors. Sanditon. London: ITV, 2019 [DVD]. de Wilde, Autumn, director. Emma. London: Working Title, 2020 [DVD]. Doane, Janice and Devon Hodges. Nostalgia and Sexual Difference. New York: Methuen, 1987. Fordyce, James. Sermons to Young Women. London: Payne, 1766. Gisborne, Thomas. Sermons. London: Cadell and Davies, 1802. Green, Gayle. “Feminist Fiction and the Uses of Memory.” Signs 16, no. 2 (1991): 290–321. Green, Hank and Bernie Su. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. YouTube, April 9, 2012–March 28, 2013. www.youtube.com/user/LizzieBennet [video]. Hays, Mary. Appeal to the Men of Great Britain. London: Johnson, 1798. Higson, Andrew. English Heritage, English Cinema. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. Kantor, Elizabeth. The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After. Washington, DC: Regnery, 2012.

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Kirkham, Margaret. Jane Austen: Feminism and Fiction. London: Athlone, 1997. Mathias, Thomas. The Pursuits of Literature. London, Becket, 1797. McRobbie, Angela. The Aftermath of Feminism: Gender, Culture and Social Change. London: Sage, 2009. More, Hannah. Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education. London: Cadell and Davies, 1801. O’Brien, Karen. Women and the Enlightenment in Eighteenth-Century Britain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Polwhele, Richard. The Unsex’d Females. London: Cadell and Davies, 1798. Rendall, Jane. The Origins of Modern Feminism. London: Macmillan, 1985. Ridout, Alice. “Lost in Austen: Adaptation and the Feminist Politics of Nostalgia.” Adaptation 4, no. 1 (2011): 14–27. Robinson, Mary. A Letter to the Women of England. London: Longman, 1799. Rozema, Patricia, director. Mansfield Park [1999]. Los Angeles: Miramax, 2002 [DVD]. Sanchez-Vegara, Maria. My First Jane Austen. London: Frances Lincoln, 2019. Stillman, Whit, director. Love and Friendship. Dublin: Blinder Films, 2016 [DVD]. Tovey, Josephine. “Sense and Social Distancing.” Guardian, April 29, 2020. www.thegua rdian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/apr/30/sense-and-social-distancing-lockdown-ha s-given-me-a-newfound-affinity-with-jane-austens-heroines. Ty, Eleanor. Unsex’d Revolutionaries: Five Women Novelists of the 1790s. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993. West, Jane. Letters to a Young Lady. New York: Penniman & Co, 1806. Wollstonecraft, Mary. Mary: A Fiction [1788]. Edited by Michelle Faubert. Toronto: Broadview, 2012. Wollstonecraft, Mary. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. London: Johnson, 1796. Wootton, Sarah. “Revisiting Jane Austen as a Romantic Author in Literary Biopics.” Women’s Writing 25, no. 4 (2018): 536–548.


Identity, Relationality, and Community

4 LOGICAL TIME IN AUSTEN’S PERSUASION1 Desire and the Unproductive Anxious Interval Isabelle Michalski and David Sigler

In the popular imagination, Jane Austen reigns as the quintessential British novelist of manners, social convention, nation, and family.2 But one could just as easily describe her as the novelist of desire, given the longing that motivates the plot of her every novel, or of lack, which she can treat as desire’s origin. Austen’s protagonists seem to have internalized an elaborate web of rules and prohibitions, which gives them a sense of their own lack and the lack in others, and this, in turn, can tend to generate desire, which, in turn, generates plot. Given this situation, we find it strange how infrequently Austen has been discussed from a Lacanian standpoint. Recent years have seen the first emergence of Lacanian work on Austen, after decades in which nothing of the kind had been attempted.3 Daniela Garofalo, whose work has led the way in this regard, despairs that “Jane Austen has rarely been read in conjunction with Lacanian theory,” despite how Austen’s subject matter—loss, desire, sexual difference, and social competition—“connects her powerfully to some central Lacanian concerns.”4 One thing that a Lacanian approach to Austen would help us understand, we suggest, would be the function of time in her fiction. The question of time has been posed often in Austen criticism, especially with regard to Persuasion, and yet there remain gaps, which readers powerfully feel, between the subjective experience of time for the characters, the rigors of narrative time, and the steady march of clock time as the novel represents it. Emily Rohrbach has shown how these “gaps and silences” open into problems of “future anteriority,” which seem to instantiate a “double ‘time of reading.’”5 Lacan, as Rohrbach acknowledges, can be especially helpful as we continue to account for the temporal effects of this lack, and its significance for the novel’s treatment of intersubjective desire. In her classic analysis of Persuasion, Robyn Warhol points out that DOI: 10.4324/9781003181309-7

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Anne Elliot has no moment of looking at herself, no glance into a mirror or contemplation of any part of her body she might see—she becomes visible in the text only through the comments others make about how she looks.6 Others note, additionally, that Anne is often either silent or ignored.7 Unable to look at herself directly or be heard, Anne’s situation recalls a logic game presented by Jacques Lacan in his essay “Logical Time and the Assertion of Anticipated Certainty: A New Sophism,” included in Écrits, in which three prisoners, given no access to verbal communication or a mirror, race each other to deduce, through observations of one another’s behaviors, the color of a disk affixed behind each of their backs.8 Each time one of the prisoners hesitates to leave, the others can begin to surmise what their own disk must look like. The implicit lesson of Lacan’s thought experiment, as Derek Hook explains, is that “I can have no full understanding of what I ‘objectively’ am.”9 If the basic stock in trade of psychoanalysis is that, given the unconscious, no one can know one’s innermost self, then “Logical Time” suggests that one cannot hope to learn about oneself in any external way, either. Hence psychoanalysis finds itself in the province of the nineteenth-century novel, and especially of Austen: free indirect discourse constructs, exploits, and ironizes exactly this gap between subjective and objective self-understandings. Persuasion is a novel about repetition, and many of its episodes seem to reenact themselves in new contexts throughout. This essay will examine, in particular, a chain of four scenes, each of which reiterates its precursor: first, as Charles and Mary Musgrove try to leave their son’s sick-room to meet Frederick Wentworth; second, when Frederick Wentworth first sees Mr. William Elliot looking at Anne; third, as everyone assembles in the Octagon Room before the concert; and fourth, as Frederick and Anne exchange glances during the concert. Each scene exploits aspects of the previous one, such that the novel becomes, in a way, a series of logic puzzles in which a character attempts to earn the right to leave a closed room or otherwise flee the scene. The scenes build upon each other in the ideological work that they perform: first (in the sick-room of little Charles), asserting that gender identity can be logically derived from one’s uselessness; second (with the arrival of Mr. Elliot), that a man’s desire is activated only in a triangular relation to the desire of other people; third (in the Octagon Room), that desire depends upon a scopic field which, when properly interpreted, will cost the characters their very subjectivity; and fourth (at the concert), that characters deduce their own desirability to the other only through the ordeal of desubjectivization. These scenes, then, do not replicate each other, so much as lift one element from its immediate predecessor and organize new relations around it, each time a bit more complex in its intersubjective structure than the time before. In these redoubled episodes, Persuasion produces, through a network of looks, glances, and measured pauses, a way of thinking about oneself in and through one’s lack in relation to the desire of the other, first to anchor a self

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within Regency gender hierarchies and second to certify the desire of these gendered subjects. Lack, one might even say, is the very thing produced, and Austen ensures that it must be endured as if it were a positive entity if desire is to function as it should. In the process of its manufacture, a complex temporality emerges that undercuts any distinction between objective and subjective knowledge. The repetition of the scenes ensures that a symbolic frame, separate from any individual character’s wishes or the demands of the clock, begins to fashion its own form of temporality that we could call “logical time.” Persuasion begins with two characters seeking, and failing, to know what they are “objectively”: we have Anne Elliot, who tends to view herself as others see her; and her father, Sir Walter Elliot, who takes pleasure in locating himself in the pages of the baronetage. The novel is all too pleased to make a contrast between them: Anne, regretful and withdrawn, provides a poignant counterpoint to the overconfident and proud Sir Walter. But what exactly is the difference? Both, unable to understand themselves through introspection, are searching for evidence of themselves in the eyes of external authorities. In the long aftermath of her split with Frederick Wentworth, Anne has taken on “all the additional pain of opinions … totally unconvinced and unbending,” and has identified with those painful opinions to the point of thinking herself “only Anne.”10 When informed that Frederick has found her “so altered he should not have known you again,” she nods “in silent, deep mortification” for “doubtless it was so” (P 65). Though the narrator seeks to draw a contrast between Sir Walter’s pretension and Anne’s self-loathing, we can see how these are both, at root, narcissistic formations: learning to see oneself from the perspective of the rules and systems that surround one is, too, a sort of narcissistic attachment, for it enables one to maintain an attachment to the ego-libido as a “deflection of sexuality.”11 Narcissism, Freud explains, is not self-love but the love of the lack in oneself: it involves objectifying one’s lack and loving it, and so loving what one used to be, or might have been.12 To put the difference in Lacanian terms: Anne tries to locate herself in the imaginary register, comparing herself against the idealized models of behavior and systems of rules designed to control her destiny, while Sir Walter looks for himself in the symbolic, fearful that he might disappear if he cannot find his family name in the public record, and relieved to be plotted within a network of places, names, and dates meant to confer prestige (P 3). The daughter is governed by the ego ideal; the father by the superego. In this sense, Anne and Sir Walter have simply found different levels, imaginary and symbolic, at which to invest ego-libido at the expense of object-libido. The significance of “Logical Time” is that it crosses those levels: it enables a symbolic structure to emerge from the play of imaginary identifications. “Logical Time” is an exceptionally complex essay, even by Lacanian standards, yet the premise is simple: three prisoners are attempting to earn their freedom from an apparently sadistic prison warden. Knowing only that as many as two black disks and three white disks might be in play, each prisoner must deduce,

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without the aid of a mirror or verbal communication, based on the actions of his two counterparts and the observed colors of their disks, the color of his own disk, which is affixed behind his back. The thought experiment at first seems to be about game theory, which would be unusually rationalistic for the world of psychoanalysis; quickly, though, it begins to incorporate the experience of time as it crosses between subjective and objective registers. Because, as it turns out, all three of the disks are white, the winning contestant must quickly learn not only to see himself through the eyes of his two counterparts, but also to see each of them as the other sees him. Effectively, the game parodies but negates any sort of affirmative logic based on everyone’s pursuit of their own rational advantage; one needs to objectify oneself radically—indeed, do away with any sense of oneself as a choosing subject—to arrive at the correct answer. In this sense, it disassembles the model of subjectivity prized in Michael Chwe’s Jane Austen, Game Theorist, with its emphasis on rational strategic choice,13 and becomes an allegory for subjectivity writ large. It also reverberates, allegorically, with questions of civil rights, given its criminological bent, the perpetual whiteness of the disks, and the failed processes of recognition at play. Lacan uses the thought experiment to illustrate several things: the way that subjectivity is built intersubjectively through the regard of other people; how the mirror stage plays out all the time in social situations, even in the absence of a mirror; how we become subjected to symbolic arrangements automatically, once a lattice of identifications is built at the imaginary level; and how time functions in multiple ways, at the subjective and objective levels, all at once—and even undoes any distinction between those levels—as the subject learns to inhabit and respond to its rhythms. All of these lessons are relevant to Persuasion, which presents courtship as a similar sort of intersubjective prisoner’s dilemma. Its characters must learn how to desubjectivize themselves if they are to become marriageable: Anne, in particular, learns to stop trying to fill the gaps of her self-knowledge through external validation, and instead learns to accept and embody the gap that she “is.” It is a puzzle without an easy answer because, as we shall see, she can fathom her own nothingness only once Wentworth discerns it. Having learned to identify with her own lack, she next learns to measure the way that the intersubjective field around her bends to accommodate it, and to reason from that field’s inhuman perspective. Successful courtship in Persuasion is about learning to see how one’s lack is taken up in the eyes of the other, and to accept, before others do, that it will never be successfully accommodated into the social register. Desire is, consequently, irreducibly alien and excessive, and it gives way to a strange temporality. This is a novel in which time can seem to have a life of its own: Persuasion focuses the reader’s attention, to an unusual extent, on the time that has already passed prior to the diegesis, and ends with “the dread of a future war” (P 275). Although many (including Lorraine Fletcher) have noted that “time is pervasive” in Persuasion, given that a longstanding erotic attachment is shown, in the end, to be still feasible, such readings focus especially on the outcome of the marriage plot.14 In such an interpretation, it

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would seem that Anne gradually learns to shake off the influence of meddling family members and to pursue the man that she has always wanted. Although such an account of Persuasion highlights the effects of time and repetition in the novel, it neglects to consider how time, moving multiply between the subjective and objective registers of the novel, crosses through and cuts across Anne and Wentworth, even, at times, canceling them out. As we see it, only once they factor in this lack can the marriage plot find its culmination, and Anne escape from economic precariousness and social humiliation. Austen critics have, in recent years, begun to think about Persuasion in terms of theory of mind. In such a reading, the novel’s unique textures arise through characters thinking about other characters thinking about them.15 “Logical Time” works from a similar premise but complicates the situation by adding the element of time: whereas cognitive approaches can tend to focus on the imaginary aspect of the situation—that is, the way that characters evaluate themselves in the presumed thoughts of others—Lacan’s essay teaches us to consider how symbolic structures, such as time, constantly intersect with and work against such identifications. Lacan outlines a range of temporalities that begin to come into play, seemingly autonomously, as the prisoners take stock of themselves in the other prisoners’ eyes. First, we have “the instant of the glance,” when the prisoners look at their counterparts’ disks and take note of the color. Second, we have “the time of comprehending,” as the successful prisoner processes the implications of the other characters’ disks for his own. This phase continues through the next two phases: there is a delay between “the time of meditation,” in which each prisoner considers that the others are not moving, and “the assertion about oneself,” in which he begins to realize, through the others’ inaction, that his own disk must be white, too. Next comes “the time of lagging behind the other,” a second pause appearing as the prisoner realizes that the other characters have similarly deduced the whiteness of their disks—a time that “lags behind the other” in the prisoner’s subjective experience but not in any objective way. This double delay is what finally confirms the whiteness of the disk; it gives way, then, to “the moment of concluding.”16 Even a relatively simple intersubjective triangle such as this, precisely because it depends upon theory of mind, quickly becomes vulnerable to a range of competing temporalities that can sometimes be measured with a stopwatch but cannot be reconciled with clock time. Lacan tracks a process by which these temporalities begin to fit inside of one another: it is even possible, he suggests, for “the time for comprehending” to be nearly simultaneous with “the moment of concluding,” so that the entire drama can be compressed into “the instant of the glance.”17 Lacan wonders: would the time of “Logical Time” be objective, like a clock, or subjective, like the feeling of time passing? Remarkably, it undoes this distinction. At the moment of the prisoners’ doubt, objective time reappears as a limit to the time of comprehending. This is what Lacan dubs the “force of doubt.” Through it, at the instant of the glance, the time for comprehending is objectivized: “One must know that one is white when the others have hesitated twice in leaving,” he

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explains. That is, a prisoner can determine his own disk’s color only because the other has hesitated twice, such that the assertion of certainty is “desubjectified to the utmost.” Yet its basis is “the subjective evidence of lag-time.” Confronting this enigma, Lacan takes pains to explain the solution in two ways, subjectively and objectively, knowing that the solution can be grasped only if one has both explanations together.18 Persuasion, like “Logical Time,” suggests that subjective and objective knowledge are mutually constituted and destabilizing. When, at the end of the novel, the narrator utters an unexpected “I” by saying: “This may be bad morality to conclude with, but I believe it to be truth,” the narrator asserts its subjectivity just as it finally articulates a supposedly objective “truth” (P 270). Similarly, when Mrs. Smith warns Anne about Mr. Elliot, she offers the information in the name of objectivity: “Facts shall speak” (P 216). Although “facts,” speaking for themselves, would seem to enforce something objective, they arise from something emphatically intimate: Mr. Elliot was, Anne is told, “the intimate friend of my dear husband,” and so Mrs. Smith, as someone married to Mr. Elliot’s “intimate friend,” knew him “intimately” herself, and from that perspective “found them most intimate friends” (P 214–216). As Mrs. Smith’s “intimate” knowledge of an “intimate” friendship becomes desubjectivized as autonomous “facts,” Anne reacts with a pause, which in turn leads Mrs. Smith also to pause in response to the force of Anne’s doubt, and through this play of pauses the conversation traverses the objective and subjective registers, producing asynchronous temporalities. “Anne’s astonished air, and exclamation of wonder, made [Mrs. Smith] pause,” we are told, and Anne begins to realize that there is something in Mr. Elliot “which I could never quite reconcile with present times” (P 215–216). We have, here, the entire apparatus of Lacan’s “Logical Time” essay: characters measuring one another’s pauses and responding with pauses of their own, as a way of learning about their marriageability; the play of time that moves across and between these pauses, and these characters, to undo any distinction between the realms of intimacy and fact. The scene is crucial, somehow, to the plot of the novel, and yet it adds nothing: Anne disliked Mr. Elliot before she heard Mrs. Smith’s report, given his imperceptiveness at the concert; the information from Mrs. Smith merely helps her decide that she still does not like him. Repetition, as a structure, is so thoroughly built into the plot of Persuasion that its most crucial scenes can add nothing to the plot—a plot that, not coincidentally, tells the story of a woman getting back together with her former suitor. The first of our repeating scenes comes as the Musgroves care for their son Charles, who has fallen ill. Although it seems to concern sympathy and care, it quickly becomes a disquisition about gender roles; although it seems to be a rare case of Austen thinking about married life rather than courtship, the scene is also, as Christopher Nagle has shown, crucial to Persuasion’s marriage plot.19 When little Charles falls ill, his parents jostle for the chance to leave the sick-room to meet Captain Wentworth. Charles Musgrove Sr., Mary Musgrove, and Anne

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Elliot become, in effect, three prisoners trying to outwit one another for the chance to leave the room. Anne is not yet adept at this game, but she watches the others play it masterfully, which will help her later when the scene recurs in more complicated form at the concert hall in Bath, during an episode that Alan Palmer has called “an attribution manual in its analysis of the behavioral clues on which theory of mind rests.”20 In little Charles’s sick-room, Charles and Mary relay arguments through Anne to establish themselves as male or female—a binary system for thinking about gender that can function like the black and white disks of Lacan’s scenario. The key to the situation is the direction of its reasoning: it is not that Charles Musgrove, knowing that he is a man, claims the prerogative to come and go as he pleases; rather, he seems to argue, in relation to the other two who are marked “W,” that he can therefore leave. This is the simplest version of Lacan’s scenario: it is as if, knowing that only two W disks can be in play, Charles Musgrove can logically deduce that his disk is marked M. After all, his son was to be kept in bed, and amused as quietly as possible; but what was there for a father to do? This was quite a female case, and it would be highly absurd in him, who could be of no use at home, to shut himself up. (P 59) That is, he argues that because he is useless here—as there is only enough work for two—he must be a man. Mary, like the second prisoner in Lacan’s game, sees Charles making that calculation and so makes a similar calculation of her own, arguing: “to be sure I may just as well go as not, for I am of no use at home—am I? and it only harasses me” (P 59). It would seem that, in order to leave the room, Mary and Charles will have to be able to justify their exit “upon logical and not simply probabilistic grounds,” and that those grounds pertain to a discovery of who I am as a gendered subject.21 If Charles Musgrove has earned the right to leave, it is because he is useless here, and thus a man; his being authorized to leave the room is what retroactively certifies that he has been a man all along. In response, Mary begins to make the case for her own uselessness, which inaugurates a second round of negotiation. When Anne tries to correct her sister in these suppositions, based on the presumption of what she sees as natural gender roles, Mary begins to assert that she “[has] not nerves for the sort of thing” (P 61). That is, temporarily cut off from any “natural” claim to uselessness, she relies on the presumption of women’s weakness as her ticket with which to escape the room, which introduces a second pause that now has to be evaluated. Anne, outmaneuvered by the others, can respond to their arguments only as they move toward the door. A similarly triangulated scene arises later, as Mr. Elliot makes his entrance to the novel. Here, Wentworth begins to feel the stirrings of desire—all despite knowing that his desire is really someone else’s. That is, emptied of desire himself, he learns, through the act of looking at Mr. Elliot looking at Anne, how to

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assume that desire as his own—a structure that will be repeated during the pivotal concert scene in the novel’s second half. The narrator emphasizes the way that Wentworth watches Anne being watched, and again, as in the scene of Charles’s illness, it is the meaning of manliness that is being established through logical deduction: It was evident that the gentleman, (completely a gentleman in manner) admired her exceedingly. Captain Wentworth looked around at her instantly in a way which shewed his noticing of it. He gave her a momentary glance,—a glance of brightness, which seemed to say, “That man is struck with you,—and even I, at this moment, see something like Anne Elliot again.” (P 112) Wentworth is learning to see Anne being seen: his aspect “shewed his noticing of” it. The subjective work of the scene transpires in the space of the dash between “you” and “even I, at this moment.” We see Wentworth traverse the distance between Mr. Elliot and himself (figured temporally, as a “moment”) by interpreting glances: as Lacan warns, in “the instant of the glance,” “the time for comprehending” is compressed into “the moment of concluding,” enabling Wentworth to react “instantly” to Mr. Elliot’s sexual provocations. It is as if the dash separating Wentworth from Mr. Elliot begins to yoke them, such that Wentworth, too, given his recourse to Mr. Elliot’s glances, can be “completely a gentleman” at “this moment.” The novel thus extends the logic of Charles’s sickroom into the negative yet visible space of a marked absence: the dash. Later, as we shall see in the concert scene, Austen will begin describing this sort of absence as an “interval”; here, this dash, giving body to the interval at the textual level but invisible except as silence in the discourse, produces similar anxieties as it begins to organize desire around its parameters. A dash, as Rebecca Comay and Frank Ruda remind us, attests to “a pause in thought, a pause for thought, but also to a kind of short-circuiting or cancellation of thought,” one that “induces a moment of essential uncertainty in reading.”22 With Austen, the novel has no sooner started to produce “gentlemen” than it measures them for completeness, and thus deficiency; that unspeakable deficiency acquires a mark of its own (i.e.,—), which immediately inaugurates a chain of meaningless repetitions (e.g., “a momentary glance,—a glance of brightness”) that, at the macro-level, includes the scene itself in its gentleman-making powers, given the logical time of Charles’s sick-room. But then the negation itself immediately repeats, to mark the distance between “you” and “even I.” Thus, a dash, being a repetition of a repetition of an absence, generates eroticism from the looks exchanged at “this moment.” The novel has begun to exploit its recurring anxious intervals; as these continue to recur, the novel’s marriage plot will take shape. All the while, there remains a gap between Mr. Elliot and Captain Wentworth. As Kay Young has suggested, when Wentworth “sees the stranger admire

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[Anne], his own seeing shifts from seeing her ‘altered beyond his knowledge’ to altered to his knowledge.”23 Put in Lacanian terms, Wentworth is internalizing Mr. Elliot’s desire for Anne as his own, and experiencing it subjectively. Becoming “himself” once he is arrested by the scopic drive of the other, he arrives into the formation of phallic enjoyment (the “glance of brightness”) that authorizes his own desire for Anne. Put in Freudian terms, he is moving from ego-libido to object-libido, per the demands of civilization. Yet successful courtship will depend on his learning to give up this position: later in the novel, as Garofalo suggests, he will learn to become “not-all” a “gentleman,” as it were, and radically to accept his own loss of phallic subjectivity.24 Even here, there is a wound at the basis of this chain of repetitions: this scene, which accomplishes the restoration of Wentworth’s desire (albeit as Mr. Elliot’s desire), carries with it echoes of the Musgroves’ arguments from the scene of little Charles’s illness. This constitutive or “inaugural” wound will then become the basis of a further iteration at the concert in Bath, where Anne will deduce, from observing herself being observed by Wentworth, that Wentworth feels jealous of her interactions with Mr. Elliot.25 As the characters assemble before the concert, the Octagon Room takes on the ambience of a Lacanian prison: once again, we have characters trapped together in a room, scrutinizing one another, waiting and watching, and trying to learn about themselves in the process. This time, however—as in Lacan’s example—all of the “disks” are “white,” and so the scenario reaches its maximum complexity. The narrator introduces the characters individually, suggesting that each person is closely observing every other, and uses a discourse of time, waiting, and delay quite emphatically: Sir Walter, his two daughters, and Mrs. Clay, were the earliest of all their party, at the rooms in the evening; and as Lady Dalrymple must be waited for, they took their station by one of the fires in the octagon room … Captain Wentworth walked in alone. Anne was the nearest to him, … she instantly spoke … [Her father and sister] being in the back ground was a support to Anne; she knew nothing of their looks. (P 197; emphasis added) The narrator highlights the extent to which Anne is registering the facial expressions and body language of those around her, and to which Anne is pausing once she registers this information: “She was just in time by a side glance to see a slight curtsey from Elizabeth herself,” we are told (P 197; emphasis added). The time of moments, of pauses, is seemingly adjunct to these anxious glances. We see Anne move from a time of comprehending to a time of meditation, as she thinks about the way that she is being seen by those around her, and as she measures the duration of their pauses as a way of seeing herself beheld. Anne is relieved to know, for instance, that Wentworth “seemed in no hurry to leave her”; watching Wentworth talk to her father, she surmises and then “comprehend[s] that her father

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had judged so well” (P 197–198; emphasis added). When she speaks to Wentworth, she is more interested in his pauses than in the content of the conversation, which stays at the level of awkward small-talk: “He stopped. A sudden recollection seemed to occur,” she notes (P 198). The pauses seem to inaugurate Anne’s time for comprehending, which, in turn, allows her to meditate for a moment (and so “her spirits improved”). She can then think about her own position in relation to the desire of these others: she was “struck, gratified, confused, and beginning to breathe very quick, and feel an hundred things in a moment” (P 199). Yet only when Wentworth delays a second time can Anne complete her “moment of concluding”: “She was just in time to see him turn into the concert room. He was gone—he had disappeared: she felt a moment’s regret … he would find her out … She was in need of a little interval for recollection” (P 201; emphasis added). In its exploitation of these successive temporalities, in its willingness to draw conclusions from moments that emerge out of pauses and their affective aftermaths, the scene in the Octagon Room plays out exactly as does the prisoners’ game in “Logical Time.” Anne learns about Wentworth’s feelings not by engaging with him directly, but by deducing them through her relations, and his relations, to third parties such as Mr. Elliot or Wentworth’s brother. The discourse becomes one of retrospection and probability: “Anne could think of no one so likely to have spoken with partiality of her many years ago, as … Captain Wentworth’s brother,” the narrator explains (P 204). Time becomes subjectively measured and multiple, and so it is meted out oxymoronically, in a pace “reserved yet hurried” (P 207). Lacan explains that logical time operates through “two suspensive scansions”: only when the other prisoners pause for a second time, having once started toward the door, can a prisoner finally conclude, once and for all, that his disk is white.26 To be successful at this, a prisoner would need to “integrate” the pause into his reasoning. That is the key to the game: the two pauses are part of the problem, not outside of it. But they are also outside of it, because it works retroactively: one has to have already completed the game to experience the pause as meaningful. Hence these pauses are “intrinsic to logical ambiguity”: they are the result of the reasoning process, yet retroactively become the object of the reasoning process. Hence “two scansions are necessary”—that is the only way to verify the proper interpretation—and so what we see is “the subjective unfolding of a temporal instance” through the very “slipping away of the subject.”27 Paradoxically, the subject disappears as the experience of time becomes subjective; that is why Lacan has to explain the outcome twice—subjectively and objectively—letting each analysis produce the other.28 Anne’s inner confidence that “he would find her out” encapsulates the deep irony unfolding in this chapter, which unfolds across a similar paradox: Anne, learning to see herself through Wentworth’s jealousy, begins to identify herself as the object of his desire, until his acts of “finding her out” can be internalized as her own epiphany. Austen begins to play with the word “interval”: given the

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setting at a concert, the “interval” that Anne “was in need of” is furnished by the “interval” in the evening’s musical program. These levels comically collapse when the narrator claims that “the anxious interval wore away unproductively” (P 205). It is as if the interval of the musical performance, which is timed, has become subject to the subjective time of anxiety and productivity; it is as if the interval were the main performance, and hence a time of possible productivity, and the concert were the break in the action (of courtship). Put another way, Anne is now measuring time in “intervals” that do not precisely align with the interval of the concert, making the event’s interval seem “anxious” and “unproductive.” That is, the interval has been subjectivized, to the extent that Anne begins to embody the “interval” itself. Hence the narrator tells of a nothingness contained “within” Anne that begins to function as her inner truth: “Anne saw nothing, thought nothing … Her happiness was from within. Her eyes were bright, … but she knew nothing about it” (P 201). Rather than being cut off from her enjoyment, as she had been at the start of the novel, here she begins to be the cut, directly: “at present, perhaps, it was as well to be asunder,” she catches herself thinking (P 201). This is her “assertion about herself” that follows her “time of meditation.” Although we are told that Anne’s “happiness” stems “from within” herself, we get only indicators that challenge this view. Anne, for instance, deduces that Wentworth “must love her” from the way that he looks at Louisa Musgrove and Captain Benwick: “She could not contemplate the change as implying less” (P 202). It is a matter of logical deduction based on the pauses observed in the others. “Anne’s eyes had caught the right direction, and distinguished Captain Wentworth,” the narrator tells us: “As her eyes fell on him, his seemed to be withdrawn from her” (P 205). In these sentences, her eyes take on a life of their own, becoming the subject of the sentence in their own right. This is also a telling use of the passive voice: it is not that Wentworth, a subject, has withdrawn from her, but that he had been withdrawn; the crossfire of their gazes seems to have desubjectivized them both. Anne, accordingly, sees herself not being seen, and, registering that asymmetry, pauses accordingly: “It seemed as if she had been one moment too late; and as long as she dared observe, he did not look again” (P 205). This is what Lacan would call “the time of lagging behind the other”—the crucial second pause in the intersubjective schema. Indeed, her pause sets up a whole new round of interpreted glances and pauses: “When she could give another glance, he had moved away.” “She was so surrounded and shut in,” says the narrator, implicitly likening the scene to a prison or siege, “but she would rather have caught his eye” (P 205). Then, adjusting her seat like a hunter the better to see herself being seen, Anne begins to register herself as the object of Wentworth’s gaze: “Captain Wentworth was again in sight. She saw him not far off. He saw her too; yet he looked grave, and seemed irresolute” (P 206). Note that “irresolute” is a subjective term used to interpret someone’s pause. Yet when Wentworth suddenly leaves the concert, Anne can finally conclude that he desires the nothingness that

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she “is”: “there is nothing worth my staying for,” he says dismissively, but which she reads as his positive affirmation of the valuable “nothing” that she is—what Lacan would call the objet petit a—a constitutive absence in her more than her, rather than a repudiation of what is present (P 207). It is not simply that the seat beside her at the concert is vacant; it is that she has “a vacant space at hand, when Captain Wentworth was again in sight” (P 206). When he abruptly leaves the concert, Anne has identified the color of her disk, so to speak: “Jealousy of Mr. Elliot! it was the only intelligible motive” (P 207). It is a logical deduction based on her ability to interpret his pauses retroactively, now that they have both been desubjectivized. In this sense, courtship in Persuasion is not a matter of fantasy “making up for lack,” as Garofalo has shown of Emma, but rather a matter of becoming lack directly.29 By living without subjectivity, Anne, like her father, carries on what Freud would call a “twofold existence”: her innermost thoughts are other people’s opinions, while her “own” desire is experienced as an alien parasite. Rather than having her triumphantly overcome this condition, Persuasion shows us how to better inhabit it. Such a subject, Freud concludes, is “like the inheritor of an entailed property, who is only the temporary holder of an estate which survives him,” by which he means that there is a misalignment between the ego and the body.30 Kellynch Hall is thus the perfect setting in which to introduce this novel’s characters; Austen, we might say, uses as a symbol what Freud would refashion as a simile. Austen, like Freud, perceives identification as a question of property and entailment—an understanding that Lacan deems crucial. The theory of identification proposed in Freud’s “On Narcissism,” Lacan explains, “has served as a basis for political forms of personal status,” which is why the courtship of Anne and Wentworth is meaningful beyond their personal happiness and why the “entailed property” symbol/simile works so well. Politics, such as the letting of one’s ancestral estate or flirtation with a sailor, requires a theory of identification, Lacan suggests, because questions of status play out intersubjectively, through and between subjects, rather than through reality testing. This, he posits, is how psychoanalytic theory may ultimately find its “social impact.”31 It is also what makes Lacan an important, though long-neglected, resource for Austen scholarship. Lacan’s “Logical Time” can account for the complex way in which Austen’s characters layer interiority into exteriority, and help us recognize the temporal implications of that layering. By showing us how and why “this reference of the ‘I’ to others as such must … be temporalized,” Lacan enables us to rethink the complex problem of theory of mind in Austen’s work (which has been the focus of much recent attention in Austen circles) in a way that does not depend upon a rational, self-authorizing subject in command of her choices, of the sort aspired to in Warhol’s or Chwe’s work. It is hardly a reach: Captain Wentworth’s frigate is even named the Laconia! For fictional worlds filled with characters seeking to justify their escape from either closed rooms or stymying ideological apparatuses,

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Lacan’s “Logical Time” may have broad applicability. Zak Watson, one of the few scholars to use the essay in a sustained manner for literary analysis, commends it for the way it “provides a way out of the problems of closure” that have afflicted Romantic studies for some time.32 Such problems, we hasten to add, have been especially damaging within Austen studies, in which a scholarly zeal for narrative closure has often manifested itself as an unfortunate critical “commitment to disciplining young women,” as Michael Kramp laments.33 We think that “Logical Time,” on its own and as an aspect of Lacan’s thought generally, has enormous potential for application to Austen’s work, given the insularity of Austen’s world and way in which that world functions, effectively, as a prison.

Notes 1 This research was supported by an Insight Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. (Agency reference number: 435-2017-0037). 2 Michael Kramp, “The Potency of Jane, or the Disciplinary Function of Austen in America,” Studies in Popular Culture 22, no. 2 (1999), 19–32. 3 For Lacanian studies of Austen, see: Emily Rohrbach, “Austen’s Later Subjects,” Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900 44, no. 4 (2004), 737–752; David Sigler, Sexual Enjoyment in British Romanticism: Gender and Psychoanalysis, 1753–1835 (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015), 57–91; Daniela Garofalo, “Doating on Faults in Jane Austen’s Emma,” European Romantic Review 28, no. 2 (2017), 227–240; Christien Garcia, “Left Hanging: Silence, Suspension, and Desire in Jane Austen’s Persuasion,” The Eighteenth Century 59, no. 1 (2018), 85–103; Daniela Garofalo, “Abandoned by Providence: Loss in Jane Austen’s Persuasion,” in Lacan and Romanticism, ed. Daniela Garofalo and David Sigler (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2019), 61–80. 4 Garofalo, “Abandoned,” 61. 5 Emily Rohrbach, Modernity’s Mist: British Romanticism and the Poetics of Anticipation (New York: Fordham University Press, 2016), 116, 110. 6 Robyn Warhol, “The Look, the Body, and the Heroine of Persuasion: A FeministNarratological View of Jane Austen,” in Ambiguous Discourse: Feminist Narratology and British Women Writers, ed. Kathy Mezei (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996), 23. 7 For the best interpretation of that silence and an overview of the debates over its meaning, see Garcia. 8 Jacques Lacan, “Logical Time and the Assertion of Anticipated Certainty: A New Sophism,” in Écrits: The First Complete Edition in English, trans. Bruce Fink (New York: Norton, 2006), 161–175. 9 Derek Hook, “Towards a Lacanian Group Psychology: The Prisoner’s Dilemma and the Trans‐subjective,” Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 43, no. 2 (2013), 128. 10 Jane Austen, Persuasion, ed. Janet Todd and Antje Blank, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 30, 6. All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text. 11 Sigmund Freud, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, trans. James Strachey (London: Hogarth Press, 1964), 14: 94. 12 Ibid., 14: 90. 13 Michael Suk-Young Chwe, Jane Austen, Game Theorist (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014). 14 Loraine Fletcher, “Time and Mourning in Persuasion,” Women’s Writing 5, no. 1 (1998), 82.

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15 Lisa Zunshine, “Why Jane Austen Was Different, and Why We May Need Cognitive Science to See It,” Style 41, no. 3 (2007), 275–299; Alan Palmer, “Social Minds in Persuasion,” in Characters in Fictional Worlds: Understanding Imaginary Beings in Literature, Film, and Other Media, ed. Jens Eder, Fotis Jannidis and Ralf Schneider (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2010), 157–175; Patrick Colm Hogan, “Persuasion: Lessons in Sociocognitive Understanding,” in Jane Austen and Sciences of the Mind, ed. Beth Lau (New York: Routledge, 2018), 180–199. 16 Lacan, “Logical Time,” 168–169. 17 Ibid., 173. 18 Ibid., 170–172 (original emphasis). 19 Christopher C. Nagle, Sexuality and the Culture of Sensibility in the British Romantic Era (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 105. 20 Palmer, 172. 21 Lacan, “Logical Time,” 161. 22 Rebecca Comay and Frank Ruda, The Dash—The Other Side of Absolute Knowing (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2018), 7. 23 Kay Young, “Feeling Embodied: Consciousness, Persuasion, and Jane Austen,” Narrative 11, no. 1 (2003), 87. 24 Garofalo, “Abandoned.” 25 Jacques Lacan, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book II: The Ego in Freud’s Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis, 1954–1955, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. Sylvana Tomaselli (New York: Norton, 1988), 167; Robert Lougy, Inaugural Wounds: The Shaping of Desire in Five Nineteenth-Century English Narratives (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2004). 26 Lacan, “Logical Time,” 165. 27 Ibid., 163–166. 28 Ibid., 172. 29 Garofalo, “Doating on Faults,” 228. 30 Freud, 14: 78. 31 Jacques Lacan, “On My Antecedents,” in Écrits: The First Complete Edition in English, trans. Bruce Fink (New York: Norton, 2006), 54. 32 Zak Watson, “Logical Time and the Romantic Sublime,” in Lacan and Romanticism, ed. Daniela Garofalo and David Sigler (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2019), 88. 33 Michael Kramp, “The Austen Concept, or Becoming Jane—Again and Again,” Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge 33 (2017), www.rhizomes.net/issue33/ intro.html.

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Garcia, Christien. “Left Hanging: Silence, Suspension, and Desire in Jane Austen’s Persuasion.” The Eighteenth Century 59, no. 1 (2018): 85–103. Garofalo, Daniela. “Doating on Faults in Jane Austen’s Emma.” European Romantic Review 28, no. 2 (2017): 227–240. Garofalo, Daniela. “Abandoned by Providence: Loss in Jane Austen’s Persuasion.” In Lacan and Romanticism, edited by Daniela Garofalo and David Sigler, 61–80. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2019. Hogan, Patrick Colm. “Persuasion: Lessons in Sociocognitive Understanding.” In Jane Austen and Sciences of the Mind, edited by Beth Lau, 180–199. New York: Routledge, 2018. Hook, Derek. “Towards a Lacanian Group Psychology: The Prisoner’s Dilemma and the Trans‐subjective.” Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 43, no. 2 (2013): 115–132. Kramp, Michael. “The Potency of Jane, or the Disciplinary Function of Austen in America.” Studies in Popular Culture 22, no. 2 (1999): 19–32. Kramp, Michael. “The Austen Concept, or Becoming Jane—Again and Again.” Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge 33 (2017). www.rhizomes.net/issue33/intro.html. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book II: The Ego in Freud’s Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis, 1954–1955. Edited by Jacques-Alain Miller, translated by Sylvana Tomaselli. New York: Norton, 1988. Lacan, Jacques. “Logical Time and the Assertion of Anticipated Certainty: A New Sophism.” In Écrits: The First Complete Edition in English, translated by Bruce Fink, 161–175. New York: Norton, 2006. Lacan, Jacques. “On My Antecedents.” In Écrits: The First Complete Edition in English, translated by Bruce Fink, 51–57. New York: Norton, 2006. Lougy, Robert. Inaugural Wounds: The Shaping of Desire in Five Nineteenth-Century English Narratives. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2004. Nagle, Christopher C. Sexuality and the Culture of Sensibility in the British Romantic Era. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Palmer, Alan. “Social Minds in Characters.” In Fictional Worlds: Understanding Imaginary Beings in Literature, Film, and Other Media, edited by Jens Eder, Fotis Jannidis and Ralf Schneider, 157–175. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2010. Rohrbach, Emily. “Austen’s Later Subjects.” Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900 44, no. 4 (2004): 737–752. Rohrbach, Emily. Modernity’s Mist: British Romanticism and the Poetics of Anticipation. New York: Fordham University Press, 2016. Sigler, David. Sexual Enjoyment in British Romanticism: Gender and Psychoanalysis, 1753– 1835. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015. Warhol, Robyn. “The Look, the Body, and the Heroine of Persuasion: A Feminist-Narratological View of Jane Austen.” In Ambiguous Discourse: Feminist Narratology and British Women Writers, edited by Kathy Mezei, 21–39. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996. Watson, Zak. “Logical Time and the Romantic Sublime.” In Lacan and Romanticism, edited by Daniela Garofalo and David Sigler, 81–98. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2019. Young, Kay. “Feeling Embodied: Consciousness, Persuasion, and Jane Austen.” Narrative 11, no. 1 (2003): 78–92. Zunshine, Lisa. “Why Jane Austen Was Different, and Why We May Need Cognitive Science to See It.” Style 41, no. 3 (2007): 275–299.


In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice exceptions organize the social world of the novel. The social, the “All,” would be founded on an exception that provides the fantasy that wholeness is possible, that the social will provides fulfillment and a place for all. Comically engaging with the authority of the exception, the novel exposes a social world without secure foundations, riven by negativity. Lacanian work on social totalities and on comedy can help us trace the comic process at work in this novel. While Austen’s interest in sociality has long been a critical mainstay of Austen studies, psychoanalysis has often been thought of as more concerned with the structure of the subject than the structure of the social. But Lacanian scholars have emphasized that for psychoanalysis there is no such thing as an individual, the individual only makes sense as a knot of social ties, a network of relations to the others, to the always already social Other, the Other being ultimately but a shorthand for the social instance as such. Subjectivity cannot make sense without this inherent relation to the Other, so that sociality has been there from the outset.1 Lacan’s theory of sexuation can be understood as concerned with social organization, with the logic that structures human sociality. Lacan’s masculine sexuation, a model of organization dependent on exceptions, speaks to Austen’s representation of normative sociality. According to this logic, the social, the “All,” is “based on the exception.”2 The “All,” the universal, is defined by the one exception that stands outside the set, an exception that defines the norm. Alenka Zupancic clarifies that the masculine “side posits that there exists One that is not castrated,” who “has access to full enjoyment.”3 This exception “functions DOI: 10.4324/9781003181309-8

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as constitutive, that is, as the negative reference point, or the limit that permits everything else to be constituted as such, that is, to appear as everything else, or as a whole.”4 The exception creates a “determined totality.”5 Austen’s novel begins with a claim about universality, about the “All”: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”6 But only a few pages later, this “All” comes up against its exception. When the Meryton community first meet Darcy at the ball, he seems to fit the universal truth as one more single young man with a fortune. But once “pride” becomes the reigning signifier associated with him, it establishes an exception. Darcy “was discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased,” becoming thus “unworthy to be compared with his friend” (P&P 10–11). But if Darcy would seem to undo the opening statement, the logic of masculine sexuation might allow us to see how this exception ends up solidifying it. Regarded with contempt and excluded from consideration, Darcy appears as that uncastrated exception who has it all (land, property, status, women). Defined against “his friend,” Darcy has what other men want: they are defined by their desire, their castration, their lack. The exception establishes the set, grounds it, by creating a set whose members gain an identity through what is excluded. Meryton receives support for their belief in desiring young men through Darcy’s exceptionalism: he already has it all. He is the end point of the trajectory of acquisition. Happily, still lacking an estate and a woman of his own, Bingley is easily pleased (Darcy is “above being pleased”). Darcy allows the field to be totalized—the “All” is made up of Bingleys. Bingley’s presence generates the expectation of a multitude of Bingleys preparing to descend on Meryton, whether they be landowners or militiamen with a fortune. Claiming Darcy as an exception who totalizes a world of men who lack allows the Meryton community to go on hoping that their world offers solutions to the economic predicament of women who, if they remain single, have no place in the community. The novel shows how the “nonsense” of its opening statement offers a fantasy that allows the characters to avoid addressing the antagonism Austen’s novels engage: the economic condition of unmarried women in a patriarchal world that can offer them no meaningful place outside of marriage. Single men with money would take care of the antagonism that threatens social cohesion, allowing each woman to have her place. If all single men with money are still lacking, still in want of something (i.e., marriage), then by uniting their lack to women’s economic lack, there is hope for a solution to women’s lack of place. Darcy becomes that abhorred exception that allows Bingley to function as the representative of what a young man with a fortune should be. Every family in Meryton with a daughter can imagine a Bingley coming to the rescue. The problem is that Bingley is not only a single man but also a single—as in solitary—man with a fortune. As Alex Woloch has importantly emphasized, Austen’s novels are particularly attuned to the reality of scarcity, to how the “system of marriage as it operates on a social level inevitably produces disequilibrium.”7 The disequilibrium is “inevitably generated by the

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competition among many human agents for a limited number of positions and resources and is one of the essential phenomenon of modern capitalism.”8 Austen’s comedy exposes the fantasy that keeps this world going by showing the illusory effects of the logic of exception that would insist on seeing Bingley as the exemplar of a set that excludes Darcy. But the logic of exception in the novel not only feeds into a fantasy of proper coupling that gives potentially everyone a place and offers a trajectory for fulfillment (i.e., the fantasy of wholeness beyond lack) but also circumscribes the place of authority that might found the social. If this logic establishes a universal in the “All” of castrated men, we can find another kind of universal in the novel associated with character type. One way for the comedy of the exception to develop in this novel is by setting in motion a type familiar to comedy—the arrogant aristocrat who repeatedly falls on his face. Subjecting Darcy to its comic procedures, the novel unravels the pretensions of social authority by showing them to be ungrounded. Elizabeth embodies this comic principle that subjects the aristocrat to the absurdity of his position, leaving the social “All” without its support in exception. The comic process leads to a third type of universality in the novel: what Slavoj Zizek refers to as negative universality, or the negativity subsisting in all identities and ideals.9 In what follows I argue that Lacanian theories of comedy allow us to see how Darcy’s comic embodiment of aristocracy leads to an undermining of social foundations. By playing with comic character, the comic procedures in Pride and Prejudice expose the stupidity of the aristocrat’s belief in his uncastrated wholeness. The novel plays with the split in the coherence of the idea of aristocracy by exposing the noncoincidence of aristocracy with itself. Comedy plays with universals, types, clichés, stereotypes, and common places, making them appear alien to themselves. For Zupancic in her Lacanian study of comedy, The Odd One In, comedy plays well with universals, especially when it goes beyond merely showing how particulars fail to live up to the ideal, the universal. Comedy, for Zupancic, can do more than expose this rather obvious and expected shortcoming. It can instead expose the incoherence of the universal—the ideal—itself. Zupancic’s Lacanian- and Hegelian-influenced study of comedy pinpoints the figure of the aristocrat as a particularly rich character for comic development. When this venerable comic figure falls in a puddle, there is more to his fallen body than an “empirical body that lies flat in the mud”; it is “much more the belief in his baronage, his ‘baronness.’ This ‘baronness’ is the real comic object, produced by comedy as the quintessence of the universal itself.”10 Turning to a psychoanalytic register, Zupancic identifies the comic object as “the ego-ideal.”11 Comedy takes on ego-ideals, universals, essences, and puts them through a comic process in which they appear as concrete, embodied, incarnated, so that the ideal, rather than simply the pathetic human, undergoes a comic undoing. Embodied, the ego-ideal comes to see itself played out on the world’s stage as an object—an object that begins to look rather ridiculous. From the Hegelian perspective central to Zupancic’s study, “substance” becomes “subject,” gaining a vantage point from which to view itself as wanting, finding itself no longer self-coincident.

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Thus, the aristocrat who falls in a puddle is not simply a mere human who cannot live up to the lofty requirements of aristocracy (a comic procedure that would leave the notion of the aristocrat untouched). Rather, for Zupancic, effective comedy involves the absolute becoming particular and coming to self-consciousness. In Hegelian terms, through the particular, substance becomes subject or the abstract universal becomes a concrete universal and, in this process, loses its self-coincidence: “absolute powers” appear as “subjects or as concrete beings.”12 For Zupancic, the “substance becomes subject in the moment when, through a split in itself, it starts relating to itself.”13 Through comic character, the novel reveals the contingency and vacuity of substance. The comic character’s obsession with its single defining feature/object allows the dialectic that leads to an encounter with negativity to get to work in Austen’s comedy. Darcy presents himself as a being of superior understanding who can pronounce truths. With his laconic, humorless, and authoritative pronouncements, he would seem to offer a hope, if such is wanted, that the big Other exists, that it knows, judges, and speaks through him. Darcy is an object of comedy because he is the clichéd proud aristocrat, because he believes he is coincident with that role (“superior understanding”). This type parades his inveterate pride in the face of all the muddy puddles and banana peels that compel those pratfalls he hardly notices. Such a character lends itself to a critique of social authority. While the big Other is not a particular person, at times an individual (the little other) or an institution can be seen to occupy this place. As Derek Hook points out, “a kind of temporary slippage between the (little) other and the big Other”14 can occur when a subject occupies a position of authority. A threat to his authority affects how we view the efficiency of the Other. His pratfalls go to the Other’s account. Zupancic points out that comedy responds with particular sensitivity to “historical and social shift[s] in the symbolic Other.”15 The French Revolution, with the beheading of the king, did not execute a mere Louis Capet, the individual citizen, but monarchy itself. The universal died through the particular. In laughing at Darcy, we do not laugh merely at his own personal foibles but at aristocracy, at the substance itself. This kind of comedy, then, involves the aristocrat in a series of blunders. Darcy encounters his banana peel primarily in his comic dialogues with Elizabeth. Part of the humor, here, is that Darcy cannot see himself as the object of a joke, being possessed of a dignity that should defuse any comic challenge. During her stay at Netherfield, Elizabeth, however, insists that Darcy makes for an excellent butt of a joke. She enjoins Miss Bingley to laugh at Darcy but Miss Bingley cannot tease “calmness of manner and presence of mind!” (P&P 62). Darcy is simply not a comic object: “we will not expose ourselves, if you please, by attempting to laugh without a subject” (P&P 62). Propping up the aristocrat in his unimpeachable grandeur, Miss Bingley claims he offers no subject for laughter; he simply cannot appear in the comic lists because he is a being of superior dignity. In other words, she speaks from the point of view of the self-coincidence of the

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aristocrat. She props him up as that flawless spherical object just begging for Elizabeth to prick it. The consequences are predictable: “Mr. Darcy is not to be laughed at!” cried Elizabeth. “That is an uncommon advantage, and uncommon I hope it will continue, for it would be a great loss to me to have many such acquaintances. I dearly love a laugh.” (P&P 62; original emphasis) As the agent of the comic process to which Darcy is subjected, Elizabeth finds in Darcy’s presumed superiority, his belief in himself, a provocation for comedy, not its demise. Largely agreeing with Miss Bingley that he is not the appropriate object of a joke, Darcy unknowingly offers additional fodder for comedy. He declares that “it has been the study of my life to avoid those weaknesses which often expose a strong understanding to ridicule.” Elizabeth strikes back with “Such as vanity and pride.” Not noticing the proverbial banana peel she places under his feet, he goes on: “‘Yes, vanity is a weakness indeed. But pride—where there is a real superiority of mind, pride will be always under good regulation.’ Elizabeth turned away to hide a smile” (P&P 63). Repeatedly asserting his capacity to pass judgment (“A real superiority of mind,” “a strong understanding,” “the wisest and best of men”), Darcy fails to notice when he slips. If the study of his life has been to avoid weakness, Elizabeth points to the weakness he very much exposes: “vanity and pride.” Believing that “I have faults enough, but they are not, I hope, of understanding” (P&P 93), Darcy shows that pride is precisely what is not under good regulation, and so the aristocrat, having slipped but not noticed, gets up to go on parading his visible shortcomings, while Elizabeth goes on laughing. The object of Elizabeth’s comedy is Darcy’s pride, which he justifies with the belief that he possesses a nearly infallible understanding. His comic encounters with Elizabeth reveal precisely his failures of understanding, his belief in his selfcoincidence. Positioning himself as the social authority above the temptations of flattery—“My feelings are not puffed about with every attempt to move them” (P&P 93)—he claims an impartial judgment based on an understanding without fault: “I have faults enough, but they are not, I hope, of understanding” (P&P 93). Not “puffed about” by flattery and attentions, Darcy sees himself functioning as that immovable source of authoritative judgment above prejudice, corruption, and sway. Standing in the place of the Other, he knows. From this imaginary position he sets the terms by which the social order can be organized according to the logic of what Lacan calls “masculine sexuation.” He functions as the exception, not easily swayed—“too little yielding” for “the conveniences of the world” (P&P 63)—who passes judgment and sets appropriate standards as he attempts to do throughout the novel. Unlike Darcy, though, Elizabeth undermines the logic of the “All” with its exception. Comically, she enacts the very scenario he tries to avoid: as he works

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to make himself exceptional, uncastrated (i.e., beyond the laughter of the multitude), Elizabeth reveals how funny his belief in such a position can be. Her comic interventions have the effect of exposing the Other’s insubstantial nature. While both Miss Bingley and Darcy propose him as a non-comic object, Elizabeth insists that he is the true object of a joke and that he is comical the more he tries not to be. Darcy’s belief in his authority, his coincidence with his social place, leads to his most spectacular pratfall—his first marriage proposal to Elizabeth: the avowal of all that he felt, and had long felt for her, immediately followed. He spoke well; but there were feelings besides those of the heart to be detailed; and he was not more eloquent on the subject of tenderness than of pride. His sense of her inferiority—of its being a degradation—of the family obstacles which had always opposed to inclination, were dwelt on with a warmth which seemed due to the consequence he was wounding, but was very unlikely to recommend his suit. (P&P 211) Fusing “the narratorial and the subjective modes,”16 as is typical of free indirect discourse, this passage suggests the intrusion of Darcy’s voice and thought with the dashes, the lists, and the strong assertions of wounded dignity. However, the statement that his words were “very unlikely to recommend his suit” must be attributed to the narrator and recalls the genre in which Darcy is working and yet violating: the marriage proposal. The situation speaks to the collision of two incompatible objects: love for Elizabeth (“feelings of the heart”) and Darcy’s pride of place (“wounded consequence”). Zupancic emphasizes that comedy commonly sustains the impossible “encounter between two excluding realities.” While, ordinarily, “this kind of intrusion of the other side would cause an immediate reaction and adjustment of both sides, enabling the linear continuation of the story,” these sides in a comic scene come to no recognition or adjustment.17 In the scene of Darcy’s proposal, pride and love define two realities that come into comic connection—the one requiring an emphasis on Darcy’s superiority, the other on the virtues of the beloved, regardless of her status. The collision of aristocratic pride with the genre of the marriage proposal suggests a fundamental incompatibility between the demands of status and those of love, of rank and personal feeling. The thing that has defined Darcy’s entire sense of self, his pride of position and place, his sense of natural superiority, is threatened by a romantic attachment that really does undermine his dignity by creating inferior familial connections and connecting him to a woman who exposes the contingency of his position. If this novel were not a comedy, the aristocratic figure would understand his business; that is, he would find a way to adjust to the realities before him and use good manners to smooth over the trouble.

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Good manners might take Pride and Prejudice in the direction of a conservative comedy, and this element is present in the novel. Darcy does learn better manners by the end, suggesting that the aristocrat has learned his lesson and that the comedy is only critical of this particular human representative of authority who then learns to embody the ego-ideal properly. That he has mended his manners would suggest merely an aristocrat who has learned to navigate troubled revolutionary waters more carefully, one who can win over the people rather than alienate them.18 The novel is thus often accused of indulging a conservative fantasy and offering a kind of fairy tale in which social antagonism can be covered over with good manners.19 For Zupancic, conservative comedy abandons a focus on substance, on the universal, on putting the ideal itself through the comic ringer. Instead, it reduces the comic object to a mere misguided individual who only impugns himself, leaving aristocracy untouched.20 In this kind of comedy, substance/universal never enters the concrete/particular at all. The novel’s play with types, however, offers more than a mere reconciliation between universal and particular. If the comedy took a conservative turn, it would rest its work on one or both of the following operations: it would allow Darcy to mend his ways and approximate the ideal better, allowing for a reconciliation between universal and particular that leaves the ideal untouched; and/or it would present the problem with Darcy as a problem of interpretation, of prejudice. Here, Elizabeth might simply be wrong; she might be “prejudiced.” He might, as she says later in the novel, have “no improper pride at all” (P&P 417). While these comic resolutions are tendencies in the novel, particularly when Elizabeth accuses herself of prejudice (a reading, incidentally, that Darcy rejects at the end of the novel), they do not account for the whole scope of the novel’s comic effects. These effects suggest a more radical play with social authority by causing the universal to enter the particular and thus vectoring the critique at the level of the universal. In the novel, the universal discovers itself to be incoherent. In response to his churlish proposal, Elizabeth accuses Darcy of not behaving in a “gentleman-like manner” (P&P 215). Like a good analyst throwing out the key signifier that has effects on the analysand’s unconscious, this phrase haunts and alters Darcy. By accusing Darcy of not behaving like a gentleman when he behaves like Darcy, the proud aristocrat, Elizabeth suggests a conflict between pride and gentlemanliness. She refuses to allow Darcy the term “gentleman,” the term that, in its most consequential meaning, is supposed to characterize the inherent superiority of elite men and deny the mere contingency of their role. Darcy, who would claim “gentleman” as his defining signifier, in consequence of the effects of Elizabeth’s “reproof,” finds himself left with empty “pride” separated from “gentleman.” On the one hand, this difference might take us back to the conservative possibilities in the novel: becoming better mannered, more of a gentleman, might make Darcy more able to live up to his ego-ideal. On the other hand, the novel suggests more interesting possibilities for the contrast between these two signifiers.

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Pride of rank might be incompatible with gentlemanly behavior. His social role makes Darcy a failed gentleman. Perhaps, the novel proposes, a true gentleman is someone who is ready to distance himself from, even imperil, his social position. At any rate, this is what Darcy chooses: his desire for Elizabeth requires that he embrace his own humiliation and perpetual transformation into that object of ridicule he formerly struggled against becoming. As Zupancic points out, “the Other does not always return intact from its comic suspension.”21 What does not return here from the suspension of the Other’s authority is Darcy’s belief in his aristocratic superiority, the coherence of his role. When he experiences his fall, as a result of Elizabeth’s cutting exposure of his pride, the aristocrat is not simply induced to find a better way to cover up his pride; rather, he acknowledges his castration, his failure of understanding, a failure attributable not only to himself but to his father, that even more venerable stand-in for the big Other. The novel, thus, through its comic operations leads to a negativity that undoes self-coincidence. Drawing connections between Hegel and Lacan, Slavoj Zizek has emphasized the negative universal as an odd kind of universal in so far as it does not form a class or set because there is no exception to it (all things are riven by negativity). Unlike the universal established by the exception worked out in the first part of the novel, we come at the end to a universal that eschews the logic of masculine sexuation, thus offering a “properly dialectical relationship between the Universal and the Particular.”22 Here, the “Universal is not the encompassing container of the particular content, the peaceful medium or background for the conflict of particularities; the Universal ‘as such’ is the site of an unbearable antagonism or self-contradiction.” Consequently, the multitude of “its particular species are ultimately nothing but so many attempts to obfuscate/ reconcile/master this antagonism.”23 The negativity that makes it impossible for universals, essences, and so on to be self-coincident, which makes the One impossible, generates the attempt to overcome this negativity. These failed attempts, these materializations of the antagonism, are what Lacan calls “objet a.” Objet a offers the fantasy that something lies beyond the self-division and negativity of the symbolic order, that some unified One might exist as an exception to the castrated All. In other words, the masculine side of sexuation promises an illusory solution: there is one who is not subject to castration, one who is whole. Zizek writes that negativity, however, is “located on the feminine side of the ‘formulae of sexuation,’ in the notion of the non-All.” He explains that “nonAll” does not mean, for example, that “all is discourse,” but rather that there is nothing outside it: “what is outside is not a positive something but the objet a, more than nothing but not something, not One.”24 Objet a materializes an internal problem: the “All” is riven, inconsistent, not self-identical—that is, nonAll. On the masculine side, we have the illusion of an exception, of One that would be whole; but, on the feminine side, we have objet a that appears as an “object which embodies the void”—that is, the embodiment of the antagonism rather than its exception.25 On the feminine side, statements such as “all men

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with a fortune must want a wife, with the exception of Darcy, who is not castrated” cannot hold. For Zizek, the feminine side emphasizes the negativity in the universal or the universality of negativity. In Hegelian terms this kind of universal would be a concrete universal, which allows for the universal to become riven from within, split, non-identical to itself. If the novel begins by engaging the universal in terms of the “All” and then as an ideal, an essence, it ends with an altogether different kind of universality. It is the universality of the negative, of the void that Zizek has in mind and that unfolds in Austen’s comedy. As such, it fits with the feminine side of sexuation in Lacan’s graph. How does the novel move beyond the comedy of the particular improperly embodying the ideal and allow for a critique of the ideal itself, leading to an encounter with the void of negativity? Zupancic claims that we avoid commonplace comic resolutions when we refuse to allow the split between the universal and particular to happen and insist on placing the split at the level of the universal itself. By letting the universal appear, become incarnated in the character, by not simply halting the comedy and pathetically embracing human finitude, comedy can place the split elsewhere: rather than a split between a self and a social role, between the human and the ideal (i.e., Darcy as individual man versus Darcy as the family name, estate, and social position), radical comedy would reveal how the split takes place in the ideal/essence/universal itself. Zupancic places the “comic character” on the side of the universal: comic characters come as types, such as the haughty aristocrat. The comic character is not a human who takes on a role but that role directly. He is the ideal that he plays at being. Thus, Zupancic writes, the split “now moves to and inhabits that character itself (that is, the essence), and it is precisely this inner split that constitutes the place of the subject in the character.”26 In other words, the essence, the universal, riven by negativity, discovers its non-coincidence with itself, allowing for the emergence of the subject, which, by definition, cannot find itself represented in any predicate that would define it. This is what Darcy reveals in his second, more successful marriage proposal (about which I will say more later). Most often, though, critics have tended to see Austen as a realist writer in the tradition defined by Ian Watt, in which characters demonstrate depth or “roundness” that contrasts them with comedy’s more familiar two-dimensional types. While I will argue later that Darcy is in some important respects different from flat characters, he nonetheless functions much like a comic character as Zupancic defines it: comically attached to his one object despite his risible pratfalls. Character in comedy, Zupancic claims, embodies the universal type, such as that of the miser, the cuckold, or the aristocrat. It is not a full person with its many faults and perplexities. It is instead a driven mechanism, a device. If Austen, writing in a more realist mode, writes more complex characters, Darcy nonetheless cannot be seen as simply a man separate from his position. He cannot be separated from his role/station/estate. Rather, through Darcy the aristocrat, the novel, at key points, creates the proper comic split in which substance comes to see itself as ungrounded, erring,

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and ultimately laughable. Darcy can never shuffle off the weight of the aristocrat and emerge as merely a man, or a rounded individual. At the point at which the novel seems most poised to turn into what Zupancic terms a “conservative” comedy (i.e., when it seems to suggest that Darcy fully lives up to his role), we get the strange, unsettling intrusion of Elizabeth at Pemberley. Her out-of-placeness there appears not only in her actual physical presence during her visit to the estate but also in the trace of Elizabeth lingering in the smile in Darcy’s portrait. The visit to Pemberley is largely, but not entirely, an exercise in perpetuating the fantasy of a realized ideal of the aristocrat. During her tour, Elizabeth is astonished to find that Darcy’s taste is “neither gaudy nor uselessly fine” (P&P 272). Even more to her amazement, Darcy’s housekeeper, Mrs. Reynolds, insists that Darcy “is the best landlord, and the best master” (P&P 276). Here, the novel offers its strongest support for the kind of comedy that would offer reconciliation, that would avoid antagonism. The housekeeper suggests that “proud” is the wrong signifier for Darcy, that he has been misunderstood. Here we also have the strongest moment of the “Elizabeth is prejudiced” vector of the comedy. At the same time, though, we see an insistent conflation of Darcy with “Darcyness”—the family, home, and estate. Darcy Incorporated, Darcy as house, land, and family, as the Darcy concern, or as “Darcyness,” as an essence that does not pertain merely to a single human but to an institution. “Darcy” here would be this particular manifestation of the Darcy name (i.e., the present Mr. Darcy), but also his father (the former Mr. Darcy) and Darcy as the family name going back generations. The property embodies the (e)state of “Darcyness.” “Darcyness” invests each particular Darcy. After her commendation of Darcy’s father, the housekeeper immediately conflates the present Darcy with him: “his son will be just like him—just as affable to the poor” (P&P 275). Darcy does not stand alone but as a succession of Darcies, imprinted with “Darcyness.” Visually, this inseparability of Darcy from the Darcy concern appears in the picture gallery, where Elizabeth discovers a portrait of Darcy hung amidst generations of Darcies. Whether in the gallery, as a subject of conversation, or in the landscape of the Pemberley episode where he is visible in the picturesque arrangement,27 Darcy the individual is indistinguishable from his family and his property, from “Darcyness.” Yet, it is worth lingering on the portrait of Darcy—as Elizabeth does—because it offers an unexpected out-of-place/out-of-time intrusion in seemingly harmonious Darcyland. The portrait among “many family portraits” (P&P 277) suggests an impossible presence: “she beheld a striking resemblance to Mr. Darcy, with such a smile over the face, as she remembered to have sometimes seen, when he looked at her” (P&P 277). This portrait smiles as if it has seen Elizabeth even though it was painted during the father’s lifetime, before Darcy and Elizabeth ever met. This one smile, emanating from the center of the Darcy concern, bears witness to the “Elizabeth effect.” Everything she is witnessing—the house, the estate, the housekeeper’s testimony—is the result of her influence on Darcy. It is as if, as a result of his encounter with her, even the past itself has been rewritten,

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remade, as testified by the impossible smile painted before Darcy met Elizabeth. By enchantment, the change in Darcy has altered “Darcyness” itself, even down to the history of the Darcy family/estate. The portrait that smiles as though it has seen her, testifying to the effect of Elizabeth, suggests how Pemberley comes into being as the result of Elizabeth’s intervention. Instead of resembling the pretentiousness of Rosings, Pemberley welcomes the vulgar and commercial connections of the Bennet family as well as the woman who takes liberties with the dignity of Pemberley. No longer the forbidding abode of haughty aristocracy, Pemberley now welcomes what the hallowed halls should exclude. Her “reproof” has remade not only Darcy but his own house—a house that always was what it has become after Elizabeth’s rejection of Darcy’s offer. The portrait marks the materialization of her “reproof” in Pemberley itself. This reproof is not simply a realization that Darcy, the mere individual mortal, has failed to live up to Pemberley. Rather, the fault in Darcy is the fault in Pemberley/the family/the former Mr. Darcy and this Mr. Darcy, the current instantiation of Darcyness. There is no meaningful separation here: Darcy cannot be understood without his house. The tasteful and welcoming Pemberley is the chastened master. Substance has found itself wanting, and has transformed itself from proud aristocrat to humble butt of the joke. This leads us to Darcy’s second marriage proposal, in which he offers precisely this narrative of transformation. Here, his language enacts the split within the universal. Darcy, estate, house, landscape, ancient family speaks its division from itself, the split of negativity. Here, Darcy confesses that Elizabeth has changed him utterly. He explains to her: I cannot be so easily reconciled to myself. The recollection of what I then said, of my conduct, my manners, my expressions during the whole of it, is now, and has been many months, inexpressibly painful to me. Your reproof, so well applied, I shall never forget: “had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner.” Those were your words. You know not, you can scarcely conceive, how they have tortured me. (P&P 408; emphasis added) Elizabeth’s words form a wedge that impedes Darcy’s self-reconciliation. The universal (the proud aristocrat) comes to see the trouble with himself as an aristocrat. At an alienating distance, a distance created by Elizabeth’s signifying intervention, Darcy now sees himself as separate from “gentleman.” According to Elizabeth’s usage in the novel, the word “gentleman” stands as the opposite of “proud.” “Proud” is what Darcy has been as the elite. Of course, recognizing that he has not behaved like a gentleman might only lead to an aristocrat in the Burkean mold whose manners are “softened.” But, for Darcy, this failure of the ideal means significantly more. As a comic character, he has followed his one object, blissfully unaware of his pratfalls. But Elizabeth’s comic intervention, the

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intervention that makes him look back to see himself flat on his back, induces him to gain a distance from himself. Instead of operating like a comic character who blissfully ignores the joke, Darcy, under the “Elizabeth effect,” turns to see himself fall. If the realist character is understood as a complex individual with his own particular set of beliefs and feelings, resulting from a particular, individual history, Darcy is not exactly that here. He is a type who has come unhooked from his “typeness,” who has, in other words, given up his comic object, “pride.” Instead, having learned from Elizabeth’s “reproof,” he has embraced a new object. His function from the time she meets him at Pemberley to the end of the novel is to accommodate and accept everything about Elizabeth regardless of the fact that his connection with her will degrade and discompose him, all the more now that her family has suffered a public disgrace. He now has “self-consciousness,” a characteristic we tend to associate with a realist character, but his is a self-consciousness that pertains to the type and not the plenitude of the particular individual with its wealth of personal history and baggage. Substance has become subject: the self-coincident and coherent substance has experienced the castrating effects of becoming a subject: that is, a being subject to language and its alienating effects. “Had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike way”—Elizabeth’s reproof—holds the mirror to substance in which it can see itself reflected, alienated, distanced from itself. Darcy, thus, becomes capable of seeing his identity and behavior as something that he can “recollect” due to her “reproof.” The prefix “re-,” indicating “back” and “again,” functions as that signifying unit in his speech that recalls the backward motion marking his self-distance, the alienating space between the subject and “my conduct, my manners, my expressions.” His recursive analysis of his behavior establishes a Darcy who can no longer be what he was. For him, painful “recollections will intrude, which cannot—ought not—be repelled” (P&P 409; emphasis added). Darcy declares his willingness—in fact, for him, the necessity—to live now in this condition ruled by the prefix “re-.” The condition of living according to the recursive effect instituted by Elizabeth’s “reproof” allows him to see that “I have been a selfish being all my life” (P&P 409). This selfishness permitted him in the past to “care for none beyond my own family circle, to think meanly of all the rest of the world, to wish at least to think meanly of their sense and worth compared with my own” (P&P 409–410; original emphasis). The earlier Darcy imagined himself and his family as the source of sense and understanding, as the center of judging authority. Recognizing through Elizabeth’s reproof that he and his family have been far from right, that they have been prejudiced and have suffered from errors of understanding, places him in a different relation to his identity and social role. The immersion in his family circle, the sense of his family’s superiority, of its exceptionalism with respect to the rest of the world, is part of the aristocratic sensibility that allows for an incestuous, uncastrated sense of a fully coherent self. But Elizabeth has altered him:

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Such I was, from eight to eight and twenty; and such I might still have been but for you, dearest, loveliest Elizabeth! What do I not owe you! You taught me a lesson, hard indeed at first, but most advantageous. By you, I was properly humbled. I came to you without a doubt of my reception. You shewed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a woman worthy of being pleased. (P&P 410) He assures her that her “reproofs had been attended to” as she has, in fact, witnessed at Pemberley (P&P 410). Humbled, the social authority that presented itself as beyond judgment, yet uniquely entitled to pass judgment on others, now discovers itself in a castrated condition, no longer able to stand in as the mouthpiece for universal truth and judgment. Rather than having immediate access or the right to access all good things, including Elizabeth, he comes to recognize his own insufficiency. Whereas “I came to you without a doubt of my reception,” he finds that his pretensions are “insufficient” (P&P 410). Unable to please, he encounters his own failings and falls into desire like all castrated subjects. The Other, subjected to Elizabeth’s comic proceedings—“By you, I was properly humbled” (P&P 410)—does not return in the last part of the novel unchanged or merely superficially mannered. He returns, instead, to occupy a doubtful place from which he can no longer function as that unimpeachable center of authority. If critique of his superiority once came from vulgar masses who will laugh at anything, it now comes from the aristocrat himself who discovers his lack of self-coincidence and the impossibility of self-reconciliation. By the end of the novel, we know that Elizabeth is now permanently located at Pemberley, where she continues to fulfill her comic function. Darcy’s sister Georgiana is astonished to witness Elizabeth’s behavior toward her brother: at first [Georgiana] often listened with an astonishment bordering on alarm, at her lively, sportive, manner of talking to her brother. He, who had always inspired in herself a respect which almost overcame her affection, she now saw the object of open pleasantry. (P&P 430) Installed at Pemberley, the seat of power, Elizabeth’s comic function reduces Darcy to an “object of open pleasantry”; she treats him in a “sportive” manner and takes “liberties” with the master. Lady Catherine’s idea that the “shades of Pemberley” will be “polluted” is accurate (P&P 396). The Other at the end of this novel is never the same. He ends as an object of pleasantry, vulnerable to the pollution of vulgar relations and a spendthrift brother-in-law. But most of all, the aristocrat is different not only because he has learned to please but because he has learned to be pleased by what makes him slip. That is, he has a new object. As Georgiana learns, “a woman may take liberties with her husband” because the

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“Elizabeth effect” creates an erotic pleasure in slipping, in being upended (P&P 430). Darcy likes it. In love, he invites comedy in, lowering and humiliating himself through his association with the Bennets and by erotically desiring his own put-down at Elizabeth’s hands. Elizabeth moves Darcy and he internalizes her comic process, inviting its perpetuation. Thus, although Darcy functions as a comic character, he is also more complex, though not quite the individualized character of realist fiction. He is more complex because he is a character who chooses a new object. Giving up “pride,” he chooses Elizabeth instead, which means, of course, choosing comedy, choosing to make himself/the aristocracy the perpetual butt of the joke. If Austen is usually understood as a proponent of the new realist novel, with its interest in individuals, we might think of her modernity a little differently. Rather than permitting a writing that concerns itself with the creation of the liberal subject, the individual, we might think of her work as sensitively responding to changes in the status of the Other that produces not simply individuals but types that see themselves as types, but hollowed-out types, rendered ridiculous. Zupancic writes that comedy responds with particular sensitivity to “historical and social shift[s] in the symbolic Other.”28 While the French Revolution carried out its own killing of the monarchy through the body of Louis Capet, comedy has its own way of undoing the substance of authority, if not exactly killing it. By the end, then, Darcy no longer functions as an exception and can neither totalize the field of single men nor offer the authority that can organize the truths of his social world and deflect antagonism. The “universal truth” that all single men with a fortune want a wife suggests that single men with money lack one thing; however, the married state promises to place them in that condition of full possession that will make them whole. Darcy’s marriage, on the other hand, will perpetuate a most visible castration not only because he has “polluted the shades of Pemberley” by marrying beneath himself, but also because Elizabeth makes of him an “object of open pleasantry.” The novel leaves Darcy and Elizabeth in a social space without a grounding authority, where the “universal” can always be ridiculed because it fails to take hold as that incontrovertible point of truth that puts everything in its place.

Notes 1 Mladen Dolar, “Freud and the Political,” Theory & Event 12, no. 3 (2009), https://muse. jhu.edu/article/361485. 2 Jacques Lacan, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XX: On Feminine Sexuality, the Limits of Love and Knowledge, 1972–1973, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. Bruce Fink (New York: Norton, 1998), 79–80. 3 Alenka Zupancic, What is Sex? (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2017), 51. 4 Ibid., 51 (original emphasis). 5 Ibid. 6 Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, ed. Pat Rogers, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 3. All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text.

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7 Alex Woloch, The One vs. the Many: Minor Characters and the Space of the Protagonist in the Novel (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 59 (original emphasis). 8 Ibid. 9 Slavoj Zizek, Less than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism (London: Verso, 2012), 831. 10 Alenka Zupancic, The Odd One In: On Comedy (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008), 32. 11 Ibid. 12 Ibid., 27. 13 Ibid., 34. 14 Derek Hook, Six Moments in Lacan: Communication and Identification in Psychology and Psychoanalysis (New York: Routledge, 2018), 20. 15 Zupancic, The Odd One In, 93. 16 Roy Pascal, The Dual Voice: Free Indirect Speech and its Functioning in the NineteenthCentury European Novel (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1977), 23. 17 Zupancic, The Odd One In, 57. 18 I made an argument of this kind in Manly Leaders in Nineteenth-Century British Literature (New York: SUNY, 2008), 113–136. 19 Claudia L. Johnson writes: “To some, Pride and Prejudice has a markedly fairy-tale like quality which, while accounting for much of the novel’s enduring popular success, is politically suspect” (Jane Austen: Women, Politics, and the Novel (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), 74). For Johnson, the novel engages conservative fantasies only to emphasize the liberal value of personal happiness. 20 Zupancic, The Odd One In, 31. 21 Zupancic, The Odd One In, 99. 22 Zizek, 782 (original emphasis). 23 Ibid. 24 Ibid., 787. 25 Ibid., 788. 26 Zupancic, The Odd One In, 35. 27 See Jill Heydt-Stevenson, “Liberty, Connection, and Tyranny: The Novels of Jane Austen and the Aesthetic Movement of the Picturesque,” in Lessons of Romanticism: A Critical Companion, ed. Robert F. Gleckner and Thomas Pfau (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998), 261–279. 28 Zupancic, The Odd One In, 93.

Bibliography Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Edited by Pat Rogers. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Dolar, Mladen. “Freud and the Political.” Theory & Event 12, no. 3 (2009). https://muse. jhu.edu/article/361485. Garofalo, Daniela. Manly Leaders in Nineteenth-Century British Literature. New York: SUNY, 2008. Heydt-Stevenson, Jill. “Liberty, Connection, and Tyranny: The Novels of Jane Austen and the Aesthetic Movement of the Picturesque.” In Lessons of Romanticism: A Critical Companion, edited by Robert F. Gleckner and Thomas Pfau, 261–279Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998. Hook, Derek. Six Moments in Lacan: Communication and Identification in Psychology and Psychoanalysis. New York: Routledge, 2018. Johnson, Claudia L. Jane Austen: Women, Politics, and the Novel. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.

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Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XX: On Feminine Sexuality, the Limits of Love and Knowledge, 1972–1973. Edited by Jacques-Alain Miller, translated by Bruce Fink. New York: Norton, 1998. Pascal, Roy. The Dual Voice: Free Indirect Speech and Its Functioning in the Nineteenth-Century European Novel. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1977. Woloch, Alex. The One vs. the Many: Minor Characters and the Space of the Protagonist in the Novel. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003. Zizek, Slavoj. Less than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism. London: Verso, 2012. Zupancic, Alenka. The Odd One In: On Comedy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press: 2008. Zupancic, Alenka. What is Sex?Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2017.

6 AUTONOMY WILL SET YOU FREE, OR WILL IT? Autonomy, Precarity, and Survival Enit Karafili Steiner

Much critical attraction to Jane Austen’s fiction, whether of historical or textual orientation, is stirred by explorations of subjectivity. The private experience of the individual—that is, the moral life of personality—that Lionel Trilling thought to constitute Austen’s modernity remains of unbroken interest.1 The question of autonomy is central to this interest. It was for contemporary readers of Austen who sensed the dawn of a different private experience; as suggested by a female reader, describing Emma to be the opposite of the traditional heroine, that mere “piece of beautiful matter, with long fair hair and soft blue eyes who was buffeted up and down the world like a shuttle cock.”2 Two hundred years later, in the recent film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016), the celebrated Austenian heroine continues to assert herself against the model of the autonomy-bereft woman. This adaptation’s Elizabeth Bennet does not only refuse to be a shuttlecock but, true to her zombie-slaying vocation, declares confidently: “I shall never relinquish my sword for a ring.”3 Some of the most enduring critical impetuses of the end of the twentieth century made the autonomy claim for Austen herself. I have in mind here Claudia L. Johnson’s unsurpassed effort to respond to Marilyn Butler’s Tory Austen, and more generally critics who disallow Austen a subjectivity and moral autonomy of her own: “whatever the station to which Austen is now assigned, she is not held to entertain an opinion independent of it.”4 Hence, Austen was denied independence and tucked within the expectations that determined the life of a parson’s daughter or a sailor’s sister. Gender subjected her to the rule of her closest and socially successful male relatives. Reading her fiction next to contemporary productions, Johnson’s New Historicist undertaking showed that heteronomy (rule of others) failed to account for the politics of Austen’s fiction. Austen was capable of this denied independence. The present essay takes no issue DOI: 10.4324/9781003181309-9

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with this conclusion. It seeks, however, to ponder the phrase “independent of.” As such, its interest bears on the premise of the autonomy argument, the possibility of formulating one’s (auto) laws (nomos). Johnson’s position assumes that autonomy is attainable and concludes that it was attained by Austen. Her use of “independent of” concurs with the normative definition glossed by the editors of The Blackwell Companion of Philosophy: “An autonomous being is one that has the power of self-direction, possessing the ability to act as it decides, independent of the will of others and of other internal or external factors.”5 This essay queries the usefulness of this definition in the light of one of the most central debates in critical theory. This debate urges us to investigate the extent to which any writer or character could be independent of the kinships and circumstances that constitute subjectivity. Hence, the debate calls into question the very definition of autonomy mentioned above. I first lay out the main points of contentions that go back to the competing thought of Michel Foucault and Jürgen Habermas, debated and reworked vigorously by the feminist tradition. I follow with a reference to a discussion between Emma and Mr. Knightley that delves into the nature of autonomy and proposes a middle way that speaks to the very debate kindled by Foucault’s idea of power and Habermas’s hope in the subject’s rationality. The core of the essay offers a reading of autonomy in Mansfield Park using key arguments of the debate to rethink Fanny Price within the middle way offered by the notion of impure autonomy, which qualifies, to use Emma’s words, as a “third” picture.6 I draw on the concept of precarity to illuminate this third picture. Precarity in Mansfield Park necessitates a departure from a de-contextualized understanding of individual autonomy by emphasizing the structural and bodily vulnerabilities determined by the lived conditions and the relational aspects of the novel’s context. The notion of impure autonomy serves best to explain Austen’s insistence on embodied and embedded autonomous acts rather than acts independent of internal or external factors. Impure autonomy creates a conceptual space that can account for the subject’s desire for survival and belonging in the face of precarity. In critical theory, the autonomy debate came to a head within the feminist camp. Two philosophical lineages meet in the debate that unfolded between Judith Butler and Seyla Benhabib. Butler draws on Michel Foucault’s philosophy of power, while Benhabib is a student of Jürgen Habermas and a proponent of his communicative ethics. Foucault and Habermas have come to stand for two contrasting accounts of autonomy: Foucault, with his axiom that there is no outside to power, seems to deny the possibility of autonomy, since all law, no matter how subjectively formulated, is rooted in and cannot exist outside of heteronomy—that is, the law of the father, family, community, tribe, society at large. Hence, his emphasis lies on the workings within the individual who is formed by power. His is an intrasubjective focus, in contrast to Habermas’s critical social theory, which focuses on the intersubjective, attributing an important role to individuation through socialization. Communication compels individuals to reflect “critically on the norms, practices, institutions, cultural

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meanings and social structures that have made them who they are.”7 Critical reflexivity is central to communicative action and ethics from which Habermas expects autonomy to develop. Habermas’s trust in communicative action brings added value to Austen’s use of dialogue and wit. Pivotal dialogues in her novels, such as the one between Elizabeth Bennet and Lady Catherine de Bourgh or Anne Elliot and Captain Harville are celebrated moments of Habermasian autonomous action. Two of the most defying statements in Austen’s fiction emerge in such dialogues: “I am a gentleman’s daughter, so far we are equal”8 and “I will not allow books to prove anything.”9 But from the perspective of the Foucauldian framework, where there is no outside to power, Habermas’s trust is misplaced and persists by turning a blind eye to the fact that reflexivity and communicative ethics remain enmeshed in the power that constitutes them. Many Foucauldian thinkers emphasize that it is a self-defeating quest to attempt to show that an individual (real or fictional) grows autonomous; on the contrary, Habermasians implicitly leave the door open to the possibility of an outside to power. How does this matter with regard to Austen? It matters in so far as it requires critics to deliberate on the premises underlying the coveted concepts of autonomy and independence. Generally, commentators on the protagonists of Austen’s Bildungsroman have proceeded from a loosely Habermasian paradigm without making this provenance or its shortcomings explicit. Greater autonomy has been granted to protagonists who seem to outgrow their native structures. Accordingly, Mansfield Park’s and Persuasion’s endings convey the contrast between the indoctrinated and emancipated heroine, evident not least in terms of physical distance from patriarchal power: while Fanny Price as a married woman remains “within the view and patronage of Mansfield Park,” Anne Elliot embraces the mobility of the navy away from the eyes and views of her kin.10 Celebratory readings of homelessness in Austen (my own included) tend to suggest how a figure like Anne may move outside of power, while Fanny’s rootedness firmly holds her in the grips of power.11 That Fanny deems her new position in the Mansfield estate the most organic choice is of little importance when her case is explained with reference to Stockholm Syndrome.12 A female Bonnivard of sorts, captive Fanny has grown to love her chains and paradoxically enacts a desire for subjection. These examples help to illustrate the centrality in feminist criticism of autonomy as an escape route from oppression toward social structures that are advantageous to women, unsettled as the category “woman” may be. This explains why the debate between Foucauldians and Habermasians gained increased critical purchase when taken up by Butler and Benhabib in Feminist Contentions: A Philosophical Exchange (1995). Benhabib’s intervention raised doubts with renewed strength about the suitability of postmodernism for feminist critique and action. Fanny Price represents the pièce de résistance for the feminist critique: what can be said and done when women choose their own oppression? What model can account for women’s perpetuation of oppression? Can the autonomous subject choose subjection? The

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difficulties of this last question are embedded in the word “subject”: the subject as a moral agent and as a subject that submits to heteronomous rule. Benhabib engages with the poststructuralist view of power that she encounters in Butler’s Gender Trouble (1990), where the idea that power not only pre-exists but also constitutes the individual is conveyed through the metaphor of the script that has been going on before individual actors enter the stage and assume their roles. For Butler, the script precedes subjectivity, self-reflection, or Lockean ownership of personhood. The person that emerges through time cannot have “a will independent of” the script, to recall the problematic definition of The Blackwell Companion. In response, Benhabib, alarmed by what she considers to be the passive subject that Butler bequeaths to feminist critique and activism, proposes “the situated and gendered subject [who] is heteronomously determined but still strives toward autonomy.”13 Butler counters that this striving, too, paradigmatically seen in the subject position of the critic, is pervaded by power and not external to it. Both Benhabib and Butler have their shortcomings. Benhabib fails to state where critical capacities come from if not from a power-enabled context, whereas Butler offers little to explain how critique that leads to change is possible if power is all-pervasive, and even a critical position (like Benhabib’s or Habermas’s) “is perhaps the most insidious ruse of power.”14 If we follow Butler’s framework, no Austen protagonist can claim autonomy, not even an Elizabeth Bennet. To see independence of will in her defying words “I am a gentleman’s daughter” is to buy into the insidious ruse of power. Feminist criticism must take issue with the patriarchal context of the words “gentleman” and “daughter” that constitutes this female “I am.” Eventually, does this statement not subject Elizabeth Bennet to the very power relations that critics, sympathetic or not, have wanted Fanny Price to overturn and, for her failure to do so, have condemned her as the least emancipated Austenian protagonist? By contrast, Elizabeth’s opposition marks autonomous behavior as understood by Benhabib. But a conceptual weak point remains within this framework, too, as Benhabib gives no account of the source that produces the desire for autonomy. However, she maintains that autonomy must be assessed against the pressures of intra- and interpersonal relations, internal and external factors, rather than independently of them. I will return to the question of desire at the end of this essay. We are better served if we rely on a modest understanding of autonomy as “capacities for critical reflection and self-transformation” within a given context.15 Indeed, The Blackwell Companion of Philosophy’s definition represents an ideal that is at odds with both Butler’s and Benhabib’s accounts of the formation of subjectivity. A dialogue in Emma deals precisely with the extent of the capacities of the subject for choice and self-transformation on which we could map two competing views of autonomy. Mr. Knightley belittles Emma’s intervention in the courtship of Mr. and Mrs. Weston, reducing it to a mere thought experiment that happened to turn true—“a lucky guess,” as he calls it, challenging Emma: “What is your merit?” To which Emma retorts with a different perspective:

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You have drawn two pretty pictures; but I think there may be a third—a something between the do-nothing and the do-all. If I had not promoted Mr. Weston’s visits here, and given many little encouragements, and smoothed many little matters, it might not have come to any thing after all. I think you must know Hartfield enough to comprehend that. (E 11) The dialogue stands as a specimen of communicative ethics, engaging two interlocutors who are willing to have their opinions contested. Mr. Knightley contends that Emma should not boast of the feelings that motivated Mr. and Mrs. Weston’s marriage. Feelings occur independently of the volition of bystanders and none of Emma’s endeavor could have possibly produced love between the newlyweds. Emma contests this view, ushering a third option into Mr. Knightley’s model of autonomous erotic desire. Between the external inducement of desire and its involuntary occurrence there lies the option of the enabling context. Emma’s matchmaking efforts consist in creating opportunities for interest to morph into desire, and desire into attachment. This is a valid argument, since Austen’s plots contain favorable circumstances that allow desire to develop in couples as diverse as Jane Bennet and Bingley, Elizabeth and Darcy, and Marianne and Willoughby. The two courtship lines shape at Netherfield within the context created by Mrs. Bennet’s machinations, while the liberality of Mrs. Dashwood’s manners creates the favorable context for Marianne and Willoughby. Mr. Knightley’s idea of agency builds on the absolute autonomy of the subject as it is defined by The Blackwell Companion. Determinants such as physical features, rank, gender, and intersubjective elements are utterly disregarded in this do-all model of the autonomous subject. At the opposite end, we have the do-nothing model, redolent of the Foucauldian and Butlerian paradigm, a subject who is the sum of power relations and context. Emma, however, sees agency active when individuals decide to seize on opportunities that crop up unexpectedly. Her notion of autonomy shows a middle way between the “two pretty pictures” drawn by Mr. Knightley, “a something between the do-nothing and the do-all,” between a de-contextualized autonomous subject and a passive one. To give preference to Mr. Knightley’s rational dismissal of luck is not only to dismiss context but also to suggest an impossible separation between internal and external factors. This is a critique that Benhabib directs at her mentor Habermas when she replaces his strongly rational view of the subject with the situated one. The seizing of opportunities that are made possible by interpersonal relationships may be precisely a source of autonomy, albeit affected by power.16 Mr. Knightley’s rationalistic view collapses the moment when he owes his own postponed wedding to the unexpected opportunity opened by a poultry robbery in the neighborhood.17 What possibilities of autonomy can emerge as a third option, between donothing and do-all? In the rest of the essay, I introduce the reconciliatory third option of impure autonomy proposed by Amy Allen, on which I rely to provide

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a more adequately feminist understanding of Fanny Price. Fanny’s autonomy is more embodied and embedded than allowed for in Benhabib’s framework, but it also resists the excessively negative view of interpersonal relationships that underlines Butler’s work on Foucauldian power. Allen summarizes the difficulty at the core of the disagreement: If we start with power in all its complexity, including the role it plays in the formation of the subjectivity, we end up seeming to embrace determinism and deny autonomy; conversely, it seems we can only develop a robust enough account of autonomy by denying or ignoring the depth of power’s influence on the subject.18 One challenge for critical theory is to search for an understanding of autonomy that “is compatible with an understanding of power in all its depth and complexity.”19 The critique Allen levels at Butler regards the latter’s failure to account for the emergence of resistance. Butler reaches an impasse in which the subject possesses no autonomy and no reason to desire it. On the other hand, Benhabib has little to say about the processes that make it possible for women to accept and even replicate their own subordination. The case of Fanny Price compels critics to abandon the view of autonomy as defined in The Blackwell Companion by factoring in context and situating the individual within the matrix constituted by class, age, and body. From this model, itself a critique of Habermas, we learn that the formation of a subject “possessing the ability to act as it decides, independent of the will of others and of other internal or external factors”—as The Blackwell Companion would have it—is a philosophical and physical impossibility. Benhabib reminds us that Neo-Aristotelians as well as feminist theorists in recent years have argued that we are children before we are adults, and that as human children we can only survive and develop within networks of dependence with others, and … these networks of dependence constitute the moral bonds that continue to bind us even as moral adults.20 As children, we are thrown into a context not of our own choosing. To my knowledge, no British novel or poem prior to Mansfield Park conveys the idea of thrownness—Martin Heidegger’s concept—more acutely. The novel’s first chapters’ exclusive attention to childhood would have been telling enough, but the narrative of forced displacement exacerbates the subordination and dependency that characterize childhood, while the Bertrams’ decision to extend charity to a girl rather than a boy makes gender internal to this subordination (to a greater degree than Benhabib is ready to admit). Critics who expect the novel to shake off this narrative of gender subordination disregard the fact that Fanny is thrown into the Mansfield household as a she under the Law of Coverture and at

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an age where she has the cognitive capacities to register and suffer from her thrownness. The child Fanny is presented with no other option than to accept her subordination to alien power: “the little girl”—or “little visitor,” as the narrator pointedly and protectively calls her—“knew not how to look up, and could scarcely speak to be heard, or without crying” (MP 13–14). This downcast Fanny Price is our premise, and the downward-looking set of foreigners waiting to mold and civilize her, while confining her to her inborn lower station, is the context with which no reading of Mansfield Park can dispense. Throughout the novel the verb “to look up” acquires layers of meaning, since major forces arising from this context oppose Fanny’s attempts to look up socially and intellectually. Fanny Price’s context can be conceptualized with the help of the notion of precarity, defined as “a category of order that denotes social positioning of insecurity and hierarchization, which accompanies processes of Othering.”21 Although a recent term developed by the social sciences to discuss primarily systemic inequality in neoliberal economies, scholars emphasize that precarity is not a new condition; rather, it has “clear continuities with the histories and practices of transatlantic slavery, empire and coloniality.”22 Precarity, in twenty-first-century scholarship as well as in its eighteenth-century meaning, stands for a state of uncertainty that curtails individual autonomy. Inherited from the Latin precarious (obtained by asking or praying), it is glossed in Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary (1777) as that which is “dependent, uncertain because depending on the will of others, held by courtesy, changeable or alienable at the pleasure of another.”23 Fanny’s position in Mansfield is precarious by virtue of its being dependent on the will of others, a courtesy of which she must always be reminded and one that may be removed at the behest of her social superiors. The forced return to Portsmouth is calculated to impress on her the insecure place she occupies in Mansfield. Additionally, recent research on precarity asks that we consider other aspects that can be summarized as structural and bodily vulnerabilities that lead to uncertain lived conditions. In Fanny Price’s case, structural vulnerability emerges from her inferior class and her gender. The latter, being tied to social ascription, functions under the Law of Coverture as a subordinate rank.24 Bodily vulnerability is due to Fanny’s small stature, weak constitution, and arrival in Mansfield at a precarious age. We need to keep in mind these vulnerabilities when assessing autonomy in Mansfield Park’s context. The child’s reaction to such unfavorable circumstances is to learn to adapt by conforming to power so that she may be recognized as a member of a family that she had not wished to join. Conformism supports her desire to survive amid adversity. I will return to this desire on which Butler sheds new light. To underestimate this beginning of displacement and helpless subjugation, or the resulting precarious lived conditions that are clearly exposed during Mansfield’s theatricals and the matchmaking blackmail, is to critically adhere to the de-contextualized and disembodied subject that many feminist theorists contest. Fanny’s debut in the household of Mansfield Park adds to her physical puniness a state of fearfulness that accompanies

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her well into young adulthood. The emotion of fear in the novel is mostly related to Fanny Price. It can be said that she lives in a context of perpetual fear that characterizes precarity, which operates through “economic insecurity and disparity, and intensified efforts to secure obedience via structural vulnerability and governing by fear.”25 The hierarchy fostered among the children at Mansfield, the gratitude and obedience demanded by the parenting figures, and the invisible work Fanny performs in the household are intensified by the fear of exile and spinsterhood that drives the marriage scheme, which will unburden her benefactors from their self-imposed duties. Mansfield Park is severely hedged by its precarious context: readers are made to long for a heroine of physical agility, for enabling social structures and comical relief, affectionate sisterhood, stable solidarities, faithful and witty suitors, mobility, and the diverse cast of the assembly rooms or a colorful and gossipy neighborhood. From the perspective of communicative ethics, these are necessary conditions under which dialogical deliberations, the bedrock of autonomy, can emerge. For the majority of Fanny’s upbringing, Mansfield Park’s claustrophobic context has little to offer in each of these areas. Even a budding relationship like that between William and Fanny, or between Edmund and Fanny, is permeated by the economic fiat of the patriarch. As for the relations with Sotherton and Portsmouth, they offer no escape because they are not countermodels to oppression. No responsible estate management emerges to discredit the colonial underbelly of the Mansfield estate, in contrast to the way in which Darcy’s Pemberley puts Longbourn’s squandered finances to shame. Moreover, the destabilizing influence that the urban Crawfords introduce into rural Mansfield harbor insidious forms of subjugation and manipulation. There seems indeed to be no outside to Mansfield from which a critique of the powerhouse may be launched. The theatricals at Mansfield exemplify the lack of alternatives for Fanny Price. She is left with only one position as gap-filler and facilitator in a plan concocted by others. Whether she opposes the theatricals due to lack of skills, genuinely felt ethical reasons, or fear of deviating from Sir Thomas’s rule is a question about desire: what does Fanny desire? To be a spectator or to act or be her uncle’s good niece in his absence? Whatever the internal reasons—perhaps all three desires are at work—the context in which the craze for the theatricals germinates determines the degree of autonomy we attribute to Fanny. Had Austen decided to give us here an eager Fanny, a theater enthusiast (as possibly Austen was herself), we would still struggle to read her participation as a sign of her fledgling autonomy. Because, by agreeing to act, Fanny would be doing just that: heeding to the pressures of selfish characters who care little about her desire as long as she can be used to gratify theirs. We would have a Fanny declaring her independence from Sir Thomas’s idea of law and order but submitting to a bullying cast. In the other option, an acting-reticent Fanny who disallows peer instrumentalization ultimately upholds Sir Thomas’s values. Within the context of the theatricals, surrounded by that specific set of characters with their specific competing desires,

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none of Fanny’s choices can effect an exit from the matrix of power. For her, the question arises with felt acuity: how to govern herself, how to gauge her possible field of action? The theatricals at Mansfield are an experiment on governance and autonomy. In the absence of the patriarch, the performance signifies an explosion of autonomy that will determine the rest of the story. But the absence of Sir Thomas does not signal an exit from the patriarchal field: patriarchy persists in the libertine whims of the heir, Tom Bertram, who knows and wields the power that his father’s absence bequeaths to him. Fanny’s “no” to Tom and his cast is a “no” to patriarchy in a new, perhaps amoral guise—but patriarchy, nonetheless. Hence, I agree with Marija Reiff that Fanny Price embodies traits of Enlightenment feminism. Her “no” to Tom’s scheme, bolstered by her “no” to Henry, Sir Thomas, and Edmund, is the “no” that might have saved Wollstonecraft’s Maria in The Wrongs of Woman from libertines like George Venables. Yet, it is worth expanding on Reiff’s conclusion that the theatricals offer a training ground for Fanny to become an Enlightened feminist by learning “to trust her own judgment and to speak her mind.”26 It is true that Fanny is forced to break her silence, and her “no” places her more at center stage than acting a minor role in the theatricals would have done. But the effect of her behavior does not go deep enough to justify or define her absolute autonomy. We need to be warier of the complexities of power, rendered more visible in Mansfield Park on account of its precarity than in any other Austen novel, and ask: what mind could be properly Fanny’s? What desire could be properly hers? The idea of a mind or desire of one’s own can presuppose some form of essential subjectivity, to which external forms of knowledge and power merely attach themselves, whereas I think that the most plausible model with which to read Fanny and the novel’s unrelenting attention to the precarious context is one that sees knowledge and power as ingrained in subjectivity. This may seem like a grim premise for autonomy. But there is critical worth in the novel’s via negativa and Allen’s sobering call for impure autonomy. Claims for pure autonomy that forms and stands outside of power cannot withhold the limitations imposed by the novel’s context. Hence, to speak one’s mind or desire cannot signify that Fanny or any subject operates independently of the minds and desires that have become internal to her own through socialization. Allen is right to argue that “[t]he acknowledgment of this impurity necessitates scaling the overly ambitious claims” of the Habermasian model, in which reason equips the subject with the ability to cut herself loose from tradition and collective value-systems.27 Without a reference to impure autonomy, without specifying the intersubjective origin of one’s mind and desire, Reiff’s claim of Fanny’s Enlightenment feminism remains indebted to the Habermasian view, which, despite important revisions, maintains the Kantian understanding of the reasoning, autonomous subject. In feminist thinking, we encounter this model in Audre Lorde’s lapidary statement: “The master’s tool can never dismantle the master’s house.”28 Lorde

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concedes some temporary victory through the master’s tools, suggesting that their subversion provides moments when the patriarchy is defeated at its own game. However, for her, the dismantling of the patriarchy requires new tools. If we follow Lorde, Fanny may have her moments of subversion, but notions such as duty, gratitude, and properness are the master’s tools that she never relinquishes. This is how several recent critics read Fanny.29 However, even Austen’s most outspoken heroines, such as Elizabeth Bennet, do not confirm Lorde’s paradigm. Elizabeth’s opposition to Lady de Bourgh operates within the father’s house. Physically on her father’s property, Elizabeth can claim equal footing with Darcy and his aunt only through her father’s status. Her “I am” rests on her father’s reputation and fortune. This does not make Austen a conservative writer but an astute assessor of autonomy. Her novels posit versions of impure autonomy which signify that we need to abandon the position that some tools are unrelated to the master and untainted by the master’s use of them. Nonetheless, although there is nothing but the master’s house and its tools, impure autonomy allows us to appreciate Fanny’s moments of autonomous resistance within the master’s powerhouse—one that she does not and cannot exit. Such moments are to be found in her silences, her censoring presence, in unsought confrontations, and in her rejections. Even her insipidity can be ascribed to an attitude that refuses to alleviate the weight of power with wit and cheer. Lastly, impure autonomy breaks through even in her flashes of Schadenfreude at seeing her erring masters come undone by their own tools. Fanny’s greatest failing in the eyes of critics is her refusal to break away from her foster family. Even worse—for love of Edmund and an indoctrinated sense of gratitude toward the Bertrams—she binds herself to them legally, emotionally, and geographically. Critics like Reiff, who read Fanny in light of Enlightenment feminism and note how her “education does not end with Edmund’s teachings,” have made little impact on critics for whom the same Fanny who devastates Sir Thomas’s plans with her unshaken rejection of Henry “has already submitted herself to a master, Edmund.”30 Of all Austen’s protagonists, Fanny is the one who is read as entrapped, to the extent that she blesses her own subordination. Had Mansfield Park reached us as an unfinished novel, with the narrative breaking after Fanny stands her ground against Sir Thomas’s and Edmund’s entreaties to marry Henry, we probably would have more respect for her maxim: “We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be” (MP 478). We might even rate her resistance to Sir Thomas at least as highly as Elizabeth’s defiance of Catherine de Bourgh. But Fanny’s fixation on Edmund, while a jaunty Henry offers himself to her, and furthermore her fixation on Mansfield after her disheartening exile in Portsmouth undercut her autonomy. How could she not desire any life but the one at Mansfield? How could the better guide that she believes to have in herself lead adult Fanny back to Mansfield, her oppressive foster home? Aren’t these the signs of bondage and indoctrination?

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If we argue for Fanny’s uncured indoctrination or Stockholm Syndrome, we are taking two shortcuts. The first of these ignores the fact that the narrator puts an immediate temporal distance between Mansfield and Fanny’s married life. There is no seamless transition from the main house to the parsonage, but a phase of removal, during which Fanny and Edmund entertain no desire or pragmatic motive to be close to Mansfield Park. On the contrary, the problematic conclusion to the novel announces a hiatus of detachment so that Fanny and Edmund’s possession of the parsonage “occurred just after they had been married long enough to begin to want an increase of income, and feel their distance from the paternal abode an inconvenience” (MP 547). The second—and for critical theory more relevant—shortcut is that of desire that is evident in the novel’s final sentence: the growing affection that Fanny develops for the parsonage and everyone at Mansfield. Those who maintain that Fanny ends up loving the mind-forged manacles that shackle her development toward independence would find confirmation in Butler’s The Psychic Life of Power (1997). Butler, however, would probably be more generous toward Fanny-like characters by not expecting them to do otherwise, since for the sake of survival there is no way around loving one’s shackles. Butler comes to this insight as she pursues the inquiry into power by asking how power structures both desire and mind. This question leads her to the notion of recognition, which she argues complements Foucault’s paradigm of power with psychoanalytical insights that Foucault shunned. For Butler, Foucault’s insistence that power constitutes the subject fails to explain “the specific mechanisms of how the subject is formed in submission.”31 Her analysis of “the ways in which subordinated individuals become passionately attached to, and thus come to desire, their own subordination” speaks to the riddle that is Fanny Price.32 At a grander scale, it speaks to the riddle that feminist critical theory has been facing, puzzled that a rational critique of subordinating norms leaves rather untouched the attachments of millions of women. Sandra Bartky even feels compelled to ask whether feminists have not so far provided a theory for which there is “no effective practice.”33 Butler’s argument offers to some extent a plausible explanation for the recalcitrance of subordinating attachments. To what extent? Her analysis, influenced by Hegel’s “Lordship and Bondage” and “The Unhappy Consciousness,” is helpful in so far as it gives due weight to attachment to context, no matter how precarious this may be: No subject emerges without a passionate attachment to those on whom he or she is fundamentally dependent (even if that passion is “negative” in the psychoanalytical sense) … If there is no formation of the subject without a passionate attachment to those by whom she or he is subordinated, then subordination proves central to the becoming of the subject.34 Starting with the child (as Austen does with Fanny), Butler has no doubt that the infant and the child must attach in order to persist—in other words, to ensure the

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self’s survival. We must connect with others in order to continue to exist even if this means connecting with practices to which we react with “wretchedness, agony, and pain.” These states are “sites or modes of stubbornness, ways of attaching to oneself, negatively articulated modes of reflexivity” to be explained with the fact that “a subject will attach to pain rather than not attach at all.”35 If the subject’s ultimate desire is to persist, to continue being a self, thus to survive, the subject must desire the social recognition that comes through attaching at any cost. The cost, for Butler, is attachment to dependency and subordination, for “the terms by which we gain social recognition for ourselves are those by which we are regulated and gain social existence.”36 In this logic, desire entails “a capitulation to one’s subordination.”37 Austen captures this double strategy of survival and capitulation in the early chapters of Mansfield Park: The place became less strange, and the people less formidable; and if there were some amongst them whom she [Fanny] could not cease to fear, she began at least to know their ways, and to catch the best manner of conforming to them. (MP 19) Because this is not the whole story of Mansfield Park, we need to part ways with Butler from this point on. Butler’s critics have argued that the story of the self she relates is incomplete. Indeed, if the subject accepts any cost by receiving social recognition in return for her subordination, from where does resistance come? Allen puts this question succinctly: If I am psychically invested in and attached to my subordination, if my very sense of myself as a coherent individual is a function of my subordination, then I will need to have a fairly strong motivation to give that investment up.38 So we can ask about Fanny: what motivates her to oppose the attachments that subordinate her and jeopardize the social recognition that secures her survival? One answer is that her desire for Edmund is more than a sign and product of subordination. Here, the research of psychoanalyst Jessica Benjamin is enlightening.39 Benjamin takes issue with Butler’s excessively negative analysis, in which social recognition springs from and confirms subordination. Benjamin concedes that no intersubjective spaces are free of destruction and that destruction is the Other of recognition. But she also insists that the possibility of mutual recognition, and therefore enabling attachments, exists despite the persisting possibility of destruction. Recognition is the Other of destruction in that it represents the psyche’s ability to cope with and integrate destruction. Edmund’s presence, which the narrator calls not mere kindness but “positive kindness” toward young Fanny, due to her precarity of gender, age, and position within Mansfield, starts as a

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subordinating attachment, but even then it is not devoid of mutual recognition (MP 19). Intimacy serves to multiply the moments in the intersubjective space created by the two—a space where recognition enables Fanny to process fear and destructive pressures. It is crucial, however, not to expect recognition to be an unchanging state. As Benjamin reminds us, recognition must be viewed in dynamic terms. The proposal and unfaithfulness of Henry Crawford are a case in point. We most clearly see ebbs and flows of recognition in Fanny, Edmund, and Sir Thomas. Austen’s choice of the word “know” confirms the process of recognition undergirding the narrative. Fanny laments Edmund’s lack of recognition when he pressures her to marry Henry: “Edmund, you do not know me” (MP 492; emphasis added). Her desire for Edmund coexists with her critique of his blindness and blunders. Recognition is also sorely missed by Sir Thomas after Fanny’s rejection in his helpless confession that “her emotions were beyond his discrimination. He did not understand her; he felt that he did not” (MP 422). The novel, however, moves toward moments of recognition triggered by moments of crisis that threaten to destroy the intersubjective space between these characters. The closing chapter makes this movement explicit. Here, knowing becomes the condition upon which the regeneration of the Mansfield household rests. The patriarch is found most lacking and in the greatest need to re-cognize (to know again) her niece to make up for those past years that had “deprived him of her early love” (MP 546). This movement is from the fearful child’s “knowing their ways” toward adults “really knowing each other” (MP 546; emphasis added). Only then, the narrator assures us, does “their mutual attachment bec[o]me very strong” (MP 546). If we follow Butler, this signals Fanny’s final capitulation. If we follow Benjamin and Allen, we can plausibly see mutual dependency in this unfolding knowing, but not capitulation, because “real recognition of the other entails being able to perceive commonality through difference.”40 My intention in this essay has been to argue for individual autonomy on the basis of context. Dispensing with the absolute and isolating expectations couched in the phrase “independent of,” and alert to precarious contexts like those of Mansfield Park, we can regard a reluctance to acquiesce to power as an expression of impure autonomy. The subject subjected to structural (class and gender) and bodily vulnerabilities can select among desires, trusting her choice to be the better guide, although those desires can never be fully innately or uniquely hers. Thus, she can progressively instruct others to desist from treating her like a shuttlecock. We can be spurred by a thought that Butler herself does not unfold—that resistance means finding ways “to work the power relations by which we are worked, and in what direction.”41 Fanny’s desire for belonging and intimacy performs a change of direction and self-transformation by altering her position at Mansfield Park from an object of charity, and thereby a figure of precarity, to a cherished family member and beloved wife. Critics who find her desire infiltrated by patriarchy are right. But, as Allen and Benjamin insist, that is not all there is to

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human desire. Fanny’s desire to attach herself to what has become her family, while disputing some of its rules and beliefs, indicates her will to survive in precarious conditions. Characters like Fanny discomfit believers in absolute autonomy and freedom. But these are also characters who remind us that the cost of conceptualizing individual autonomy and desire as pure (i.e., independent of external or internal factors) is the negation of the social conditions and bodies from which autonomy and desire can be generated. Once compelled to pay attention to precarious context and its relationship to autonomy, we cannot but abandon the assumed dichotomy between determinism and voluntarism. Impure autonomy means a complex amalgamation of determinism and voluntarism, and, therefore, accounts for the systemic inequality and relational practices that create and hold in place precarity (i.e., hierarchization, insecurity, Othering, and exploitation). These are concerns that resonate from Austen’s first attempts at writing to her last, unfinished novel, making her work worthy of the attention of critical theory. They may also be signs of her modernity.

Notes 1 Lionel Trilling, The Opposing Self: Nine Essays in Criticism [1955] (New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978), 200–201. 2 Charlotte Bury, The Diary of a Lady-in-Waiting, ed. A. F. Steuart (London: John Lane, 1908), 2: 261. 3 Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, directed and written by Burr Steers (Los Angeles: Cross Creek Pictures and Sierra Pictures, 2016). 4 Claudia L. Johnson, Jane Austen: Women, Politics, and the Novel (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), xviii. 5 Nicholas Bunnin and Eric Tsui-James, eds., The Blackwell Companion to Philosophy (Oxford: Blackwell, 2003), 876. 6 Jane Austen, Emma, ed. Richard Cronin and Dorothy McMillan, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 11. All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text. 7 Amy Allen, The Politics of Ourselves: Power, Autonomy, and Gender in Contemporary Critical Theory (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008), 175. 8 Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, ed. Pat Rogers, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 395. 9 Jane Austen, Persuasion, ed. Janet Todd and Antje Blank, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 255. 10 Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, ed. John Wiltshire, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 548. All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text. 11 Enit Karafili Steiner, “Overcoming Perpetual Estrangement in Persuasion’s Heterotopia,” Anglia: Journal of English Philology 134, no. 3 (2016), 373–390. 12 Anne K. Mellor and Alexandra Milsom, “Austen’s Fanny Price, Grateful Negroes, and the Stockholm Syndrome,” Persuasions, 34 (2012), 222–235. Space does not permit engagement with this reading, but for insights that complicate it, see Celia Jameson, “The ‘Short Step’ from Love to Hypnosis: A Reconsideration of the Stockholm Syndrome,” Journal for Cultural Research 14, no. 4 (2010), 337–355.

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13 Seyla Benhabib, “Feminism and Postmodernism,” Feminist Contentions: A Philosophical Exchange, ed. Seyla Benhabib et al. (New York and London: Routledge, 1995), 21. 14 Judith Butler, “Contingent Foundations,” Feminist Contentions: A Philosophical Exchange, ed. Seyla Benhabib et al. (New York and London: Routledge, 1995), 56. 15 Allen, 2. 16 G. Himmelfarb, The Moral Imagination: From Edmund Burke to Lionel Trilling (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2006), 27. 17 See Joseph Wiesenfarth, The Errand of Form: An Essay on Jane Austen’s Art (New York: Fordham University Press, 1967), 138. 18 Allen, 21. 19 Ibid. 20 Seyla Benhabib, “Communicative Ethics and Contemporary Controversies in Practical Philosophy,” in The Communicative Ethics Controversy, ed. Seyla Benhabib and Fred Dallmayr (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1990), 356. 21 Jasbir Puar, ed. “Precarity Talk: A Virtual Roundtable with Lauren Berlant, Judith Butler, Bojana Cvejic´, Isabell Lorey, Jasbir Puar, and Ana Vujanovic´”, TDR (1988–), Precarity and Performance: Special Consortium Issue 56, no. 4 (2012), 165. 22 Vivian M. May and Adela C. Licona, “Together, Working: Relational Matters,” Feminist Formations 30, no. 3 (2018), 137. 23 Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language (4th edition) (London: J. Mifflin, 1777), s.v. “Precarious.” 24 Enit Karafili Steiner, Jane Austen’s Civilized Women: Morality, Gender and the Civilizing Process (London and New York: Routledge, 2012), 6–9. 25 May and Licona, 137. 26 Marija Reiff, “The ‘Fanny Price Wars’: Jane Austen’s Enlightenment Feminism and Mary Wollstonecraft,” Women’s Studies 45, no. 3 (2016), 281. 27 Allen, 8–9. See also Amanda Anderson, The Way We Argue Now: A Study in the Cultures of Theory (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006), 151. 28 Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches [1984] (New York: Random House, 2007), 110–113. 29 Christopher Stampone, “‘Obliged to Yield’: The Language of Patriarchy and the System of Mental Slavery in Mansfield Park,” Studies in the Novel 50, no. 2 (2018), 197–212. 30 Reiff, 278; Stampone, 205. 31 Judith Butler, The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997), 2. 32 Allen, 73. 33 Sandra Bartky, “Sympathy and Solidarity” and Other Essays (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002), 14. 34 Butler, The Psychic Life of Power, 7. 35 Ibid., 67. 36 Ibid., 79; original emphasis. 37 Ibid. 38 Allen, 84. 39 Jessica Benjamin, The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism, and the Problem of Domination (New York: Pantheon Books, 1988). 40 Ibid., 171. 41 Butler, The Psychic Life of Power, 79.

Bibliography Allen, Amy. The Politics of Ourselves: Power, Autonomy, and Gender in Contemporary Critical Theory. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008.

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Anderson, Amanda. The Way We Argue Now: A Study in the Cultures of Theory. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006. Austen, Jane. Emma. Edited by Richard Cronin and Dorothy McMillan. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Austen, Jane. Mansfield Park. Edited by Janet Todd and Linda Bree. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Austen, Jane. Persuasion. Edited by Janet Todd and Antje Blank. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Edited by Pat Rogers. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Bartky, Sandra. “Sympathy and Solidarity” and Other Essays. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002. Benhabib, Seyla. “Communicative Ethics and Contemporary Controversies in Practical Philosophy.” In The Communicative Ethics Controversy, edited by Seyla Benhabib and Fred Dallmayr, 330–370. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1990. Benhabib, Seyla. “Feminism and Postmodernism.” In Feminist Contentions: A Philosophical Exchange, edited by Seyla Benhabibet al., 17–34. New York and London: Routledge, 1995. Benjamin, Jessica. The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism, and the Problem of Domination. New York: Pantheon Books, 1988. Bunnin, Nicholas and Eric Tsui-James, eds. The Blackwell Companion to Philosophy. Oxford: Blackwell, 2003. Bury, Charlotte. The Diary of a Lady-in-Waiting. Edited by A. F. Steuart. Vol. 2. London: John Lane, 1908. Butler, Judith. “Contingent Foundations.” In Feminist Contentions: A Philosophical Exchange, edited by Seyla Benhabibet al., 35–58. New York and London: Routledge, 1995. Butler, Judith. The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997. Himmelfarb, Gertrude. The Moral Imagination: From Edmund Burke to Lionel Trilling. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2006. Jameson, Celia. “The ‘Short Step’ from Love to Hypnosis: A Reconsideration of the Stockholm Syndrome.” Journal for Cultural Research 14, no. 4 (2010): 337–355. Johnson, Claudia L. Jane Austen: Women, Politics, and the Novel. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988. Johnson, Samuel. A Dictionary of the English Language (4th edition). London: J. Mifflin, 1777. Lorde, Audre. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches [1984]. New York: Random House, 2007. May, Vivian M. and Adela C. Licona. “Together, Working: Relational Matters.” Feminist Formations 30, no. 3 (2018): 125–149. Mellor, Anne K. and Alexandra Milsom. “Austen’s Fanny Price, Grateful Negroes, and the Stockholm Syndrome.” Persuasions 34 (2012): 222–235. Puar, Jasbir, ed. “Precarity Talk: A Virtual Roundtable with Lauren Berlant, Judith Butler, Bojana Cvejic´, Isabell Lorey, Jasbir Puar, and Ana Vujanovic´.” TDR (1988–), Precarity and Performance: Special Consortium 56, no. 4 (2012): 163–177. Reiff, Marija. “The ‘Fanny Price Wars’: Jane Austen’s Enlightenment Feminism and Mary Wollstonecraft.” Women’s Studies 45, no. 3 (2016): 275–290. Stampone, Christopher. “‘Obliged to Yield’: The Language of Patriarchy and the System of Mental Slavery in Mansfield Park.” Studies in the Novel 50, no. 2 (2018): 197–212. Steers, Burr, writer and director. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Los Angeles: Cross Creek Pictures and Sierra Pictures, 2016.

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Steiner, Enit Karafili. Jane Austen’s Civilized Women: Morality, Gender and the Civilizing Process. London and New York: Routledge, 2012. Steiner, Enit Karafili. “Overcoming Perpetual Estrangement in Persuasion’s Heterotopia.” Anglia: Journal of English Philology 134, no. 3 (2016): 373–390. Trilling, Lionel. The Opposing Self: Nine Essays in Criticism [1955]. New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978. Wiesenfarth, Joseph. The Errand of Form: An Essay on Jane Austen’s Art. New York: Fordham University Press, 1967.


Jane Austen would have known the Greek word “sophia” signifies wisdom. In the early twentieth century, when women were still barred from receiving an Oxford education, Virginia Woolf wittily exposed her own lack of formal training in Greek, even as she displayed her knowledge of classical epic form, in her essay “On Not Knowing Greek” (1925).1 Remarkably, long before Woolf’s essay, Bluestocking scholar Elizabeth Carter had taught herself ancient Greek and Latin and achieved a level of mastery equal to that found in the universities.2 Like Carter, Austen was the daughter of an Oxford-educated Anglican priest, so she could glean knowledge of classical literature, culture, philosophy, and languages from her father’s library as well as via conversations with her brothers. In her novel Persuasion, when Austen named an older, cosmopolitan, and “shrewd”3 female character “Sophia,” she invoked Aristotelian virtue ethics and rhetoric, even as she exposed the problematic gender exclusivity endemic to Aristotle’s ideas. Austen’s first readers would have been more struck by shrewdness in a woman than they would have been by the less edgy-sounding “prudence,” though both concepts have been used synonymously with forms of wisdom personified as female. For example, Jane Austen’s father personified prudence as female when advising his naval son Francis to “consider what she directs” while at sea.4 “Prudence” was deployed as a female name in eighteenth-century England, so it is intriguing that Austen chose the more continental-sounding “Sophia” to attach connotations of both wisdom and cosmopolitanism to her character. Within the narrative of Persuasion, the full, given name “Sophia” only appears twice, and both times it is uttered by Sophia Croft’s brother, Captain Frederick Wentworth. Nevertheless, Austen associates the multivalent cultural and theological term sophia with a wise female character throughout the narrative. Philo-sophia means “love of wisdom,” after all, and Austen presents us with an older woman DOI: 10.4324/9781003181309-10

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capable of philosophical deliberation and judgment, beloved by the man to whom she is married, Admiral Croft. Once recognized, Austen’s clever deployment of Sophia as a dynamic personification of female wisdom throughout Persuasion shifts and destabilizes the presumed centering of the novel’s structure around the courtship of Captain Frederick Wentworth and Anne Elliot. What if we instead reread this novel as a meditation on the female wisdom accrued with age and its value for the next generation? What if we saw Austen’s narrative as equally recounting the development of a relationship between Sophia Croft and her disciple Anne Elliot as much as telling the story of the reconciliation between Sophia’s brother Frederick and his beloved? These two relational centers of the novel need not battle for hermeneutical supremacy, as they interact in a dynamic and harmonious conversation. Sophia and Frederick’s own sibling relationship is one of teasing, wit, and love, after all. It is impossible for Anne to see Sophia apart from her own past courtship with, engagement to, and estrangement from Frederick. This is partly why Anne’s quiet yet intense observation of Sophia in turn gradually and incrementally shifts her perceptions of Frederick, adding layers of complexity. The Greek feminine noun “sophia” itself carries multiple meanings. This is especially true of its appearance in Judeo-Christian scripture, where “sophia” can signify: “wisdom, broad and full of intelligence,” “science and learning,” “skill in the management of affairs,” and ultimately “supreme intelligence, such as belongs to God” and “to Christ.”5 These meanings would have been familiar to Austen, due to her Anglican background and practice, and they are interwoven together throughout the text of Persuasion. French critical theorist Jacques Derrida suggests linguistic signification is not rigid and fixed but rather exists as a flexible “assemblage” with “the complex structure of a weaving, an interlacing which permits different threads and different lines of meaning—or of force—to go off again in different directions.”6 This is exactly what happens with the constellation of concepts associated with the character Sophia in Persuasion: shrewdness, rationality, coolness, judiciousness, sensibleness, prudence, respect, height, wisdom, and, interestingly, kindness. The cultural definitions of these concepts are harmonized, synthesized, and sometimes even playfully destabilized with self-reflexive Horatian irony in Austen’s text. In “Différance,” Derrida reflects on the generative flux of such dynamic linguistic interrelatedness: “even if one describes the transcendental temporality of consciousness … one grants to the ‘living present’ the power of synthesizing traces, and of incessantly reassembling them.”7 This is what Austen does in Persuasion: she draws out and synthesizes classical and biblical linguistic patterns surrounding the concept of feminine wisdom and reassembles them to her own proto-feminist ends. In the era preceding the publication of Persuasion, eighteenth-century philosophers such as Edmund Burke had classified wisdom as a male virtue, which had provoked Mary Wollstonecraft’s rebuttal in A Vindication of the Rights of Men (1790). From medieval women mystics, such as St. Hildegard of Bingen, to twenty-first-century feminist theologians, such as Elizabeth A. Johnson and Silvia

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Schroer, women exegetes have pointed out how wisdom’s personification as female occurs multiple times in scripture.8 The Bible also contains individual references to particular women’s wise actions, making Burke’s ideas about wisdom being an exclusively male virtue not only problematic but unbiblical.9 Austen would have known these scriptural texts as a devout Anglican, giving her tools with which to dismantle Aristotle’s and Burke’s attempts to define authoritative wisdom as exclusively male. Ultimately, in her own pursuit of wisdom within the narrative of Persuasion, the heroine Anne Elliot chooses to follow Sophia Croft’s shrewdness over her former mentor Lady Russell’s prudence, opting for a bolder mode of more active wisdom. Austen was most likely aware of attempts to define the classical, cardinal virtue of wisdom as male by eighteenth-century philosophers, and perhaps she also knew of Wollstonecraft’s direct rebuttal to Burke on this exact point. Writing his Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful (1757, 1759) at the peak of the neo-classical period, Burke is more Aristotelian than Platonic in his gendering of the virtues. In “Aristotle on the Deliberative Abilities of Women,” Joseph Karbowski convincingly outlines Aristotle’s restrictive reaction to Plato’s expansive view of women’s capacities for contributing to the public sphere. In Plato’s Republic, Socrates envisions women “ruling, guarding”10 and producing goods within his ideal city. Aristotle follows Plato when he suggests in Metaphysics that wise philosophers are not ordered by others but rather bring about order through direction, organization, and delineation, building on Plato’s idea of a philosopher king. Plato and Aristotle agree that the love of wisdom, or “philo-sophia,” produces the best, most tactical, and least rash leaders. In Politics, however, Aristotle severely limits women’s capacity to provide guidance or direction due to his argument that “they have deliberative faculties which lack authority (akuron).”11 Burke echoes this Aristotelian limitation of women’s wisdom in Philosophical Enquiry, which provoked Wollstonecraft’s rebuke and, I would suggest, Austen’s more subtle, yet equally powerful, allegorical response. Burke attempted to create an unbridgeable gap—what he terms a “wide difference”12—between the sublime male and the beautiful female in Philosophical Enquiry, which prompted Wollstonecraft to point out the ethical implications of this exclusive division in 1790, when Austen was a teenager. Burke tries to exclude women from what he presents as the sublime cardinal virtues—fortitude, justice, wisdom, and temperance—but not the beautiful theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. He argues: Those virtues which cause admiration, and are of the sublimer kind, produce terror rather than love; such as fortitude, justice, wisdom, and the like. Never was any man amiable by force of these qualities. Those which engage our hearts, which impress us with a sense of loveliness, are the softer virtues; easiness of temper, compassion, kindness, and liberality; though certainly those latter are of less immediate and momentous concern to society, and of less dignity.13

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Interestingly, in line with Aristotle, Burke ties his definition of the sublime cardinal virtues to “the authority of a father,” and thus implies women embody less dignified virtues that are appropriate to caring for children but not for deliberating on the common good of society.14 From Burke’s perspective, the cardinal virtues of wisdom and justice inspire reverence and respect verging on fear, whereas the theological virtues inspire affection. This is why, in his system, the cardinal virtues are tied to the sublime authority of a father, and the theological virtues are associated with the beautiful kindness and “indulgence” of a mother.15 In A Vindication of the Rights of Men, Wollstonecraft tackles the presumed gender imbalances undergirding Burke’s refusal to mix reverence with love, or respect with his perceptions of women. She protests Burke’s inability to accept that “admiration disturb the soft intimacy of love” and attempts to remedy his severe separation of terrified respect and complacent love.16 Wollstonecraft believes that women who conform to Burke’s model of the beautiful risk becoming amoral creatures, hesitant to sacrifice their amiability to “the force of those exalted qualities, fortitude, justice, wisdom, and truth.”17 Drawing on Plato, she reasons that forms of human love that lead to the love of God must include some measure of respect, “for the love of the Deity, which is mixed with the most profound reverence, must be love of perfection and not compassion for weakness.”18 Here Wollstonecraft questions Burke’s assumption that we love that which is weaker than us (i.e., for Burke, women), whereas we revere that which is stronger than us (i.e., a paternal divinity from whom we “shrink” in fear).19 She wonders if we cannot simultaneously revere and love God, who is far beyond our finite and contingent human gender constructions. Two years later, in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), she provides alternatives to defining sublimity purely in terms of terror. In the course of her argument for increasing women’s public virtue and social responsibility through education, she asks, “Why should He [God] lead us from love of ourselves to the sublime emotions which the discovery of His wisdom and goodness excites, if these feelings were not set in motion to improve our nature, of which they make a part.”20 God’s omnibenevolence, or infinite “goodness,” is associated with sublimity by Wollstonecraft, and she presents such divine goodness as inspiring. She wants women to improve their nature—intellectually and ethically—through the educational pursuit of a wisdom (or, in Greek, sophia) that is ultimately sourced in divine wisdom. Her pairing of wisdom with goodness implies women’s seeking of sophia will bear fruit as moral discernment and ethical action in the world. In Austen’s Persuasion, we see such discernment and action in the aptly named Sophia Croft and, eventually, in her protégée Anne Elliot. When Sophia enters the narrative of Persuasion, she carries connotations of cosmopolitanism far beyond Anne Elliot’s limited provincial life. Sophia has just returned to England after “several years” in “the East Indies” (P 24). It is Anne who communicates her knowledge of Sophia’s international experience to her father, Sir Walter Elliot, after he enquires about the identity and experience of

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Admiral Croft. Sophia’s transatlantic consciousness is later revealed in conversation when she explains to Anne’s aunt Mrs. Musgrove that she has crossed the Atlantic four times, lived in the Bahamas and Bermuda, and even traveled to India “and back again” (P 76). Closer to home, she has also been to “Cork, and Lisbon, and Gibraltar” (P 76). Sophia’s wisdom has been gained experientially; at thirty-eight, she is significantly older than Anne, but very unlike the matronly women married to landed gentry and petty nobility who have previously surrounded and advised her. Anne perceives Sophia in terms of an attractive otherness, and she is drawn to the older woman’s refreshing difference and freedom from conventionality. Sophia breaks through the stifling circumstances of Anne’s life like a breath of fresh ocean air. To date, no Austen critic has noted the Greek meaning of Sophia Croft’s given name, nor her resultant figurative function as an allegorical symbol—or female personification—of wisdom. Most often, she is referred to as “Mrs. Croft,” which effaces the symbolic weight of her first name and reduces her to her relationship with Admiral Croft. In Jane Austen’s Transatlantic Sister: The Life and Letters of Fanny Palmerston Austen, philosopher Sheila Johnson Kindred presents “Mrs. Croft” as partially modeled on Austen’s sister-in-law Fanny, who married Jane’s brother Charles Austen, a naval officer. For Kindred, “Mrs. Croft” is a “mature,” “self-confident,” and “assertive” woman with “practical good sense.” However, Kindred’s effacing of the name “Sophia” tends to emphasize “Mrs. Croft’s” role as Admiral Croft’s “helpmate” rather than as Anne’s intellectual and moral mentor.21 Likewise, Sarah Emsley, in Jane Austen’s Philosophy of the Virtues, consistently refers to Sophia as “Mrs. Croft” and views her in terms of her relationships to the men in her life: her brother and husband. Emsley does suggest Sophia is a role model of sorts, but only in terms of marriage to a naval officer. Within her larger argument on the virtues in Austen’s novels, she draws on St. Thomas Aquinas’s philosophical distinction between “practical knowledge or higher wisdom” and notes many Austen heroines develop both, yet overlooks Sophia’s function as an exemplar of wisdom.22 Emsley suggests Austen “characters in the novels offer what may be termed ‘living arguments’ for the classical and theological traditions of the virtues.”23 However, she does not consider Sophia Croft as a living argument against Aristotle’s and Burke’s exclusion of women from authoritative wisdom. Jocelyn Harris, in Satire, Celebrity, and Politics in Jane Austen, similarly does not note the symbolic significance of Sophia’s given name, even as she rightly refers to her, with admiration, as “the knowledgeable Mrs. Croft.”24 Several critics take a feminist approach to Sophia Croft’s character, viewing her as a more powerful and autonomous figure, but they still do not acknowledge the Greek meaning of her given name, with its connotations of wisdom. For instance, in Jane Austen and the Province of Womanhood, Alison Sulloway analyzes “Mrs. Croft’s” role as a keen debater who is not afraid to present a counterargument in the face of male presumption, but she does not place what she terms “rational debate” in the Greek context of Socratic dialogue.25 Sulloway also does

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not attribute Sophia Croft’s deft dialogic abilities to her international, cosmopolitan experiences. In Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers, cultural theorist Kwame Anthony Appiah deploys the concept of “conversation” not only as “literal talk but also as a metaphor for engagement with the ideas and experiences of others.”26 Through her voyages across the Atlantic and as far east as India, Sophia Croft would have had opportunities to engage with a wide variety of cultures and religions. Perhaps in creating Sophia Croft, Austen drew not only on the demure and somewhat delicate Fanny Palmerston Austen but also on her other, much bolder and more sophisticated, sister-in-law Eliza de Feuillide (later Austen). Eliza was born in India and spent several years of her adult life in France before settling in England and eventually marrying Austen’s brother, Henry. Eliza provided a window into cultural differences and modeled a life free of the strictures of British conduct-book femininity for the young Austen. Similarly, in Persuasion, Sophia Croft’s presence in Anne Elliot’s social circles, where she displays assertive and atypical patterns of conversation, shows the younger woman that there is another way to think and live. Feminist critic Anne Mellor does use the given name “Sophia” when referring to Austen’s character; she also argues that the Crofts are better occupants of a country estate than the Elliots because they have the “practical wisdom and economic means to improve the state of Kellynch Hall.”27 Still, Mellor misses the Greek significance of the name, even though Sophia is clearly the member of the family who most embodies a fusion of Thomistic practical knowledge and higher wisdom. Anne first hears Sophia Croft described with admiration by Mr. Shepherd, a lawyer who has been trying to steward the diminishing wealth of Anne’s father, Sir Walter Elliot, by shepherding him toward more financially sound decisions. At the opening of Persuasion, wisdom is associated with forms of prudence that lead to effective financial stewardship, and Sir Walter is sadly lacking in such prudence. In her article “‘Where Does Discretion End and Avarice Begin?’ The Mercenary and the Prudent in Austen,” Marilyn Francus examines the fluctuating and fluid economic implications in Austen’s varied uses of the word “prudence.” In terms of Persuasion, Francus contrasts Sir Walter’s thoughtlessness with his daughter Anne’s cautious reflection, writing: Characters who are limited in their perspective—those who are intellectually complacent, who refuse to analyze their judgments—such as Mr. Collins, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Sir Walter Elliot, and John Thorpe, tend to be ridiculed in Austen. Characters who continuously and self-consciously evaluate complex social situations, like Elinor Dashwood and Anne Elliot, are valorized. Accordingly, I am positing that for Austen, judgment is ongoing and context dependent, but not value neutral.28 Anne is financially prudent from the beginning of the novel, but this prudence caused her to break her youthful engagement with Captain Wentworth, in

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accordance with the advice of Lady Russell. Austen reveals how an overextended false form of prudence exceeds the limits of virtue and warps into self-interest. She presents tactical shrewdness as, ultimately, a more realistic and effective form of wisdom than the fastidious distortions of false prudence. Anne’s decision not to marry Captain Wentworth due to his lack of an inheritance or a country estate leads to years of misery for her. As Francus astutely implies, Anne has cause to re-evaluate her earlier judgment when the still-single Captain Wentworth comes back into her life eight years later. Through free indirect discourse, Austen’s narrator notes Anne’s redefinition of her earlier “prudence” not as the cardinal virtue of wisdom but as an “over-anxious caution which seems to insult exertion and distrust Providence!” (P 32). Austen’s use of the theological term “Providence” is interesting here, suggesting how the cardinal virtue of wisdom must work in tandem with the theological virtue of faith, especially faith in God’s ability to provide for us if we take a risk out of love and trust. The narrator then reflects on Anne’s development over time, noting, “She had been forced into prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older” (P 32). Arguably, Anne learns both romance and shrewdness by watching the joyfully adventurous, lovingly married, and truly wise Sophia. Anne, through Sophia, comes to appreciate how wisdom can coincide with faith, hope, and love. In Persuasion, Austen creates an allegorical tale about how the constant example of loving wisdom, personified in Sophia Croft, can overcome the logical force of cold prudence, articulated by Lady Russell. Sophia’s role as a living allegorical embodiment of true wisdom begins when she is first described by the lawyer Mr. Shepherd. He explains that she was present the entire time he was negotiating the terms of Kellynch Hall’s rental with Admiral Croft and describes her as “a very well-spoken, genteel, shrewd lady” who “asked more questions about the house, and terms, and taxes, than the admiral himself, and seemed more conversant with business” (P 25). Austen therefore imbues Sophia with implied powers of Aristotelian rhetoric: she is an articulate negotiator in the world of business. The author also brings together the smoothness of the Burkean beautiful with the sharpness of the Burkean sublime by having Shepherd juxtapose the words “genteel” and “shrewd” in describing Sophia. The word “shrewd” originally carried negative connotations of shrewishness; it was only in the seventeenth century that it came to signify a savvy form of experiential wisdom, especially in economics. That said, by the time of Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary (1755), with which Austen would have been familiar, the adjective was still defined as “having the qualities of a shrew,” “troublesome,” “cunning,” and “dangerous.”29 The gendered implications of “shrew” itself, which Johnson defines as a “vexatious, turbulent woman,” may have displeased Austen.30 By giving a female character a Greek name synonymous with (divine) wisdom and then having another character admire her as “shrewd,” Austen imbues the adjective with a much more positive meaning. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the negative definitions of “shrewd” are now considered obsolete and have been rare since the mid-seventeenth century: the word now means “formidable,” “clever

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or keen-witted in practical affairs; astute or sagacious.”31 The late Victorian critic Leslie Stephen clearly had the latter definition in mind when he wrote of the eighteenth-century cosmopolitan traveler Lady Mary Wortley Montagu: “A distinguished leader of society, she was also a woman of shrewd intellect.”32 This comes very close to Austen’s use of the term in Persuasion to describe Sophia as an intellectually gifted woman who defies gender norms by frequently taking the lead within a loving and equitable marriage. Perhaps Austen’s statement about character contributed to the adjective’s shift in a direction more empowering to women by the late nineteenth century. Admiral Croft’s making way for Sophia’s wisdom is clear in the way she holds her own within the negotiations for renting Kellynch Hall and, later, in the way she literally holds the reins while they are driving in a carriage together. At one point, the route of the Crofts’ carriage ride intersects with a walking party that includes Anne, and Sophia kindly invites her to join them: “Do let us have the pleasure of taking you home. Here is excellent room for three, I assure you” (P 97). Anne is lifted into the carriage by Captain Wentworth, foreshadowing their eventual reconciliation, and she then receives an intimate view of the Crofts’ interpersonal dynamics as they drive together. At one point, while Admiral Croft is driving, they almost crash, and Sophia raises her voice to call out: “My dear admiral, that post!—we shall certainly take that post” (P 99). The narrator swiftly interjects: But by coolly giving the reins a better direction herself, they happily passed the danger; and by once afterwards judiciously putting out her hand, they neither fell into a rut, nor ran foul of a dung-cart; and Anne, with some amusement at their style of driving, which she imagined no bad representation of the general guidance of their affairs, found herself safely deposited by them at the cottage. (P 99) Although, according to Johnson’s definition of the term, a “shrewd” woman could be “dangerous,” Sophia’s keen perception, trust in her own judgment, and decisive action averts danger for not only herself but two others. The wisdom of her swift action is emphasized by the narrator’s approving use of the word “judiciously.” Austen’s narrator presents the story of this drive home as a parable or allegory. It symbolically represents Sophia’s leadership or “guidance” in her and Admiral Croft’s joint experience throughout their marriage, which has included tactical decisions necessary to surviving battles at sea. Austen implies, through the carriage-driving allegory, that Sophia has influenced the decisions of the commander of a fleet of ships and helped avert danger for hundreds of men. Given the classical and biblical connotations of Sophia’s name, this episode also serves as a broader parable regarding women’s social virtue. It illustrates how women’s wisdom, or sophia, could contribute to a “better direction” in public affairs for the wider polis (P 99).

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Through the ancient Greek associations of the noun “sophia,” paired with Sophia Croft’s international journeys by sea, Austen revisits the classical epic form of Homer’s Odyssey, where women do not appear as heroic decision-makers. Classicist R. Fowler notes how in ancient Greek literature: Women wait and suffer or are sacrificed or walled up, lure men to their deaths, turn into cows or kill their children; the choice is between Penelope and the Sirens, Iphigenia and Antigone, Io and Medea. The Muses inspire men, but they created nothing themselves. Classical literary modes and genres reflect only male experience: epic sings of arms and the man; satire is irremediably misogynistic; pastoral celebrates the brotherhood of poets.33 But classical Greek and Latin poems do occasionally provide some examples of female strength, wisdom, and dignity, even in Penelope of Homer’s Odyssey, who could have provided a model for the younger Anne Elliot as a woman who remains stoically faithful while her beloved engages in epic voyages and sea battles. Literature, both classical and biblical, can disprove Aristotelian or Burkean philosophical overgeneralizations with examples of characters who embody, enflesh, and expose the complexity of philosophical concepts. As previously noted, feminist biblical scholars have studied wisdom’s personification as female in the poetry of Hebrew scripture, especially in the Book of Proverbs and the Psalms, as well as the Book of Wisdom. The specific feminine noun “sophia” was used as the Greek translation of the Hebrew word for wisdom— “hokmah”—in the Septuagint version of Hebrew scripture.34 It also appears in the Koine Greek of the New Testament.35 In the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke, Hebrew and Greek concepts of wisdom coalesce in a personification of sophia as a maternal woman whose children vindicate her. According to Luke, Jesus Christ confronted the learned “Pharisees and lawyers” over their refusal to accept truth from unexpected sources, then stated, “wisdom [sophia] is justified of all her children.”36 Similarly, Matthew quotes Jesus as saying, “wisdom is justified of her children.”37 These verses imply that the maternal personification of sophia is vindicated by what is born forth from her, which if read allegorically could signify just action in the world emerging from wise, feminine deliberation. In New Testament theology, wisdom/sophia is also equated with Christ, so the “children” of sophia could signify the followers of Christ. Elizabeth A. Johnson notes, “the biblical depiction of Wisdom is itself consistently female, casting her as sister, mother, female beloved, chef and hostess, preacher, judge, liberator, establisher of justice, and a myriad of other female roles.”38 In Luke’s and Matthew’s Gospels, we see the personified sophia vindicated by her followers or “children”; similarly, in Persuasion, Austen’s Sophia Croft is affirmed when Anne Elliot follows her example. During the centuries between the events of the New Testament and the composition of Austen’s novels, wisdom continued to be personified as female in texts bridging the classical, biblical, and medieval worlds, such as Boethius’s

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Consolation of Philosophy (523). In the middle of the medieval period, the abbess St. Hildegard of Bingen painted allegorical word pictures of Wisdom, writing: Wisdom also distributes in this reflected shadow all things in equal measure … In herself and through herself she established all things with gentle kindness, and these no enemy can destroy, for she oversees with excellence the beginning and the end of her works, all of which she appointed to reign also with her. She looked upon her work, which she had set in order and right proportion in the shadow of the living water.39 Seeing Sophia Croft as a re-vision of such biblical and medieval personifications —which portray Wisdom as a woman who mentors, directs, and brings order— lifts Austen’s Sophia from her position as a minor character, “Mrs. Croft,” to an absolutely central figure in an allegorical tale about how the virtue of steady, enduring, and caring female wisdom can overcome the persuasive force of Aristotelian rhetoric. Austen would have imbibed knowledge of classical Greek vocabulary, poetry, and philosophy from her two brothers, as well as her father, all of whom received Oxford educations en route to serving as leaders in the Church of England. It was common for women to learn this way, via familial connections, up to the early twentieth century. For instance, as Fowler explains in her work on women and classical education, Virginia Woolf initially encountered the Greek tradition through a sort of osmosis during her brother Thoby’s first visit home from boarding school. Fowler deploys Persuasion to claim Austen “refuted” any “false analogy” in the Greek worldview between the weakness of women’s minds and the weakness of their bodies, via Anne Elliot’s debate on constancy with Captain Harville.40 In this episode, however, it is the strength of women’s and men’s love that is contended, rather than the strength of their respective intellectual capacities. In Austen’s narrative, Harville claims men’s love is stronger, and therefore lasts longer, because they are physically stronger than women. Anne cleverly qualifies his claim by pointing out that though women may be more “tender” they are also “longerlived,” as are their emotional attachments (P 253). In her defense of women’s constant and ongoing love, Anne presents female physical strength not as a single burst of force but rather as endurance over long periods of time. Though Anne Elliot is not speaking of women’s capacity for classical education in her dialogue with Captain Harville, one can see why Fowler alludes to Austen’s defense of women’s enduring strength via Anne, since this form of sustained fortitude over many years is also necessary for application in study. Interestingly, the other female character who defends women’s physical strength in terms of endurance over time in Persuasion is Sophia Croft, who does so much earlier in the novel. Austen, by placing the narrative’s initial protofeminist rebuttal to a naval officer’s underestimation of women’s fortitude in the mouth of Sophia, and then having it echoed by Anne, suggests her heroine has

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been learning from the older woman’s wisdom. When Wentworth asserts that women’s need for “personal comfort” precludes them from sea travel, his blanket gender stereotype brings “his sister upon him” (P 74): that is, Sophia launches into an intense verbal counterattack. She is clearly perturbed by her brother’s misapprehension that women are too physically frail to endure lengthy transatlantic travel. Drawing on her experience of sailing with Admiral Croft in international waters, on five different ships, she insists: “Women may be as comfortable on board, as in the best house in England. I believe I have lived as much on board as most women, and I know nothing superior to the accommodations of a man of war” (P 74). Here, Austen aligns Sophia Croft’s shrewdness, or mental toughness, with an adaptable bodily resilience, or physical toughness. When Sophia’s physical appearance is first described, she does come across as remarkably sea-hardy. The narrator describes Mrs. Croft, but it is a moment of free indirect discourse, conveying Anne’s perceptions, who is sitting close by the older woman at the time. The narrator specifies: “Mrs. Croft fell to the share of Anne, while the admiral sat by Mary.” From her close vantage point, Anne is “well able to watch for a likeness” between Sophia Croft and her brother, with whom Anne is still in love (P 52). After this reference to the quietly observant Anne studying Sophia, we are provided with a visual description of a woman who had a squareness, uprightness, and vigour of form, which gave importance to her person. She had bright dark eyes, good teeth, and altogether an agreeable face; though her reddened and weather-beaten complexion, the consequence of her having been almost as much at sea as her husband, made her seem to have lived some years longer in the world than her real eight and thirty. Her manners were open, easy, and decided, like one who had no distrust of herself, and no doubts of what to do; without any approach to coarseness, however, or any want of good humour. (P 52) Sophia here gives the impression of someone who could command the attention of a room, or a crew at sea. Austen implies she has the broad, square shoulders of an athlete. Her “uprightness” and vigor convey confidence and assertiveness but also ethical integrity. It was common in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries to speak of someone’s moral uprightness. Yet, Sophia does not take herself too seriously, and her humor helps Austen to avoid slipping into moral didacticism. Sophia’s good teeth suggest a healthy level of self-care, so she is virtuous but not unhealthily self-sacrificial. The reader can see Sophia enjoys life to the fullest even as she exuberantly loves and cares for those around her. In both her demeanor and her character, Sophia Croft exhibits the cardinal virtues of fortitude, wisdom, and courage, all at once, but not at all in an overly serious or grim way. She also embodies Aristotle’s fourth cardinal virtue—temperance—in her

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guidance of others. The power of these virtues in Sophia is itself tempered by humility, evidenced by her good humor, and it does not make her overconfident or arrogant. However, the strength of her ethical integrity does allow her to trust her own judgments and discernment. Twenty-first-century philosopher Linda Zagzebski defines “self-trust” as an intellectual virtue related to religious faith.41 In showing no “distrust of herself,” Sophia is bolstered by her own integrity but also, and ultimately, by her trust in God (P 52). This is what gives her the courage to travel into potentially dangerous waters around the globe and guide others back to the safe harbor of home. She states of her international voyages with the admiral: “While we were together there was nothing to be feared. Thank God! I have always been blessed with excellent health, and no climate disagrees with me” (76). Sophia here emphasizes that she is thanking God for sustaining her health via her use of the word “blessed”;42 she is not using the expression “Thank God!” disingenuously. In understated but powerful, Austenian style, Sophia’s faith is expressed very subtly, but it has been strong enough to launch her out into international waters. Reflecting the logical, as well as the biblical, tradition behind her Greek name, Sophia is also a defender of clear-sighted and balanced rational process over thoughtless action or quick assumptions. Austen affirms the value placed on reason in Greek philosophy, when in Pride and Prejudice the heroine Elizabeth Bennet asks the ridiculous clergyman Mr. Collins to see her “as a rational creature speaking the truth from her heart.”43 Readers could see this statement as a valorization of Enlightenment reason, but if Elizabeth Bennet had claimed to be a “rational intellect speaking the truth from her mind,” she would have come closer to the premises of a late eighteenth-century philosopher such as Immanuel Kant. The idea of speaking truth from one’s heart resonates with Greek Orthodox theology, which presents thought coming from “the mind of the heart”—or, in Greek, “nous”—rather than from a disembodied intellect. This practice has scriptural roots: “Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”44 This line from the Gospel of St. Luke prompts us to ask: what does it mean to ponder with one’s heart instead of one’s mind? The pre-Enlightenment theological use of the phrase “rational creature” emphasizes reason as embodied in particular, affective creatures, dependent on their Creator, rather than existing in an autonomous and transcendent mind. Though “rational creature” appears in the work of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century writers, such as John Locke and Jonathan Swift, it has older, pre-Reformation roots traceable back to the eleventhcentury English theologian St. Anselm of Canterbury. When Austen deploys the term in Pride and Prejudice, she reminds her readers of earlier—pre-Enlightenment and pre-Reformation—theological ideas, even as she simultaneously affirms women’s capacity for wisdom and leadership. Via Sophia Croft in Persuasion, Austen then reintroduces the phrase “rational creature” as an intertextual allusion to her own earlier work, forming a bridge between Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. In both textual contexts, the phrase is spoken by an unconventional female character in defense of women’s dignity,

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against dismissingly condescending stereotypes of false or frail femininity perpetuated within the ranks of the clergy and the navy, respectively. In Persuasion, Sophia counters her own naval brother’s thin cloaking of prejudice in the garb of gallantry by exclaiming: “I hate to hear you talking so, like a fine gentleman, and as if all women were fine ladies, instead of rational creatures. We none of us expect to be in smooth waters all our days” (P 75; emphasis added). There is a shift in the female character’s truth claim from Austen’s second novel to her last. Elizabeth Bennet defends her own, individual identity as a “rational creature,” whereas Sophia Croft, as an allegorical personification of female wisdom more generally, speaks for “all women.” The latter functions as a sort of everywoman figure within Austen’s revisionist reboot of medieval allegory. Sophia’s wisdom is admired again through the observant eyes of Anne when the paths of the two women converge once more in the city of Bath: Anne is residing with her family in the city when the Crofts travel there on the advice of a physician. Seeking recovery for Admiral Croft’s health, they spend most of their days walking in the fresh air. This humble, frugal, and practical action of walking is a sign of Sophia’s physical vigor and love for her husband. The narrator explains: “He was ordered to walk, to keep off the gout, and Mrs. Croft seemed to go shares with him in everything, and to walk for her life, to do him good. Anne saw them wherever she went” (P 183). Anne appears fixated on the Crofts at this point. Amidst the frivolities of her family’s life in Bath, the “country habit” of the Crofts’ companionable walking is refreshing to her (P 182). As she watches them walk the streets and connect with other naval officers, Anne notes that Sophia Croft holds her own amongst them. Again through free indirect discourse, the narrator explains that Anne delights to see the Admiral’s hearty shake of the hand when he encountered an old friend, and observe their eagerness of conversation when occasionally forming into a little knot of the navy, Mrs. Croft looking as intelligent and as keen as any of the officers around her. (P 183) This is as clear and direct a claim for women’s intellectual equality with men as Austen ever makes. After a long meditation on women’s wisdom through the aptly named Sophia, Austen shows how she, like her character, can humbly laugh at herself through another piece of free indirect discourse toward the novel’s end. As we near the narrative’s conclusion, Anne ponders Wentworth’s self-contradictory and seemingly impulsive behavior, wondering if he still loves her, while she walks with her cousin Mr. Elliot. The latter speaks, but Anne cannot attend to the details of what he says as she ruminates over Wentworth’s mysterious actions. The narrator admits, “she could not be quite herself” (P 193), and continues, “She hoped to be wise and reasonable in time; but alas! alas! she must confess to herself that she was not wise

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yet” (P 193). In a beautiful comic twist toward the end of her narrative arc, Austen does not undercut her defense of women’s wisdom but reminds us that such reasonable sophia needs to come with time, and experience, for fallible human creatures. She suggests shrewdness, or tactical and judicious detachment, would be somehow inappropriate in this moment when the relatively young Anne is mulling over Wentworth’s actions with a not insignificant degree of passionate hope. We know, however, if Anne marries Captain Wentworth, partly due to his sister’s defense of women’s sea-hardiness, she will most likely find herself launching out on oceanic voyages that will indeed grant her poise and cosmopolitan wisdom. Unlike Homer’s Penelope, Anne will not continue to wait patiently and prudently while the hero experiences adventures at sea. She will join the hero, and occasionally guide him, as Sophia has with Admiral Croft. Austen’s Persuasion, her last completed novel, does not wrap up neatly; rather, it leaves readers with more questions than answers. Some of these questions are hopeful. Will Anne experience adventures at sea and, like Sophia, gain a savvy, witty, and judicious shrewdness with time? Will she travel as far as India, or even China, in epic sea voyages with Captain Wentworth? Such questions are exciting and suggest Austen was breaking away from the rural world of the British country estate, at least in her imagination, in her final work. Persuasion also leaves readers with more unsettling questions, however. At the end of the novel, one of the first joint actions of economic shrewdness in which Captain and Anne Wentworth engage is the restoration of Mrs. Smith’s fortune. This action appears as a form of social justice for the widowed, ailing, and impoverished Mrs. Smith, but the Smith family fortune has been amassed in the West Indies, which suggests it has roots in the practices of slavery. Despite Britain’s abolition of the slave trade 1807, slavery remained legal in the British West Indies until 1833. Did Austen expect contemporary readers to picture Sophia Croft remembering slavery’s abuses when she mentions her time in Bermuda and the Bahamas? Did Austen want readers to imagine Admiral Croft patrolling Atlantic waters and apprehending mariners engaged in now-illegal human trafficking, as her brother Charles had done? If so, why does she neglect to mention the transatlantic slave trade in Persuasion, especially as she had included a reference to it three years previously in Mansfield Park? 45 Readers may wonder if Sophia Croft’s shrewdness and judiciousness would have included tactical action on behalf of the anti-slavery campaign. This is left as an open and unresolved possibility.

Notes 1 Virginia Woolf, “On Not Knowing Greek,” in The Common Reader, First Series, ed. Andrew McNeillie (Boston: Mariner Books, 2002), 23–38. 2 Montague Pennington, Memoirs of the Life of Mrs. Elizabeth Carter, with a new edition of her poems, some of which have never appeared before; to which are added, some miscellaneous essays in prose, together with her notes on the Bible, and answers to objections concerning the Christian Religion (London: F. C. and J. Rivington, 1807), 9.

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3 Jane Austen, Persuasion, ed. Janet Todd and Antje Blank, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 25. All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text. 4 George Austen, “Letter to Francis Austen, December 1788,” as reproduced in John H. Hubback and Edith C. Hubback, Jane Austen’s Sailor Brothers: Being the Adventures of Sir Francis Austen, G.C.B., Admiral of the Fleet and Rear-Admiral Charles Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 18. 5 “Sophia” in The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon, www.biblestudytools.com/lex icons/greek/nas/sophia.html. 6 Jacques Derrida, “Différance,” in Deconstruction in Context, ed. Mark C. Taylor (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), 397. 7 Ibid., 409. 8 Hildegard von Bingen, The Book of Divine Works, trans. Nathaniel M. Campbell (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2018), 34; Sylvia Shroer, Wisdom Has Built Her House: Studies on the Figures of Sophia in the Bible, trans. Linda M. Maloney and William McDonoguh (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2000), 34; Elizabeth Johnson, She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse (New York: Crossroad, 1992), 19. 9 For example, Schroer, 56, references 2 Samuel 20:16. 10 Joseph Karbowski, “Aristotle on the Deliberative Abilities of Women,” Aspeiron: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science 47, no. 4 (2014), 438. 11 Ibid., 441. 12 Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful (London: Routledge, 1958), 113. 13 Ibid., 110. 14 Ibid., 111. 15 Ibid., 110. 16 Mary Wollstonecraft, The Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, ed. Janet Todd and Marilyn Butler (London: William Pickering, 1989), 5: 45–46. 17 Ibid., 5: 45. 18 Ibid., 5: 46; emphasis added. 19 Burke, 68. 20 Wollstonecraft, 5: 84. For further analysis of the relationship between Wollstonecraft’s virtue ethics and Austen’s, see Natasha Duquette, “‘A Very Pretty Amber Cross’: Sources of Elegance in Mansfield Park,” in Art and Artifact in Jane Austen, ed. Anna Battigelli (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2020), 146–164. 21 Sheila Johnson Kindred, Jane Austen’s Trans-Atlantic Sister: The Life and Letters of Fanny Palmer Austen (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017), 194, 198, 195. 22 Sarah Emsley, Jane Austen’s Philosophy of the Virtues (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), 10. 23 Ibid., 2. 24 Jocelyn Harris, Satire, Celebrity, and Politics in Jane Austen (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2017), 262. 25 Allison Sulloway, Jane Austen and the Province of Womanhood (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989), 4. 26 Kwame Anthony Appiah, Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (New York: W. W. Norton, 2010), 85. 27 Anne K. Mellor, “The Politics of Fiction,” in Mothers of the Nation: Women’s Political Writing in England, 1780–1830, ed. Anne Mellor (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000), 131. 28 Marilyn Francus, “‘Where Does Discretion End and Avarice Begin?’ The Mercenary and the Prudent in Austen,” Persuasions 34 (2012): 58.

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29 Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language (London: Knapton et al., 1755), s. v. “shrewd.” 30 Ibid., s.v. “shrew.” 31 Oxford English Dictionary (2nd edition) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), s.v. “shrewd.” 32 Leslie Stephen, Alexander Pope (London: Macmillan and Co., 1880), 102. 33 R. Fowler, “‘On Not Knowing Greek’: The Classic and the Woman of Letters,” Classical Journal 78, no. 4 (1983), 338. 34 Edwin Hatch et al., eds., “Sophia,” in A Concordance to the Septuagint and Other Greek Versions of the Old Testament (Including the Apocryphal Books) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1897), 2: 1278–1279. 35 James Strong, ed., “Wisdom,” in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1984), 1222. 36 Luke 7:30, 7:35. All citations of scripture in this essay are from the King James Version of the Bible with which Austen would have been familiar. 37 Matthew 11:19. 38 E. Johnson, 90. 39 Bingen, 388–389. 40 Fowler, 339. 41 Linda Zagzebski, “Trust, Anti-Trust, and Reasons for Religious Belief,” in Religious Faith and Intellectual Virtue, ed. Laura Frances Callahan and Timothy O’Connor (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 231. 42 Thanks are due to my research assistant Madelyn Davis for helping me see this exclamation as a subtle statement of Sophia Croft’s faith in God. I would also like to thank Grace O’Brien for reading an early draft of this essay and encouraging me to persevere. 43 Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, ed. Pat Rogers, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 122. 44 Luke 2:19. 45 Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, ed. John Wiltshire, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 231.

Bibliography Appiah, Kwame Anthony. Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers. New York: W. W. Norton, 2010. Austen, Jane. Mansfield Park. Edited by John Wiltshire. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Austen, Jane. Persuasion. Edited by Janet Todd and Antje Blank. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Edited by Pat Rogers. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Bingen, Hildegard von. The Book of Divine Works. Translated by Nathaniel M. Campbell. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2018. Burke, Edmund. A Philosophical Enquiry into our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful. London: Routledge, 1958. Derrida, Jacques. “Différance.” In Deconstruction in Context, edited by Mark C. Taylor, 396–420. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986. Duquette, Natasha. “‘A Very Pretty Amber Cross’: Sources of Elegance in Mansfield Park.” In Art and Artifact in Austen, edited by Anna Battigelli, 146–164. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2020. Emsley, Sarah. Jane Austen’s Philosophy of the Virtues. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

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Fowler, R. “‘On Not Knowing Greek’: The Classics and the Woman of Letters.” Classical Journal 78, no. 4 (1983): 337–349. Francus, Marilyn. “‘Where Does Discretion End and Avarice Begin?’ The Mercenary and the Prudent in Austen.” Persuasions 34 (2012): 57–70. Harris, Jocelyn. Satire, Celebrity, and Politics in Jane Austen. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2017. Hatch, Edwinet al., eds. “Sophia.” In A Concordance to the Septuagint and Other Greek Versions of the Old Testament (Including the Apocryphal Books), Vol. 2: 1278–1279. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1897. Hubback, John H. and Edith C. Hubback. Jane Austen’s Sailor Brothers: Being the Adventures of Sir Francis Austen, G.C.B., Admiral of the Fleet and Rear-Admiral Charles Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Johnson, Elizabeth. She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse. New York: Crossroad, 1992. Johnson, Samuel. A Dictionary of the English Language. 2 vols. London: Knapton et al., 1755. Johnson Kindred, Sheila. Jane Austen’s Transatlantic Sister: The Life and Letters of Fanny Palmer Austen. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017. Karbowski, Joseph. “Aristotle on the Deliberative Abilities of Women.” Apeiron: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science 47, no. 4 (2014): 435–446. Lane, Maggie. Jane Austen’s Family through Five Generations. London: Robert Hale, 1992. Mellor, Anne K. “The Politics of Fiction.” In Mothers of the Nation: Women’s Political Writing in England, 1780–1830, edited by Anne K. Mellor, 103–141. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000. Oxford English Dictionary (2nd edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. Pennington, Montagu. Memoirs of the Life of Mrs. Elizabeth Carter, with a new edition of her poems, some of which have never appeared before; to which are added, some miscellaneous essays in prose, together with her notes on the Bible, and answers to objections concerning the Christian Religion. London: F. C. and J. Rivington, 1807. Schroer, Sylvia. Wisdom has Built her House: Studies on the Figure of Sophia in the Bible. Translated by Linda M.Maloney and William McDonough. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2000. “Sophia.” In The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon. www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/ greek/nas/sophia.html. Stephen, Leslie. Alexander Pope. London: Macmillan and Co., 1880. Strong, James, ed. “Wisdom.” In Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, 1222. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1984. Sulloway, Alison. Jane Austen and the Province of Womanhood. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989. Wollstonecraft, Mary. The Works of Mary Wollstonecraft. Edited by Janet Todd and Marilyn Butler. 7 vols. London: William Pickering, 1989. Woolf, Virginia. “On Not Knowing Greek.” In The Common Reader, First Series. Edited by Andrew MacNeillie, 23–38. Boston: Mariner Books, 2002. Zagzebski, Linda. “Trust, Anti-Trust, and Reasons for Religious Belief.” In Religious Faith and Intellectual Virtue, edited by Laura Frances Callahan and Timothy O’Connor, 231–245. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.


The Known and the Possible in Austen


It has been something of a Romantic hobby, if not a hobby horse, for readers to “cancel” Fanny Price, that “odious figure, who continually serves notice that the masochist, in her unrivaled capacity to endure pain, will invariably prevail in a given situation,” as William Galperin trenchantly remarks. Her masochism is second only to her status as a “fully formed ethical subject” whose “material and temporal progress is disjointed from her moral development, which essentially precedes the narrative and from which all other developments and actions in the novel are largely an apostasis.”1 Long is the retinue of commentators puzzling out why Fanny is so dislikable or horrible or monstrous, whether as a masochist whose self-harm has turned into a perverse badge of courage, a “monstrous” other with “jealous hunger” to cannibalize and infiltrate British domesticity, or a mirror of the “grateful negro” who serves to critique the trope of racial gratitude.2 Ironically, this tendency to dislike Fanny for her recalcitrance to modernity or for her imperial complicity reproduces the novel’s very structure of abjection and shaming self-imprisonment, with the reader taking the place of Mrs. Norris. Fanny always appears in retrograde, whether she figures the fallen “ancient forms” of the “monstrous and marginal” that nevertheless haunt Romantic modernity or whether she projects the emblem of a (rigid and dystopic) Victorian future that has foreclosed other possibilities. Part of what critics despise is this resistance to progress. Fanny’s being—her principle and cause, to use Aristotelian terms—amounts to her resistance to change, both characterological and allegorical. She, in other words, represents the failed bourgeois Bildungsroman; captive to a subjectivity defined by change, development, and actuation, Fanny is indeed a failure. Such an understanding of being is, I want to suggest, ideologically married to modernity’s obsession with capital growth, the development of bourgeois educated domesticity (i.e., “accomplishments”), the novel’s increasing marketization DOI: 10.4324/9781003181309-12

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entailing readerly identification, and, above all, the privilege of white subjectivity. This essay asks what happens when we consider Fanny’s being not from the position of its fallen-ness or thrown-ness—that is, not from the point of view of her failure to change as is expected for the modern subject. Mansfield Park reveals Jane Austen as an arch-ontologist, foregrounding how assumptions about being had become entangled with the Enlightenment always-developing subject. Fanny, in fact, does change, but not in ways admitted by ideologies of the capitalist-novelistic subject. For she is an object for much of the novel, and as such she redraws our understanding of change, of being, of subjects and objects, and, finally, of how we come to know all of those in relation. As Patricia Matthew has exhorted us, Fanny circulates as an emblem of the double failures of a British economic system that objectifies both women and slaves at once, though unequally.3 As a figure of captivity, Fanny alludes to—but pointedly does not represent and cannot converse with—the enslaved Africans on which both her comforts and her imprisonment depend. As an object in traffic among men and women of the colonial gentry, she represents women as objects that may be able to change their status, yet without becoming subjects or fully fledged beings. As they do so, their changes likewise redraw systems of Western ontology. Austen’s explorations of objects may come to a head in Mansfield Park, but they emerge from Northanger Abbey’s Gothic obsession with castles and laundry lists as well as Sense and Sensibility’s meditations on Marianne’s illness and Elinor’s stoic inertia. Mansfield Park, even more than those earlier novels, fully questions Western ontology by posing an immense skepticism of being as a category available to either women or slaves. It does so through offering “paratactic” accounts of being (and non-being); Austen juxtaposes the object status or non-being for women and for slaves separately, without seeking to analogize or make them commensurate. While Austen does not speak for speculative futures for black existence, she does provide an alternative epistemology for other ways of becoming for women, ways that depend not on substance or actuality but rather on the possibilities of projecting alternate forms of inhabiting the future. Fanny’s infamous declaration “No, indeed, I cannot act” is articulated in a landscape of other comments about her ontological status as well as her connections to other people and objects.4 Rather than, say, instigating us to ask what kind of sexual or ethical subject Fanny represents, the novel may, in fact, be questioning Fanny’s status as human or as a subject at all. While Mrs. Norris considers Fanny “ungrateful” on account of her reluctance to participate in the play-acting of Lovers’ Vows, Fanny, as Galperin notes, reaps a great deal of psychic pain from not joining in the action, and we might do well to take her ontological status as a wallflower quite literally: Every body around her was gay and busy, prosperous and important, each had their object of interest, their part, their dress, their favourite scene, their friends and confederates, all were finding employment in consultations and

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comparisons, or diversion in the playful conceits they suggested. She alone was sad and insignificant; she had no share in any thing; she might go or stay, she might be in the midst of their noise, or retreat from it to the solitude of the east room, without being seen or missed. She could think almost any thing would have been preferable to this. (MP 187; emphasis added) Fanny’s separation from the bustle of the family’s group project reverberates her lack of shared intimacy with her cousins, but it also pointedly highlights her separation not just from other people but from other things: “she had no share in any thing.” She retreats to the east room, to commune with the “nest of comforts,” which holds the series of objects that she has collected: a faded foot-stool, three transparencies, a collection of family profiles, her plants, her books, her writing desk, and, infamously, no fire to speak of (MP 141). Here, “Every thing was a friend, or bore her thoughts to a friend” (MP 140). This dynamic, between having “no share in any thing” and having a group of things that are friends, intimates Austen’s thinking about things and beings—and about how things might change into beings and vice versa. This language brings to mind current debates among theorists of the ontological turn about the nature of things and, consequently, theories of change. In her essay for Object Oriented Feminism, Katherine Behar summarizes a basic tenet of Graham Harman’s object-oriented ontology, which “sees objects as disconnected and sealed off from each other.”5 Our anthropocentrism, despite the skepticism about sensory data or a priori reasoning, has us believing that we can know objects. Yet, their withdrawn nature, Timothy Morton explains, “cannot be thought as distancing in space or time. Withdrawal rather underscores the unspeakable suchness of a thing … an intimacy or proximity that makes a thing impossible to access because it is too close.”6 All objects, including humans, says Morton, “are riven from within between what they are and how they appear”; in other words, “I am coconstituted by the idea of me, which is in a loop with actual me.”7 Such a “rift” or “deviance” should be familiar to Romanticists, Morton argues, through the philosophy of David Hume and Immanuel Kant. As Hume argued that our understanding of the world derives from sense data, which itself is incomplete and subject to rifts in human consciousness, Kant doubled-down on this empirical skepticism by arguing that all human epistemological evidence (via the appearance of sense data) cannot truly access the “real thing.” Fanny demonstrates such withdrawnness from others and from oneself as an ontological status that is necessarily tied to an epistemological problem. She is withdrawn from the frenzy of activity and connection heightened, if not initiated, by the scenes of Lovers’ Vows. She is less withdrawn, though still deviant, from the objects in the east room, which seem to figure Fanny’s separation from other humans. If she communes with these objects, in assemblage with them, they also represent her alienation from other spheres of human interaction to which she has

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no access, or of which she has no knowledge, except through mediation by those objects: reading via books or looking via transparencies, much like the creature’s voyeuristic education in Frankenstein. Yet, rather than categorize such difference and withdrawal as monstrous alienation, as Auerbach does, we might consider Austen thinking through the categories of the human, nonhuman, and, as we shall see, inhuman. As a withdrawn object more easily conversant, in limited ways, with other objects, Fanny’s being suggests the possibility of a real or allegorical transformation from an object. Moreover, we might understand Fanny’s withdrawal as a resistance to the assumption of being known by her appearance, her actions, or any assumptions about her substance (her biological materiality or her ethical essence). When Mary Crawford asks, “is she out, or is she not?” and Edmund finally determines that she is not “out,” since she stays home with Lady Bertram, Fanny’s status depends on her lack of circulation with those outside her family in public but likewise a paucity of “confidence” and fallen-ness into the world (MP 56). As Tom Bertram describes Miss Anderson in the ensuing conversation about “outs” and “not outs”: “She came up to me, claimed me as an acquaintance, stared me out of countenance, and talked and laughed till I did not know which way to look” (MP 58). Women’s sociability offers them as sensible, empirical subjects who exude their beings for approval or rejection by eligible Bertram bachelors; they offer themselves to the world to be known. Fanny’s modesty as well as her refusal to perform lovers’ vows (either within or outside the play) marks her as epistemologically closed off from the world of Mansfield Park—and from Austen readers. Behar argues that such withdrawal presents a feminist resistance to ideologies that demand interaction, especially on the part of women. For Behar, both Harman and new materialism, such as Jane Bennett’s notions of “vibrant matter” confederated in assemblages, privilege liveliness and connectivity. Although Harman’s withdrawn object would seem to live in isolation and disconnected from others, even in his attempt to explain how these discrete objects enter into relation, Behar argues, “some form of influence must remain possible.” Such “concession to connection betrays a preference for lively objects,” she suggests.8 This critique includes skepticism about an object’s “plasticity” (both Catherine Malabou’s account of brain plasticity and new materialist accounts of networked activity) as well as what Behar calls “vivophilia”—the idea that everything may be an actant “in some significant way, as alive as I am.”9 In its place, she offers an alternative support for “necrophilia” or ethical withdrawal: Flexibility is the harmful, neoliberal sensibility that I have identified as being perpetuated by vivophilia’s imperative to form creative, generative alliances; to network the self; to increase the object’s power; to participate in the model. Its necessary counterpart is destruction. There is no polite way to refuse the compulsory form of the network.10

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Read through Behar’s insistence on necrophilia as an ethical resistance to neoliberal compulsory participation, Fanny’s refusal to act would seem to be a critique of the cult of sensibility that is different from that of Sense and Sensibility. Rather than worrying over women’s exaggerated, clichéd, and obsessed identification with overwhelming feeling, here Austen rejects sensibility’s specular and performative nature that is meant to draw women and men into an echo chamber of responsive intimacy. Fanny’s reticence and alleged stasis as a conservative character actually present a larger rejection of a culture that not only polices action but demands both acting and interactivity. Despite the valorization of not acting as a potentially positive ontological condition, Austen does not, in the end, underwrite such a severe objecthood. Rather, this withdrawn being becomes a starting point to identify Fanny’s object status and to reveal how she might transform into a different sort of thing, yet still not entirely a human being—for Fanny cannot remain withdrawn for very long at Mansfield Park. Not only do both Edmund and Mary Crawford entangle Fanny as a triangulated third in their tête-à-tête, but everyone makes use of her during their play practices: “She was occasionally useful to all; she was perhaps as much at peace as any” (MP 154). Useful as she always is to Mrs. Norris for running errands and to Lady Bertram in reading, sewing, and generally keeping company, Fanny cannot remain isolated. She soon becomes an object with a use value variously defined by its users. Forced into action and activity, Fanny might figure what Harman calls “various causation”: “a complex system of allure and all-enveloping, third-party intentions, which allows him to explain how sealed objects may enter into relations after all.”11 Those third parties that generate various intentions, attractions, or differences draw objects—even those most withdrawn—into relation, and by doing so open the potentiality for change. Fanny becomes markedly less withdrawn—perhaps by volition or perhaps not— when William comes to Mansfield Park, and his appearance marks quite a change in her status as a withdrawn object. His presence turns her into some thing imbued with what Bennett calls “thing power” or “the curious ability of inanimate things to animate, to act, to produce effects dramatic and subtle.”12 When Henry Crawford first attempts to gain knowledge of William’s whereabouts, despite the way it entangles her with his mazy intentions, Fanny is grateful for his attempts: “for she was elevated beyond the common timidity of her mind by the flow of her love for William” (MP 215). This flow of affect bespeaks an emotional and material gush not only for William but with him. Fanny had never known so much felicity in her life, as in this unchecked, equal fearless intercourse with her brother and friend, who was opening all his heart to her, telling her all his hopes and fears, plans, and solicitudes. (MP 217) Such fearless intercourse flows both ways, as William communicates all his feelings and plans, so Fanny becomes a vibrant thing that invites and animates

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such intercourse and is enlivened by it in turn. Henry is affected similarly as he observes: with lively admiration, the glow of Fanny’s cheek, the brightness of her eye, the deep interest, the absorbed attention, while her brother was describing any of the imminent hazards, or terrific scenes, which such a period, at sea, must supply. (MP 218) It is at this moment of vivophilia that Henry begins to fall in love with Fanny: She had feeling, genuine feeling. It would be something to be loved by such a girl, to excite the first ardours of her young, unsophisticated mind! She interested him more than he had foreseen. A fortnight was not enough. His stay became indefinite. (MP 218) A reading of this sequence that assumes some sort of linear causality, or passing along of emotion, from William to Fanny to Henry, or even one that considers this triad to be a Sedgwickian triangle where Fanny becomes the conduit for a sailorly queer love between Henry and William, where William replaces Henry’s vexed abandonment by his father and then the Admiral, would assume there to be human agency (subconscious or not) at the heart of these exchanges. Yet, we need to remember that Fanny, having first been an isolated object and then one recognized only by her use value, has, more significantly, made the transition from object-oriented ontology’s isolated “object” to Bennett’s “thing.” She exists as an actant now renovated by an affect that transfers among people (men) and objects (women) “beyond human bodies and intersubjective fields to vital materialities and the human–nonhuman assemblages they form,” as Bennett writes.13 Such traveling, shared affects transform both subjects and objects into things or actants, which are motivated and altered less by choice, rationality, or volition than by those very shared, autonomous affects. Fanny’s own vibrant flow engenders Henry’s movement within a shared field of activity: interested in William’s success, he curries favor with the Admiral; interested in Fanny’s entire assemblage, he visits Portsmouth. His flair for improvement entangles both his estate and, eventually, his dependents as well: He had introduced himself to some tenants, whom he had never seen before, he had begun making acquaintance with cottages whose very existence, though on his own estate, had been hitherto unknown to him. This was aimed, and well-aimed, at Fanny. (MP 376)

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His newly formed noblesse oblige to the “poor and oppressed” might be read as something of a pitch for sympathy under solipsistic cover. Fanny, reviewing the visit and finding him “altogether improved,” considers him “much more gentle, obliging, and attentive to other people’s feelings” (MP 377). Certainly, such improvements could be read as symptoms of Henry’s reformation at the behest of Fanny’s domestic improvement;14 a wider view would take them to be something more catholic, circulating through the various estates, houses, people, ships and shipyards, east rooms, people, and people-as-objects. Such “impersonal affect,” Bennett argues, circulates or binds together assemblages made of humans and nonhumans as they vibrate at the same frequency.15 Fanny’s ontological turn helps to foreground her shift from withdrawn object to more vibrant thing, now with the capability of affecting others, along however slight or momentary (in the case of Henry Crawford) lines of flight. Although Crawford is most often associated with inconstancy, change, and the ability to act multiple parts while Fanny is “a more consistent character” than even Edmund, there is much to be gleaned by an investigation into how or why Fanny’s ontological status changes while neither Henry’s nor Edmund’s does.16 If they are all in assemblage together, then how or why is it that one of them changes the nature of her being more than the others? In Bennett’s thin discussion of distributive agency, individuals can be held accountable yet “the [bike] rider is but one actant operative in the moving whole.”17 She does mention “corporate regulation” and the idea that ethics “resides in one’s response to the assemblage in which one finds oneself participating.”18 For Bennett, change comes with corporate regulation (contractarian or autocratic?) and with the election or removal of oneself (or a thing?) from one assemblage or another. Perhaps the most obvious answer would be that it is William’s “living attention,” as Teresa Brennan terms it,19 which revivifies Fanny and places her back into vibrant assemblage with other things, not necessarily as a subject in the Western Enlightenment sense but in the sense of being an actant with tensile connections to other things and people. His transmission of affect affects Fanny by encouraging her own affects in response. It is a response that has room to be and become through sisterly receptivity and delight; there seems to be less Foucauldian regulation (or discursive oppression and resistance) between them than there is within the walls of Mansfield Park, even within the safe space of the east room. At the same time, William’s professional narrative emplots him as a biopolitical subject within a nationalistic imaginary, and in doing so enmeshes Fanny within such reproductive futurity as the domestic half of an imperial crew. The arrival of William therefore activates Henry’s own understanding of Fanny as a biopolitical subject, a possible conduit for the reproduction of his own domestic tranquility, a vision that rejuvenates her as part of the Mansfield assemblage. She becomes, either by his attention or by the withdrawals of Maria and Julia, capable of spreading and reproducing life.

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Either way, the existence of such change does not simply allegorize feminine revivification but rather Fanny’s lateral transformation that swerves from improving her into a subject or a human being. Instead, Fanny’s thingly animation both opens up larger questions about ontology and non-being even as her subtle difference provides an epistemological perspective through which to understand ontology altogether. Rather than either remaining diffident and withdrawn from others’ knowledge of her, or easily known as a sensible, feeling, domestic angel of the house, Fanny’s change signals a way to know ontology as itself a relation of different modes of being. Fanny’s resistance to acting within the assemblage of Lovers’ Vow performers or within the biopolitical theater of the Crawfords concomitantly marks her imbrication within the mechanics of commercial exchange. Underlying all objects in Austen’s novels is that instant gratification with new objects (marriage contracts, dowries, babies) and with the inheritance of cultures, estates, and family trees. Once they dispense with the exchangeable allures of beauty, dowry, or fertility, women become useless objects who decay into non-being. Rather than Behar’s ethical withdrawal, Austenian women are always in danger of fading out of being altogether. These characteristics of inert sociality become endemic to Austen’s notions of enslavement, just as the longed-for transformations into freedom most often entail the pursuit or inhabiting of vibrancy, animacy, and affective sharing. While this withdrawnness is easily relieved in an inbred and very small upper-class society, the association begins to sketch what I would call a paratactic ontology between women’s enforced withdrawal (and objectification) and the social death of those who are differentially, actually imprisoned in slave ships.20 For we might see readerly animosity toward the sadomasochistic, domestic, withdrawn Fanny as twinned with or doubled by scholarly frustration with the novel’s own recalcitrance on the topic of Sir Bertram’s politics of colonialism.21 As Edward Said famously argued, the Bertram estate—and indeed the novel’s entire economy, including the naval-gazing of Admiral Crawford and William Price—is complicit in the slavery in the West Indies. Fanny’s elevation from the fecundity of her parents’ Portsmouth naval class to the landed gentry of Mansfield Park depends upon Sir Bertram’s use of slave labor. While Moira Ferguson has contended that Sir Bertram represents a kind landlord and slave owner and Fanny one of his slaves, Anne Mellor and Alexandra Milsom suggest that Fanny’s abject subjectivity instead represents that of the “grateful Negro”: “not so much on the structure of race relations invoked by the ‘Negro’ … as on the dynamics of gratitude.”22 As helpful as such an analogy may be to explore Fanny’s subjectivity, imprisoned by her subjection to the heteropatriarchy, “exposing the abject subjectivity produced by such a program,” it nevertheless problematically deploys the metaphorics of slavery so often used by white women writers (including Austen and Mary Wollstonecraft) at the service of white women.23 As Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang argue in “Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor,” such metaphors amount to “settler moves of innocence,” a prime example being “the self-positioning of white people as simultaneously the

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oppressed and never an oppressor.”24 Directly applying the metaphorics of slavery to Fanny’s enslavement erases the experience of slaves, even as it occludes Fanny’s own complicity as an oppressor in the system she is subject to and yet still participates within quite joyfully at times. Fanny allegorizes an occasional awareness of such complicity—alongside its ontological implications. We might think of the episode with Edmund’s horse: a nonhuman object circulates between Fanny and Mary until Fanny, having the horse and its being-in-the-world withdrawn from her, begins to sympathize with it. One of Austen’s favorite writers, Thomas Clarkson, wrote aptly on the relation between the oppressor and the oppressed, including the endemic damage done in tandem to the oppressed and the oppressor. Mansfield Park, however, pointedly resists the comparison between enslaved Africans and imprisoned women as subjects and instead considers two paratactic ontologies of objects: Fanny, as a withdrawn object within the Bertram estate, who has more in common with the assemblage of objects in the east room; and the slave as chattel. To put this differently, Fanny allegorizes the captivity narrative of the modern woman within the capitalistic system of biopolitics (control over life, death, and reproduction) that rests on the ontological fear of becoming (or continuing to be) an object. Her own (English) object status alludes to the different ontological terror of necropolitics. That life-in-death, or the ontological death of non-being, is part of the same system, and yet differential in its effects of more radical and permanent forms of (ontological) death occurring on the (colonial) plantation. As Calvin L. Warren explains, Western notions of being themselves depend upon anti-blackness: We might then consider black captivity in the modern world as the “perfection” of metaphysics, its shameful triumph, because through the violent technology of slavery Being itself was so thoroughly devastated. Personality became property, as Hortense Spillers would describe it, and with this transubstantiation, Being was objectified, infused with exchange value, and rendered malleable within a sociopolitical order. In short, Being lost its integrity with the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade; at that moment in history, it finally became possible for an aggressive metaphysics to exercise obscene power—the ability to turn a “human” into a “thing.” The captive is fractured.25 The slave trade’s “transubstantiation” of personality into property infuses Being with exchange value, so that Being itself becomes malleable and, finally, devastated. We could say that women, too, experience transubstantiation; that the question of being “out” or not is precisely the issue of being commodified outof-being on the marriage market. The woman’s body becomes a malleable promissory note to financial solidity, status, or reproductive success. Yet, Fanny demonstrates a reverse transubstantiation when she becomes vibrant with the assemblage that includes her brother—even while Henry Crawford might desire

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to use that vibrancy for himself. This sibling love reactivates, and reverses, Fanny’s non-being, which itself alludes to but does not superimpose itself upon the more specific slave experiences of ontological death, which Achille Mbembe identifies in Necropolitics: Any historical account of the rise of modern terror needs to address slavery, which could be considered one of the first instances of biopolitical experimentation. In many respects, the very structure of the plantation system and its consequences express the emblematic and paradoxical figure of the state of exception. This figure is paradoxical here for two reasons. First, in the context of the plantation, the slave’s humanity appears as the perfect figure of a shadow. Indeed, the slave condition results from a triple loss: loss of a “home,” loss of rights over one’s body, and loss of political status. This triple loss is identical with absolute domination, natal alienation, and social death (expulsion from humanity altogether) … It is not a community if only because a community, by definition, implies the exercise of the power of speech and thought.26 While in Austen we most frequently see biopolitical control exerted over reproduction—which beings are even seen to have reproductive capability—Mbembe indicates that necropolitics entails state control over not just life but death as well—who might die so that the state (and its oligarchs/laborers) might reproduce themselves. This right to kill depends not simply on the commodification or objectification of bodies through contractual sale among white men—a definition that could apply to women as well. For Mbembe, more specific loss is at work within the plantation system: the loss of a home, the loss of the ability to control one’s own body, and zero political status—that is, non-representation within the white imaginary, not necessarily within the lived-in homes of black communities. Using this logic, we can see how Austen carefully structures Fanny’s loss as nearly total but for the returned presence of William, which allows for her own revivification. Fanny does lose her natal home and the family of her heart, and she never regains a maternal figure, as the profligate and lazy Lady Bertram and the overworked Mrs. Price are constant in their essential neglect. If Fanny does retain rights over her own body when she refuses Henry Crawford (for all his manipulations, he is not the proto-rapist/post-eighteenth-century kidnapper of Mr. Elton or John Thorpe), she does regain part of her natal family in William and, eventually, Susan. However, all three siblings remain praiseworthy for their exceeding use value (and subjection) to Sir Bertram. At the novel’s end, Susan’s “usefulness,” Fanny’s “excellence,” and William’s “continued good conduct, and rising fame” aid the family; they position the “Prices” as commodities exchangeable for cultural capital of one sort or another (MP 547). Susan has taken up Fanny’s domestic drudgery with even more alacrity, while Fanny herself exceeds her previous use value,

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in part by bringing Susan’s and William’s own uses into circulation, with good fame and conduct to trade upon. Despite her reanimation of (and within) the family, she remains as a thing in assemblage with the estate she inhabits. Even as a fire is finally lit in the east room, Fanny remains a thing among things, just warmer and more active. The fact that she does not change into a subject but rather brings her siblings into the ontological captivity of Mansfield’s non-subjectivity serves as a distant allusion to the impossibility of slaves being seen as subjects within Western ontology. Yet, Fanny and Susan’s new-found livelihood simultaneously acknowledges that not all captivity narratives are transferable—that slave ontologies of non-being cannot be changed or transformed into women’s ontologies of usefulness. Change, once again, becomes, for Austen, the epistemology of ontology; it allows us to know—or not know—ways of being not through substance, essence, actuality, potentiality, or projection, but through multiple beings in relation or nonrelation, conjunction, disjunction, or constellation. Although I am arguing that Fanny’s alteration is radical in its consideration of thingly ontology in terms beyond that of a subject–object binary, it can also appear much in step with the progressive growth of the tasteful subject projected by the Bildungsroman. Austen has often stood as a metonym for the progress of the realist novel itself, as a genre that develops from the episodic picaresque toward the Bildung’s teleological education or modern growth. Part of the incessant curiosity that Austen’s novels evoke has to do with their epistemology of change. They continually appeal to readers to consider how it is that certain characters arrive at their characterological destinations, how it is that narratives, nations, and subjects develop via the marriage plots of Romantic-era reproductive futurism, and how those notions of change might forge alternative ways of being in the world. One typical argument associates such civic development with the maturation of the sympathetic reader. The beloved Elizabeth Bennet, for example, allegorizes reading (and by extension the novel) as a bourgeois means of transformation. Arguably the alteration of her own prejudice and misrecognition of Darcy comes by way of successive readings of Darcy’s letter of vindication, his character, and Pemberley itself. The counterpart to such textual influence is sociability, and Austen’s party scenes abound with moments of group socialization, where information or instruction on social scripts is exchanged (and policed) to help develop the informed, orderly, gendered subject. Emma’s miseducation of Harriet Smith and her chastisement by Knightley work this way, as does the sadomasochistic friendship of Elinor and Lucy in Sense and Sensibility, where each character provides the other with information about Edward in a negotiation over the mores of courtship and the ethics of intimacy. This model of slow evolution becomes available in the period through metaphors of gestation, proto-evolution, or embryological development. These slower negotiations of desire might likewise be contrasted with a more epiphanic rather than developmental approach, and they import the agnorisis or catharsis of drama into crucial scenes of novelistic

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climax. Knightley’s remonstrance of Emma at Box Hill and Anne Elliot’s shift into vibrant agency during Louisa’s fall at Lyme are prime examples. Marriage itself might be seen as another such monumental change that, though prepared for throughout the novel, likewise transforms its characters with the moment of performative speech act, such as the moments of romantic declaration in Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion. Such a model of instantaneous alteration through union or desire has its roots in biblical enunciations of ontology (“Let there be light”; “I will make him a helper”) or perhaps even Ovidian transformations that occur through godly revenge, protection, or justice. These narratives of growth, or change in being, operate through specific temporal regimes. Development and epiphany are particularly suited to the creation of the subject, yet more dynamic and heterogeneous temporal play can also offer alternative sorts of being. To begin to understand this line of argument, we might say that ontological change offers an epistemology of time: we know time by knowing changes in objects. Hume says as much in A Treatise of Human Nature: “we may conclude, that time cannot make its appearance to the mind, either alone, or attended with a steady unchangeable object, but is always discovered some PERCEIVABLE succession of changeable objects.”27 According to Alistair M. Duckworth, conservative “improvement” and radical “alteration” or “innovation” posit antithetical forms of temporality (slow, dutiful changes to inherited culture as opposed to quick, revolutionary razing), which conservatives and radicals, respectively, deem acceptable models for change.28 But if, for Hume, change is our way of knowing of both ontology and time, in Austen time itself—in its myriad forms in excess of the developmental—becomes a kind of knowing that multiplies possibilities for being. For as much as Austen seems to offer only one sort of change in teleological novels of development and romance (or resistance to such change), her works, in both explicit and implicit ways, actually offer multiple forms of change and alternative endings in pockets of narratorial comment on speculative temporalities. These “hinge moments” offer sidebar temporalities where time itself becomes a meta- or multiplicative means of knowing different kinds of change and thus beings we might know.29 Even when we read of Fanny’s post-Portsmouth reinstatement in the Bertram family, her marriage to Edward, and her new affection for Sir Bertram, the narrator offers an alternative universe for the story. These speculations on Henry Crawford’s success with Fanny—and Fanny’s possible changes—suggest at least the possibility of other realities. Rather than seeing them as futures that have been already foreclosed upon, we might see them as projections in the Heideggerian sense of past or future imaginations of alternative ways of being. This narratorial maneuver undercuts the certainty of pasts, presents, and futures, and, through temporal interludes in the story’s teleological drag, instigates the fictional imagination as fecund. Here is what the narrator opines about Henry and Fanny in the Sliding Doors moment at the novel’s end:

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Could he have been satisfied with the conquest of one amiable woman’s affections, could he have found sufficient exultation in overcoming the reluctance, in working himself into the esteem and tenderness of Fanny Price, there would have been every probability of success and felicity for him. His affection had already done something. Her influence over him, had already given him some influence over her. Would he have deserved more, there can be no doubt that more would have been obtained; especially when that marriage had taken place, which would have given him the assistance of her conscience in subduing her first inclination … Had he done as he intended, and as he knew he ought, by going down to Everingham after his return from Portsmouth, he might have been deciding his own happy destiny. (MP 433–434) If Henry would have followed through on his intention of returning to Everingham to continue his program of becoming a better landlord, he might have avoided the temptation of a wayward night with Maria. While the narrator suggests that he had been set on this trajectory by “early independent and bad domestic example,” already “ruined” by his upbringing, the depth and extent of the narrative above suggests that one narrative choice—one movement to Mrs. Fraser’s party rather than to his own estate tempted his vanity: “he could not bear to be thrown off by the woman whose smiles had been so wholly at his command” (MP 434). The narrator here provides intimate characterological knowledge by supposing what might have happened to Henry and Fanny (not to mention Edward and Mary) had Henry changed direction; had he traveled through a different past, another future would have been possible. This plot vindicates that readerly theory of mind that may have believed in Henry and Fanny’s changes at Portsmouth—changes that, through this alternative history, are validated as more than already foreclosed-upon futures. These alternative imaginings—projections of future or past to which readers (or their characters) were not previously party—constitute a temporal experimentation or temporal epistemology that makes more change possible than the marriage plot itself has the capacity to offer. It is not simply that the imaginist’s ability to project alternative or speculative futures (or pasts) grants her/him being through white Western capacities for “the exercise of the power of speech and thought.” Such empirical counterfactuals may seem to underwrite what Stephanie Wakefield critiques as the idea that humans are skilled at adaptation and the recreation of safe spaces that can absorb or inhibit disturbances. Instead, she exhorts us to embrace the unsafe operating spaces of the Anthropocene’s back loop—to “let go and actually experience them, allowing metamorphosis to occur rather than holding on to old frameworks senselessly.”30 To embrace Austen’s moments of back looping is to do more than understand her alternative pasts and futures as Gothic afterthoughts or narratorial incursions into the realist movements of growth that always

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recreate the heteronormative Bildungsroman. It is to embrace the possibilities that play with time can produce, such as those alternative epistemologies (for characters or biopolitics or even metaphysics) that then give rise to other ontologies, other changes in being. The novel’s alternate ontologies, and Fanny’s, may be able to project these alternative futures because they have been reanimated by William’s brotherly love. This rejoinder to natal alienation proffers an ontological enlivening that Warren reminds us is already precluded from slave non-being. Yet, even before Henry Crawford deemed to address Fanny and before William’s return, Fanny had already wished for both her siblings. It may be that it is the maneuvering of William and Susan into the Mansfield assemblage—the movement by which things are put into different relation with others—that enables the change, which then permits futurity. This sort of relational movement may be a swerve that enables us to think ontologically, outside of slave non-being (or Western Being). A similar, lateral move occurs at the heart of Patricia Rozema’s filmic adaptation of the novel, when young Thomas becomes diseased by his colonial involvements in the West Indies and Fanny is called to nurse him back to health. This alternative version of Mansfield Park provides a counterfactual history to the Bertrams’ West Indies trip, and it likewise employs Fanny, the useful thing of the Park, in Tom’s transformation into a new being, ostensibly less subject to the privileges of white subjectivity. In such cases, one does not need subjecthood or “life” to create change, only action or movement—the sheerest of trajectories that are slight but valuable in not yet being visible as “thought,” “feeling,” or “Being.” In Mansfield Park, Fanny’s shift from withdrawn object to vibrant thing in an assemblage with other things and humans augurs such a possibility. It is true that Fanny does not redeem Sir Bertram’s necropolitical past (or future), but she does entail him into a new assemblage of non-subjects who still have the power to act upon one another, if not the wider world. Austen’s novels do not shirk or solve enslavement or the object-statuses of their characters; rather, they paratactically juxtapose different sorts of things, from slave to woman to men in danger of merely serving as metonyms for their estates. These lateral movements subvert the teleological transformation of objectified, withdrawn girls to objectified women to propose alternative, provisional ontologies of thingly, differential natures. Yet, it is Austen’s momentary yet pivotal play with temporality that offers alternative epistemologies of being suggestive of other-world ontologies. As ontology and epistemology become tangled in a Möbius strip of knowing and being, Austen hints at a series of larger-scale onto-epistemological transformations we might recognize in our contemporary landscape, particularly the legacies of slave nonbeing and the feminine usefulness of commodity culture. Austen speaks to the activist in all her readers, to become things conversant with other possibilities for being beyond the non-being of dispossessed subjects, which so many are as different beings, in a world ruled by necro-capital.

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Notes 1 William H. Galperin, The Historical Austen (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003), 156. 2 Nina Auerbach, “Jane Austen’s Dangerous Charm: Feeling as One Ought about Fanny Price,” Women and Literature 3 (1983), 208–223; Anne K. Mellor and Alex L. Milsom, “Austen’s Fanny Price, Grateful Negroes, and the Stockholm Syndrome,” Persuasions 34 (2012), 222–235. 3 See Patricia Matthew, “Jane Austen and the Abolitionist Turn,” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 61, no. 4 (2019), 345–361. 4 Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, ed. John Wiltshire, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 171. All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text. 5 Katherine Behar, “Facing Necrophilia, or Botox Ethics,” in Object Oriented Feminism, ed. Katherine Behar (Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2016), 124. 6 Timothy Morton, “All Objects Are Deviant: Feminism and Ecological Intimacy,” in Object Oriented Feminism, ed. Katherine Behar (Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2016), 65 (original emphasis). 7 Ibid., 73, 74. 8 Behar, 125. 9 Ibid., 128. 10 Ibid., 129. 11 Ibid., 124. 12 Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (Chapel Hill, NC: Duke University Press, 2010), 6. 13 Ibid., 30. 14 For the now-classic argument about improvement in Mansfield Park, see Alistair M. Duckworth, “Mansfield Park: Jane Austen’s Grounds of Being,” in The Improvement of the Estate: A Study of Jane Austen’s Novels (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994). 15 Bennett, xii. 16 Duckworth, 64. 17 Bennett, 38. 18 Ibid., 37. 19 Teresa Brennan, The Transmission of Affect (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004), 32. 20 See, for example, Barbara Darby, “Bondage and Slavery in Eighteenth-Century Poetry by Women,” Lumen 14 (1995), 25–35; and Moira Ferguson, “Mary Wollstonecraft and the Problematic of Slavery,” in Feminist Interpretations of Mary Wollstonecraft, ed. Maria J. Falco (Philadelphia: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1996), 125–149. 21 See, for example, Edward Said, “Jane Austen and Empire,” in Mansfield Park and Persuasion, ed. Judy Simons (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997), 107–123; Moira Ferguson, “Mansfield Park: Slavery, Colonialism, and Gender,” Oxford Literary Review 13, nos. 1–2 (1991), 118–139; Susan Fraiman, “Jane Austen and Edward Said: Gender, Culture, and Imperialism,” Critical Inquiry 21, no. 4 (1995), 805–821; and Christopher Stampone, “‘Obliged to Yield’: The Language of Patriarchy and the System of Mental Slavery in Mansfield Park,” Studies in the Novel 50, no. 2 (2018), 197–212. 22 Mellor and Milsom, 222. 23 Ibid. 24 Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang, “Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor,” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society 1, no. 1 (2012), 1–40. 25 Calvin L. Warren, “Black Nihilism and the Politics of Hope,” CR: The New Centennial Review 15, no. 1 (2015), 237. 26 Achille Mbembe, Necropolitics (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2019), 74–75. 27 David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature (New York: Penguin Books, 1985), 84.

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28 See the discussion on improvement and alteration in Duckworth, 45–48. 29 I take the term from G. Gabrielle Starr’s study on lyrical interludes within the novel, Lyric Generations: Poetry and the Novel in the Long Eighteenth Century (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004), but posit Austen’s moments as those that multiply temporal lines, rather than simply pause time altogether. 30 Stephanie Wakefield, Anthropocene Back Loop: Experimentation in Unsafe Operating Space (London: Open Humanities Press, 2020), 11.

Bibliography Auerbach, Nina. “Jane Austen’s Dangerous Charm: Feeling as One Ought about Fanny Price.” Women and Literature 3 (1983): 208–223. Austen, Jane. Mansfield Park. Edited by John Wiltshire. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Behar, Katherine. “Facing Necrophilia, or Botox Ethics.” In Object Oriented Feminism, edited by Katherine Behar, 123–144. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. Bennett, Jane. Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Chapel Hill, NC: Duke University Press, 2010. Brennan, Teresa. The Transmission of Affect. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004. Clarkson, Thomas. The History of the Rise, Progress, and Accomplishment of the Abolition of the Slave Trade by the British Parliament. 2 Vols. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, 1808. Darby, Barbara. “Bondage and Slavery in Eighteenth-Century Poetry by Women.” Lumen 14 (1995): 25–35. Duckworth, Alistair M. “Mansfield Park: Jane Austen’s Grounds of Being.” In The Improvement of the Estate: A Study of Jane Austen’s Novels, 38–80. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994. Ferguson, Moira. “Mansfield Park: Slavery, Colonialism, and Gender.” Oxford Literary Review 13, nos. 1–2 (1991): 118–139. Ferguson, Moira. “Mary Wollstonecraft and the Problematic of Slavery.” In Feminist Interpretations of Mary Wollstonecraft, edited by Maria J. Falco, 125–149. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1996. Fraiman, Susan. “Jane Austen and Edward Said: Gender, Culture, and Imperialism.” Critical Inquiry 21, no. 4 (1995): 805–821. Galperin, William H. The Historical Austen. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003. Hume, David. A Treatise of Human Nature. New York: Penguin Books, 1985. Malabou, Catherine. The Future of Hegel: Plasticity, Temporality, and Dialectic. New York: Routledge, 2004. Matthew, Patricia. “Jane Austen and the Abolitionist Turn.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 61, no. 4 (2019): 345–361. Mbembe, Achille. Necropolitics. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2019. Mellor, Anne K. and Alex L. Milsom. “Austen’s Fanny Price, Grateful Negroes, and the Stockholm Syndrome.” Persuasions 34 (2012): 222–235. Morton, Timothy. “All Objects Are Deviant: Feminism and Ecological Intimacy.” In Object Oriented Feminism, edited by Katherine Behar, 65–82. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. Rozema, Patricia, director. Mansfield Park. Los Angeles: Miramax Films, 1999. Said, Edward. “Jane Austen and Empire.” In Mansfield Park and Persuasion, edited by Judy Simons, 107–123. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997.

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Stampone, Christopher. “‘Obliged to Yield’: The Language of Patriarchy and the System of Mental Slavery in Mansfield Park.” Studies in the Novel 50, no. 2 (2018): 197–212. Starr, G. Gabrielle. Lyric Generations: Poetry and the Novel in the Long Eighteenth Century. Baltimore:Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004. Tuck, Eve and K. Wayne Yang. “Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor.” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society 1, no. 1 (2012): 1–40. Wakefield, Stephanie. Anthropocene Back Loop: Experimentation in Unsafe Operating Space. London: Open Humanities Press, 2020. Warren, Calvin L. “Black Nihilism and the Politics of Hope.” CR: The New Centennial Review 15, no. 1 (2015): 215–248.

9 JANE AUSTEN’S ANGRY INCH The Nonbinary Son-to-Come Chris Washington

Angry Inches Many critics have in recent years noted both the queerness of spaces in Austen and the personages who inhabit those spaces, perhaps Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick most famously in her reading of Elinor and Marianne as engaged in a sisterly, homoerotic passion and D. A. Miller’s reflections on the queerness of the Neutrality of her Style and the no-room-for-her-ness of her style (“the realism of her works allows no one like Jane Austen to appear in them”).1 But queerness, as Dean Spade (among many others) notes, is not coeval with nonbinary or trans-ness. To use Heather Love’s definitions, “queer is associated primarily with nonnormative desires and sexual practices, and transgender is associated primarily with nonnormative gender identifications and embodiments.”2 Just as importantly, as Spade argues, mainstream LGBTQ agendas tend to trend toward legal reforms that embrace the existing system and thereby exclude vulnerable trans populations that gain nothing from, say, the legalization of gay marriage since it further entrenches cisheteropatriarchal binarism. Spade’s analysis in many ways follows from Michel Foucault’s archeological historical digs that allege that power is the province of the massive, displaced, delocalized, disseminated discursive effects that operate outside the law; therefore, power’s reform is not possible through legal redress. Because what Spade calls “rights-based” LGBTQ movements seek inclusive reformation inside the very system that exercises the dispossessive exclusionary means that define that system, Spade contends that such movements have been captured by the very system they would oppose, in the process becoming another discursive strand of power that does, and is used to, render nonbinary existence impossible.3 DOI: 10.4324/9781003181309-13

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Austen, I want to argue, aligns with Spade and has no interest in reforming the system; instead, she envisions its complete abolition and the end of binaristic society that induces the erasure of transgender and nonbinary possibility. This is a deeply historical essay, then, in that it allies with C. Riley Snorton’s work in Black on Both Sides: A Radical History of Trans Identity, of which he says, “for many, it will not be understood as history at all.”4 To borrow, further, from Snorton’s methodological procedure, this is a reading of Austen, of history, that seeks to eschew “binaristic logic that might reify a distinction between transgender and cisgender, black and white, disabled and abled, and so on, in an effort to … yield insights that surpass an additive logic.”5 Moreover, as Kadji Amin puts it, “a critical focus on the temporal underpinnings of transgender as a historical category, on the other hand, may open the way toward a more transformative politics of justice.”6 Austen’s novels see binaristic logic as foundational to Regency-era society itself in that it helps solidify the two-sex and male/female gender model that Thomas Lacquer traces to the eighteenth century and that Michael Kramp expounds on as how men “upheld the hegemonic quality of patriarchal structures such as family and marriage,” which, “by ensuring strict gender polarity … ultimately helps to justify and maintain hegemonic structures that support modern patriarchy.”7 While Mary Poovey and Claudia L. Johnson both argue that Austen is a reformist progressive who undercuts the marriage plot to create space for women’s autonomy and independence, my argument takes it a step further: Austen sees the ultimate problem as not marriage but the binaristic foundation that dictates male/ female gender variation.8 Therefore, as grandiose as it may sound to say, Austen’s aspiration, in uprooting this binarism’s investment and maintenance of binary gender, is correspondingly nothing less than the complete abolition of this regressive cornerstone that shapes and directs society. In this sense, I read Austen as imagining a nonbinary future that moves beyond the fictions of binaristic gender that arose from the Enlightenment and found a reification in the cisheteropatriarchal marriage plots of the eighteenth-century novel. For Austen, then, this nonbinary society and politics takes the form of radically multiplying genders to the point of abolishing the fictions of male and female gender altogether. Despite the real differences and “live question[s]” about queer and trans difference, as Love puts it, by turning to Miller’s theory of the queerness of Austen’s Style, we can catch a glimmering that begins to tease out the nonbinary possibilities thrumming like an unseen but vital pulse under the skin of Austen’s work.9 Miller introduces his lectures by connecting the aesthetic to the subjective for young readers of Austen: “what Austen’s writing channeled for us was the … appeal of no longer being” a person.10 Here, he speaks of the magnificent impersonality of her Style that cheers the reader that they might be depersonalized too, but he also follows the engendering effect her work’s gendered affects bestow on her readers. On the difference between the girl and boy reader of Austen, Miller notes how the boy is often made to feel shame for this indulgent fantasia with Woman’s world, whereas, for the girl reader, reading Austen confers womanhood:

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For one thing, what people said about Jane Austen could only enhance a girl’s right relation to the sex system and to the culture it governed; she had done what a female not only would, but ought. Even better, by virtue of already anticipating, in her choice of books, the grown-up state of a female, she might think of herself as receiving precocity’s most precious recognition, a certificate of adult-worthiness. But best of all, if Austen meant Woman, then perhaps in turn Woman might mean Austen, and a girl’s command of the language of the one—a dialect, apparently, of her native tongue—would increase as her body continued developing the mature form of the other.11 Reading Austen, as Miller universalizes it, is to read Woman, what it means to be a woman, think like a woman, and speak like a woman. Austen’s idiolect, apparently so womanly in its persuasions, ontologically bespeaks Woman itself, except where, as Miller shows in his dynamic and dazzling close reading of Robert Ferrars’s minute inspection of toothpick cases, we find Ferrars’s effeminacy standing in for a closeted queerness right out, as it were, in the open in Austen’s novels.12 With the boy reader, we find there are “two male readers,” one happily “being the woman [Austen] was,” while the other is “performing” being her. For all of this womanliness and queerness, though, the whole elaborate and brutal game I have been describing, in which Austen Style may be collapsed into Woman and Woman into (male) Homosexual—or in which Austen Style, so as not to be collapsed into Woman, is collapsed into Homosexual directly—is not just played “around” Jane Austen.13 And the why of the why this game, Austen’s game, does not circle Austen is, as we have already seen, that Austen’s world has no room for Austen, for the financially successful, single woman artist. There is, of course, rarely a first-person singular in Austen (although more on that later), but Miller finds in her Style a finality of impersonality that rejects, even, the Woman and the Homosexual, and, he argues, “Austen Style is already decidedly neuter, as though it were on an exemption from ‘sex’—in the oldfashioned sense … of both gender and sexuality—that this impersonality is most crucially founded, developed, secured.”14 On the next page, he compares “the narrative voice” in a passage on the picaresque in Northanger Abbey (1817) and Austen’s “Lady” signature on the frontispiece of her novels to “a slightly bungled sex-change operation that leaves a tiny reminder of the gender it has altered (say, Hedwig’s ‘angry inch’)” and “blows its neutrality, if only just a little bit.”15 Austen Style, that supposedly impersonal and neutral voice, betrays a gender transition both to and away from Woman and to and away from the male Homosexual. We can detect, then, in the Neutrality of Austen Style that Miller traces, already a writing resistant to an incumbent social binaristic logic of sex and gender. The question that arises, though, and which Miller leaves

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unanswered (and seems perhaps unaware of) may be where, if anywhere, is this transition’s final destination?16 Could it be, might we dare to say, that the little bit of Austen Style that peeks out as an inch of penis leftover—“my sex-change operation got botched,” Hedwig belts in the song “Angry Inch”—confronts us with the possibility that Austen Style, in its transition away from Neutrality, is itself transgender, or nonbinary, or genderqueer?17 And what would it mean if it were? Miller’s allusion to Hedwig and the Angry Inch is interesting in that it recalls another important, but often overlooked, Romantic-era text on gender and sexuality. The centerpiece allusion in Hedwig and the Angry Inch’s centerpiece song, “The Origin of Love,” is Aristophanes’ speech in Plato’s Symposium that articulates a theory of the origin of trans, nonbinary, intersex, and cisgender— a text that Percy Shelley, of course, translated around 1818. Shelley’s Symposium supplies us with a Romantic-period take on gender and sexuality (the text blurs the lines between sex and gender in its own usages of the term “sex”) that wildly detours from normative beliefs of the time and, I hope to show, Austen would, and does, readily endorse. On Aristophanes’ account, to follow Shelley’s translation: human beings were formerly not divided into two sexes, male and female; there was also a third, common to both the others, the name of which remains, though the sex itself has disappeared. The androgynous sex, both in appearance and name, was common to both the male and female.”18 Biologically speaking, origin-ally, different sexes did not exist only, as the song puts it, “the children of the earth, and the moon, and the sun.”19 In the myth, the androgyne, the child of the moon, has a penis and a vagina before an enraged, jealous, and implacable Zeus divides the being, thus creating a male and a female, a two, who spend their lives trying to find each other and join back together as their one former whole. Heterosexuality and cisgender, then, are not originary but a consequence of an original injury that must be redressed through physical recombination—what we might now call an intersex being (but again it was not intersex because there was no gender and sex; and of course this would depend on how we understand both gender and sex) is split into both male and female genders. But it is this process that actually creates gender and sexuality, because neither of these categories previously existed.20 Ironically, though, if we read through the logic of this myth to its terminus ad quem, when these beings have heterosexual sex, that is, rejoin (thus blurring gender and sex), certain wandering, lovelorn males (men) and females (women) reconnect and, in doing so, do away with heterosexuality since only homosexuality would continue between the men looking for their lost male halves and the women their female halves. A two becomes one in this sutured androgyne merger that is not a marriage, the latter a kind of union that, according to, say,

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Austen’s Emma (1815), serves only to preserve the two in the guise of becoming one. The children of the moon, the man and woman, undergo a process to become pre-gender, before cisheteronormativity altogether, which would also be to say that there is no stable pre-originary or originary cisgender but rather only pre-originary, transformable pre-gender fluidities. On this model of gender mythology, transgender and nonbinary embodiment is prior and critical to the formation of compulsory cisgender and also cisheterosexuality—but only in the paradoxical sense that there is not, a priori, an essentialist gender or sexuality. If these gender categories defy the idea of an original cisgender society whose history is said to be universal, invariable, and predestined, then the introduction of a sex-change operation existing within, even as, Austen’s Style itself moves us into much of a different Austen world. Miller says of this Neuter Style, which is an impersonal voice, that it expresses “the desire to be a Person.”21 I want to push Miller’s reading, his theory, still further and say that this person-to-come, this Austen Style, this what that we call Austen, is distinctly nonbinary. In this no-person of Style, we can hear, already, the echo and alignment of what Spade calls the “impossibilities” of transgender, society’s admonishment to transgender people that they are “impossible people who cannot exist, cannot be seen, cannot be classified, and cannot fit anywhere.”22 In Austen’s world—or, more accurately, the world of the eighteenth century fighting so hard both, both and, for and against cis-ness—there is, as yet, no room for what society sees as this no person, this no one, this impossible that is Austen. If one cannot exactly historically call what I am identifying in Austen/Austen Style as nonbinary or easily identify it at all (the visible is always an ideological constraint on trans people, as Hil Malatino reminds), we might think of, “see,” find, Austen, as well, in Eliza Steinbock’s trans-“shimmering images” that “[render] viable more, if not all, possibilities of threshold embodiments groping their way toward social identities” or in Jack Halberstam’s notion of “wildness,” which they define as “existing without explanation, without a niche, outside of an orderly and inevitable scheme of life.”23 Austen, in other words, in her shimmering wildness, does not appear in her novels because she cannot yet— although we can—see her in those shimmers that express her desire to be herself, to be a son, what I want to call the son-to-come. Austen’s writing, her novels, then, I want to say, is a disguised autobiography in which she envisions herself as a nonbinary son-to-come. Recalling now that in Latin “penis” means “tail,” we might even give in to temptation and say of Austen’s desire, her angry inch, that the entail endowed on sons, for her, for her as this son-to-come, as yet lacks its full phallic potential, lacks, in short, a tail.

The Son-to-Come Not that there are not sons abound in Austen’s novels but there are brother-less and estate-less daughters a more, and, what’s more, in other families that Austen

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focuses on besides those that are brother-less and estate-less, the daughters are fostered out to families with a patrilineal line wherein the son is he who cannot, and will not, in fact, inherit, and is the one the fostered daughter will marry. Think Edward Ferrars, disinherited in Sense and Sensibility (1811), who marries Elinor Dashwood, left at the mercy of her half-brother John’s mercilessness; or Edmund Bertram, in Mansfield Park (1814), whose second-son status guarantees his wastrel elder brother, Tom, will assume the mantle of family patriarch while Edmund receives ecclesiastical ordination as a clergyman and weds Fanny, who never stood a chance to inherit what was never there to inherit in her impoverished family. Of course, this is not to say that daughters could not inherit during the Georgian and Regency eras: Lady Catherine derives her fortune from her father’s fee simple will that provisions he can deed his estate to anyone who may then deed it to whomever they wish. Just as there is never a Jane Austen in Austen’s novels, then, there is also never a son who inherits in the family of the heroine daughters, only a daughter who does not and is consequently adrift in the seas of marriageable hopefuls (which is also to say that they are those who hope they are indeed marriageable). Historically, for the gentry, this is an oddity, having no son; Austen’s own mother produced eight children and three of her sons, Edward, Frank, and Charles, combined with their wives to field a fearsome twenty-five children collectively, some of whom were sons.24 In Austen’s fictive world, this historical oddness is accentuated and highlighted as odd in the circumstance that Mr. Bennet’s whole problem, besides the disturbance of his bookwormish tranquility, is the entail, which arrives so famously, hilariously, and pompously personified in the personage of the blatherskite Mr. Collins. Mr. Bennet, never a savvy saver of money, had been counting, instead of coin, on the entail ensuring his own offspring’s lineal succession of the estate that would keep it in the family for generations: “five daughters successively entered the world, but yet the son was to come; and Mrs. Bennet, for many years after Lydia’s birth, had been certain that he would.”25 Here we have to admire “successively” since, surely, it is one of Austen’s grander and lesser-noticed ironic triumphs. For, with each succession, each daughter, that successively arrives, the triumphalism of the succession itself is threatened. No less, “was” ironically harnesses a past indexical grammar to the linker “to” in order to indicate, to mean, a futurity that its very pastness prevents and indeed guarantees will never occur, even while dashing any hopes in the present during which this successive sequential letdown is being uttered: for it is now known that no son was ever, or is, or ever will be, to come. The pastness of “was” is the future. The pastness of “was” is, now, right now, the future. Which is, nonetheless, not to say that the son does not exist even if he is never born. Daughter by daughter by daughter by daughter by daughter, the son’s existence is denied even as this very natal erasure brings the son so palpably to revenantal life, given that his existent non-existence still governs the entail over which he is not alive to be master (just as it would have done prior to Mr. Bennet’s own existence, which was only every imagined by the original terms of the entail). The ghostly

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prolepsis of the promised son-to-come that knows it will never come still haunts the novel in a to-come-ness that is never-to-come. In never coming, it arrives, comes as the imaginary child through which it imagines the future, only to, at the same time, announce that that future can, will, never be and yet nevertheless is in this cisheteropatriarchal hauntology. And we know this, of course, to put perhaps an indelicate and too fine a point on it, because the fact that the son was, at some point in the past, to come indicates that Mr. Bennet continued to come for some time to no effect. Securing the cisheteropatriarchal lineage and succession remains paramount, and procreative attempts go on despite Mr. Bennet’s virulent antipathy to Mrs. Bennet and even to the notion, for him, when we get right down to it (if we want to be nononsense about it), of family in general. The continuance of male power and prerogative, the continuance of society as it is, is so powerful as even to trump his distaste and indifference—another of Austen’s powerful ironies since, while surely Mr. Bennet is happier not caring, just as surely apathy precludes happiness, so the answer to why he persists in his procreative pursuits must be this patriarchal imperative signified by the hauntology of the hoped-for son. Consider this fact: not only are Austen’s main characters never sons, they never have sons, nor daughters neither, nor children of any sort. If marriage resolutions are meant to preserve the patrilineal line and by this means society itself, then the novels present a curious way of accomplishing those goals in so far as they never attain the prized success that drives them. Presumably, Darcy and Elizabeth will have children, as will Bingley and Jane and Elinor and Edward, and so on. But that they do not, and that there are never any sons, suggests that, for all of the intensity of her piled-up cultural details that so vividly and finely delineate the historical reality of country gentry life in the Regency, Austen with apologies to William Galperin is quite a different kind of historicist.26 She is a writer whose futurism—the implication of every novel is proleptic, that they go on; they end, then, weirdly, in media res, as it were—is not beholden to a past bogged down by what she sees in the imprisoning everyday. It is even, perhaps, something like what Malatino talks about in terms of trans families that do not mirror noncisheteronormative families.27 As Julia Ftacek explains it, “biological destiny”28 is sliding not secured prior to its social rigidification near the end of the century (a fluidity Jordy Rosenberg vividly depicts in his queer, trans, eighteenth-century novel, Confessions of the Fox).29 Only at century’s end does, say, the possession of a penis label you “irrecoverably” a man.30 In one sense, then, Austen’s world ostensibly coheres with reality because the world she depicts is one of cisheteropatriarchal binarism and in being so it also realistically expresses the wish of that time that transgender and nonbinary people not exist, which has the effect of making this a no country for trans-men or trans-women (or, of course, men or women who transition and reject the identifier of trans or man or woman altogether). Yet, by acknowledging, contrarily, that they do exist, Austen doubles down on her alternative

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historicism by refusing trans occultation and sketching instead nonbinary in the real of a different world in which that anti-nonbinary wish does not operate. Indeed, for Austen, the son-to-come is not a story that buys into the repressive hypothesis Foucault shatters: that so-called non-normative sexualities and genders were occulted, shunned, disparaged, denied, kept off stage, as it were. Austen shows, thinks, theorizes, and desires nonbinary right out in the open if we but know where and how to look. It is a truth that should be universally acknowledged that nonbinary and trans stand in the background throughout her novels so glimmeringly—like her analsex joke in Mansfield Park—that it is ostentatiously so, and so correspondingly foregrounds this backgrounded, hidden concern.31 In the following instance in Pride and Prejudice, Austen’s stylistic choice does not rely solely on the irony for which she is famed; it takes rather the dissimulative form of the joke that disguises its true intentions in the denial of them. Look at Lydia, heedless, impractical, empty-headed, boy-crazy Lydia, whose good-for-nothing character leads her family off the prim-and-proper religious-prude path and careening into the gutter of social shame and disgrace. But Lydia’s carelessness might look more like carefreeness when carefully considered rather than prudishly dismissed as a preview of her later wayward lifestyle. When Elizabeth and Jane unexpectedly meet up with Lydia and Kitty, “who meant to treat them,” at an inn near Hertfordshire on their way home from London, Austen blazons the scene with testaments to Lydia’s vapidity: her announcement of a frivolous purchase of an unwanted bonnet (“I do not think it is very pretty; but I thought I might as well buy it as not” (P&P 242)); her assertion that the bandbox that holds the bonnet is a more worthy possession (“I am glad I bought my bonnet, if it is only for the fun of having another bandbox” (P&P 244)); the order of a cold meat and cucumber salad luncheon for which Lydia is now too broke to pay (broke as a joke); and the gaiety with which she lauds herself over all of these, the novel wants us to say, dubious expenditures. Lydia flourishing these dissipations is meant to signal that her cup of asininity truly runneth over. It is as if, like the hollow toothpick case that encapsulates the closeted queerness of Robert Ferrars in Miller’s reading, the emptiness of the bandbox mirrors Lydia’s own empty-headedness and moral turpitude. Yet, her next offhand relation of hilarious hijinx divulges that the emptiness inside the bandbox might be more refulgent than Robert’s crass capitalist yearnings for the worthless jewels that invest him with self-worth. The bonnet, we would say, possesses the value in its adjacency to the bandbox that would contain it. For Lydia, the bonnet, ugly as it is, is good only for being cut up and rewoven into something new. Hidden inside the bandbox to protect its value, the bonnet, when removed, brought into the open air, is judged as valueless except as material for transformation, what it is not. The bandbox that hides the hat, on the other hand, has value on its own after it is no longer required to bear the burden of being the body that holds what it is not; it needs no transformation once the

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bonnet is removed because it has now become what it is on its own. As such, the bandbox, as what has value, is actually what is inside, where value is contained, the bandbox. The bandbox, what is outside, shelters itself in its own inside, knows and protects and creates its own value; it is, that is to say, as we say in that common parlance that declares someone A-OK in their own estimation, itself both inside and out. The transgender “joke” Lydia relates immediately after this confession to her sisters shares the contours of the deconstructive, nonbinary logic of the bandbox. Chamberlayne, a passingly mentioned minor servant character, seems of not much account in the novel, of course. The minor characters in Austen, though, as Alex Woloch tells us, are really like the base to the superstructure in Marx, ostensibly worthless cogs in the gears but in reality indispensable to the social system’s functionality.32 Consider how foregrounded this background is as retold in Lydia’s glib loquacity: we dressed up Chamberlayne in woman’s clothes, on purpose to pass for a lady,—only think what fun! Not a soul knew of it, but Col. and Mrs. Forster, and Kitty and me, except my aunt, for we were forced to borrow one of her gowns; and you cannot imagine how well he looked! When Denny, and Wickham, and Pratt, and two or three more of the men came in, they did not know him in the least. Lord! how I laughed! and so did Mrs. Forster. I thought I should have died. And that made the men suspect something, and then they soon found what was the matter. (P&P 245; original emphasis) Cross-dressing here is evidently meant to function as funny because it falls outside the norms of acceptable and anticipated behavior. Let us notice, first, though, that Chamberlayne is, within the narrative terms of this recount, not actually present here. His thoughts and feelings on the matter are omitted in Lydia’s giddy recollection at this, as the narrator tells us immediately after, example of “good jokes” (P&P 245). Chamberlayne’s absence is problematic in that we would expect a serving chaperone to withstand this cross-dressing with ill humor and perhaps even humiliation and shame—the usual result of such gender-bending jokes. While it would seem unlikely that Lydia would notice or care one way or another, that Chamberlayne’s humiliation and shame are not mentioned stands in relief to what, for instance, Susan Fraiman reads in regard to the novel’s preoccupation with humiliation.33 It is not, despite Chamberlayne’s narrative and affective erasure, a scene of subjection; no sense of humiliation or shame brims forth here. It is a scene, if anything, of camaraderie in which trans-ness is not laughed at, the butt of the joke, but laughed with as, importantly, something au naturel. After all, “how well he looked.” At first blush, it would seem to be about fooling around—that is, making Denny, Wickham, and the innumerable other men who enter look foolish via this cross-dressing prank. The joke is obvious enough: men

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do not recognize a man dressed as a woman. However, the point is not so obvious. For the fact that they do not recognize him perhaps also rings with the idea that they cannot recognize him since the boundary separating men from women elides itself in this scene. It would seem to signal that men can transition into being women. No one is appalled; nor does anyone laugh at him/her. Instead, they laugh at themselves for being unable to not recognize what is staring them in the face, themselves, a man, just as we, the readers, are meant to do, as what is staring us in the face are the transgender possibilities in Austen. The joke is on us. But the joke is not that a man looks like a woman but that transitions can happen and the background foregrounded—the inside can be the outside and vice versa—and this scrambles the solidity of our beliefs about biological social codification. Like the bandbox, Chamberlayne, or any other character, can transition into a new gender. It is telling, then, the language used here, at the moment of discovery. Wickham and the others eventually found out “what was the matter.” In a manner of speaking, the matter here that they discover is Chamberlayne’s gender expressed in the biological sense of the time, the matter of his penis. But while the penis is the matter biologically, it is not the matter in terms of the pejorative expression “something’s the matter.” It does not trouble them; instead, no judgment arises. What’s the matter here? Nothing’s the matter.

“I” On the other hand, there are certainly characters in Austen who are not in on nonbinary possibilities. Mr. Knightley is always, more so than even Mr. Darcy, set forth as the exemplary specimen of MAN in Austen’s novel, a kind of befleshed transcendental phallus who testifies to and confirms what counts as man and what counts as woman. He almost struts in airing his opinions: his highdudgeon declaration, “Nonsense! a man does not imagine any such thing,” in response to Emma’s opining that men expect women to marry any of them who asks; his sniffy “It is like a woman’s writing” in reply to Emma’s appreciation of Frank Churchill’s handwriting; his “he is a disgrace to the name of man” that he levies as a judgment on Churchill.34 Knightley, whose very name echoes the conferral of regal patriarchal be-knighting power, pronounces his opinions in a manner that is very like that of the fiat. Case in point: he affirms, on the contested subject of Miss Fairfax temporarily residing with the odious Mrs. Elton, the reified nature of the pronoun: Another thing must be taken into consideration too—Mrs. Elton does not talk to Miss Fairfax as she speaks of her. We all know the difference between the pronouns he or she and thou, the plainest-spoken amongst us; we all feel

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the influence of a something beyond common civility in our personal intercourse with each other—a something more early implanted. (E 309; original emphasis) This is, to put it mildly, a confusing utterance since the necessity for the transition from a reflection on Mrs. Elton’s flattery and its accusative and objective genitive cases to a discourse on the praxis of pronouns and the youthful pedagogy of social introspection and manners that governs it, would seem a hearty non sequitur. That Mrs. Elton speaks about rather than to Miss Fairfax can be no surprise: her character has been fixed as servile yet conceited, condescending yet egomaniac. From this information’s appearance the inference is therefore that talking to and talking about someone are linked to pronoun usage and, via the social circum-intervention that circles those pronouns, that, in Knightley’s pronouncement, seals their application, means the world assigns genders based on what must be bare facts— the physical bodies in front of the faces looking at those bodies. A man, then, is a man take him all, not in all, in his looks, according to MAN. In this scene, MAN’s, Knightley’s, dictum represents what we might call the prevailing cisgender sociopolitics that seeks to restrain the trans-camaraderie apparent in Pride and Prejudice and the larger a-historical historical Austen world. But, not quite, in fact. Knightley’s grandeur as MAN gets bruised rather than burnished by the nice derangement of pronouns that traipse across Austen’s novels. Pronouns in Austen embrace a fluidity independent of mid-eighteenth-century and later Enlightenment insistence on the gendered body as a signified irrevocably attached to a gendered signifier. The gender switching in Mansfield Park between Miss Crawford, Edmund, and Fanny suggests how infirm gender “truly” (to borrow the narrator’s word) is as male and female genders triangulate amongst these three— tendering a third gender in the process—as they seek for the self-discovery of selfidentity. Like all of her characters, these three, on a surface reading, are presented as cisgender. Miss Crawford finds out Fanny’s hidey-hole rooms to beg her help in theatrical rehearsal. Miss Crawford: “I came here to-day intending to rehearse it with Edmund—by ourselves— against the evening, but he is not in the way; and if he were, I do not think I could go through it with him, till I have hardened myself a little, for really there is a speech or two—You will be so good won’t you?” “Have you ever happened to look at the part I mean?” continued Miss Crawford, opening her book. “Here it is. I did not think much of it at first— but, upon myword—. There, look at that speech, and that, and that. How am I ever to look him in the face and say such things? Could you do it? But then he is your cousin, which makes all the difference. You must rehearse it with me, that I may fancy you him, and get on by degrees. You have a look of his sometimes.”

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“There—very good schoolroom chairs, not made for a theatre, I dare say; much more fitted for little girls to sit and kick their feet against when they are learning a lesson.” (MP 197–198; original emphasis) And then the narrator re-enters in full third-person flair: She began, and Fanny joined in with all the modest feeling which the idea of representing Edmund was so strongly calculated to inspire; but with looks and voice so truly feminine, as to be no very good picture of a man. With such an Anhalt, however, Miss Crawford had courage enough and they had got through half the scene, when a tap at the door brought a pause, and the entrance of Edmund the next moment, suspended it all. (MP 198–199) Undoubtedly, Miss Crawford offers a willfully misleading rationale for seeking out Fanny; why, after all, should she expect to find Edmund in Fanny’s rooms? Her discourse begins in disguise, disguising both herself and her intentions, the truth of which are revealed by her turnabout from “he is not in the way” to “and if he were,” where the repetition of the masculine pronouns emphasizes his hisness and culminates with her pressing down even harder (she hardens herself a little; which is so deliciously suggestive on its own) on the italicized “his” as indicative of the fact that she wants to rehearse with a cisgender woman who is nonetheless somehow womanly enough to be manly. The emphasis shifts to what Knightley calls the “thou” and she says, “I may fancy you him,” then kicks it into reverse with “you have a look of his sometimes.” His cousin may naturally have Edmund’s look occasionally; but the you-to-his transition immediately after the “his” that delineates his non-presence suggests Miss Crawford sees Fanny not just as a woman but as a man. She had no reason to expect to find Edmund in Fanny’s apartments but unconsciously sees Fanny as Edmund, she who has his looks as Miss Crawford looks at her—for, importantly, it is Miss Crawford who is doing the looking. But these are not Miss Crawford’s thoughts delivered by her; they are her thoughts as delivered via the indirect discourse of Austen, whose more manifest presence strolls in through the very next paragraph-door … alongside Edmund. Edmund’s entrance dispels Miss Crawford’s unconscious replacement of Fanny with Edmund and cancels the transitioning pronouns into solid signifieds appended to male and female bodies, as if to confirm biological destiny in the pronouns’ end destinations. And yet, it is significant that just as Miss Crawford associates Edmund’s “his” with Fanny’s “you” when she initially walks into the room, the narrator invites the same parallel between its own narrative voice and Edmund. Edmund’s identification with that voice, Austen Style, belies such a stoppering of pronouns and disproves Mr. Knightley’s MAN theory. Although Edmund, now apparently representing MAN,

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ports with him the rigorous decision that Fanny has “looks and [a] voice so truly feminine, as to be no very good picture of a man,” that the narrative voice itself hinges here on being both Miss Crawford—or the expression of her thoughts through the narrative voice—and Edmund as that voice’s synecdochical embodiment recalls Aristophanes’ angry inch searching for its other half. Miss Crawford begins by looking for Edmund—the female for the male, as do the heterosexual children of the moon—and she does so, curiously, by looking at Fanny, where she sees him in her, which embraces both the queer longings of the children of the earth—two women longing for each other—and the longings of the moon, since Miss Crawford is a woman looking for a man. That Fanny is no very good picture of a man also signals that men—that MAN-ness Knightley decrees—can be feminine and the feminine masculine. Simultaneously, it affirms the idea that looking—that is, the social construction of gender, let’s plainly say—constructs gender through what is expected even while undercutting those expectations. Miss Crawford thinks of Fanny as a woman yet expects to find in her a man. Women, in other words, might be men and identify as men even if, physically, they might present as mostly stereotypical women in feature where those features are defined on the basis of cultural standards of cisheteronormativity. The Edmund/Miss Crawford creature here, meanwhile, by virtue of Edmund’s identification with the Voice, points toward this other gender altogether that is neither simply male nor female, and is, still more unexpectedly, both queer and heterosexual. Here, then, we have three different genders and multiple sexualities: male, female, as well as queer and straight. The evidence of gender fluidity in this scene sunders the novel’s resolutely dimorphic gendered matchmaking. We can thus see what Ftacek means in her reading of Byron’s Manfred, and, really, of the Romantic era in general: Byron’s poem is transgender in that Manfred sees in his sister, Astarte, himself as his own ideal of himself and she finds the same in him. 35 That it is Fanny and Edmund who ultimately wind up together confirms this. For as we have seen looking through Miss Crawford’s narrated eyes at Fanny and seeing Edmund, Miss Crawford’s eyes, since they are narrated by the narrative voice, and since Edmund and the voice are the same, are Edmund’s eyes. That is, it is Edmund’s eyes looking out through Miss Crawford’s eyes—thus further cementing how narrative form cements their trans-ness in Ftacek's sense in this scene—that thus look at Fanny. Miss Crawford is not just unconsciously looking for Edmund; he is already there, in and through her and in Fanny (“I may fancy you him”). Edmund therefore sees, looking through Miss Crawford looking at Fanny, himself, what is, then, in his beloved, his own transgendered and desired version of himself as a woman because we know (even if he does not yet) that he desires Fanny and that Fanny looks like Edmund. He sees himself in her as her. She is “truly feminine” and “no very good picture of a man” because she resembles Edmund not as a man but as a woman, the woman he wants to be. The other turn of this screw is that since Fanny looks like Edmund and what Edmund sees, when he looks

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at Fanny, is his ideal transgender self, a female version of himself, then this means Edmund also looks like Fanny so, correspondingly the other way around, Fanny’s looks, which are Edmund’s looks, must look out from Edmund and be seen by Fanny. In his, she sees the desired, male version of herself, sees herself in him as him. In you, she says to him, I see the him that is me. In you, he says to her, I see the her that is me. In claiming the other, this nonbinaristic marriage unravels the binaristic logic of rigid gender distinctions and proposes that in the man-Fanny that Fanny wants to be and the woman-Edmund that Edmund wants to be, is a loving look to reclaim pronouns, to self-identify, finally, as an “I.” This pedagogical scene of self-discovery is thus no mere passing joke: for “little girls” to sit down in those “schoolroom chairs not meant for theatre”—not meant for pretending to be other than who you are, that is—as Miss Crawford first appears to appear, is actually to learn who you really are, your “I.” And in this, we receive another of Austen’s trans lessons. Those “little girls” might just grow up to be big boys. The singular “I” that obtrudes, seemingly from out of nowhere, to opine on the tidyings-up of the fairy-tale endings of both Austen’s most malevolent work, Mansfield Park, and her most propulsive, consumable presentation of heady happiness, Pride and Prejudice, evinces this same lesson. Such a rare occurrence in her novels, the “I” jars the reader out of the indirect discourse and, like the nonbinary yearnings writ large across the rolling hills of Austen’s countryside romances, mesmerizes with its gaudy abutment. When it speaks in Mansfield Park, it comments on Edmund’s and Fanny’s nonbinary nature. “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery,” it says. “I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can,” it continues, “impatient to restore every body, not greatly in fault themselves, to tolerable comfort, and to have done with all the rest” (MP 533). The “I” hints at its purpose that it cannot carry out—literally to “restore every body” to their proper self their proper gender, to restore Edmund to his woman self and Fanny to her man self. Differently, the “I” in Pride and Prejudice announces that 191Mrs. Bennet remains as irrepressibly insensible as ever: I wish I could say, for the sake of her family, that the accomplishment of her earnest desire in the establishment of so many of her children, produced so happy an effect as to make her a sensible, amiable, well-informed woman for the rest of her life. (P&P 427) She remains, indeed, who she is, through and through. A good thing, according to Austen, being able to be who you are. Despite Mrs. Bennet’s uninformed, clueless bliss, the establishment of her daughters in appropriate heterosexual marriages perpetuates the cisheteropatriarchy, and the status quo is maintained. As Fanny looks at Edmund and sees in him the man that she is, and Edmund looks at Fanny and sees in her the woman that he is, still the son, in Austen’s world,

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remains to come. It is the very freedom Austen wants, the freedom to say, not, “I do,” but “I.” And it is in this “I” that we can hear the nonbinary son-to-come appearing only as the herald of his disappearance.

Notes 1 Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, “Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl,” Critical Inquiry 17, no. 4 (1991), 818–837. D. A. Miller, Jane Austen, or the Secret of Style (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 28. See also Devoney Looser, “Queering the Work of Jane Austen Is Nothing New,” The Atlantic, July 7, 2017, www.theatlantic.com/ entertainment/archive/2017/07/queering-the-work-of-jane-austen-is-nothing-new/ 533418/; Dean Spade, Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of the Law (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015), xv. 2 Heather Love, “Queer,” Transgender Studies Quarterly 1, nos. 1–2 (2014), 172. 3 Spade, 13–14. 4 C. Riley Snorton, Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017), xiv. 5 Ibid., 7. 6 Kadji Amin, “Temporality,” Transgender Studies Quarterly 1, nos. 1–2 (2014), 219. 7 Thomas Lacquer, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990); Michael Kramp, Disciplining Love: Austen and the Modern Man (Colombus: Ohio State University Press, 2007), xiii, 3. 8 See Mary Poovey, The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer: Ideology as Style in the Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, and Jane Austen (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984); and Claudia L. Johnson, Jane Austen: Women, Politics, and the Novel (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1988). 9 Love, 172. 10 Miller, 2. 11 Ibid., 3. 12 For more on effeminacy in the eighteenth century, see: Declan Kavanagh, Effeminate Years: Literature, Politics, and Aesthetics in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Britain (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2017). 13 Miller, 9. 14 Ibid., 33. 15 Ibid., 34. 16 Perhaps trans has no final destination. See Jack Halberstam, Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variability (Oakland: University of California Press, 2018), 4: the “asterisk modifies the meaning of transitivity by refusing to situate transition in relation to a destination, a final form, a specific shape, or an established configuration of desire and identity.” See also Susan Stryker, Transgender History: The Roots of Today’s Revolution (New York: Seal Press, 2017), 1: “it the movement across a socially imposed boundary away from an unchosen starting place, rather than any particular destination or mode of transition, that best characterizes the concept of transgender that I develop here.” 17 John Cameron Mitchell, director, Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Burbank: Warner Home Video, 2001) [DVD]. 18 Plato, The Symposium, ed. David K. O’Conner, trans. Percy Bysshe Shelley (South Bend: St. Augustine’s Press, 2002), 26–27. 19 “The Origin of Love,” in Mitchell. 20 For some of the many complications regarding sex and gender, see the entry on “gender” in Stryker, 14–17. 21 Miller, 51. 22 Spade, 19.

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23 Hil Malatino, Trans Care (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2020), 26–32; Eliza Steinbock, Shimmering Image: Trans Cinema, Embodiment, and the Aesthetics of Change (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2019), 4. Jack Halberstam, Wild Things: The Disorder of Desire (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2020), 22. 24 Deirdre Le Faye, The World of Jane Austen (London: Francis Lincoln, 2003), 116–117. 25 Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, ed. Pat Rogers, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 340. All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text. 26 For a different historicist take on Austen, see: William H. Galperin, The Historical Austen (University Park: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005). 27 Malatino, 6–7. 28 Julia Ftacek, “A Bit Lit: Andy Kesson,” https://abitlit.co/history/the-transgendereighteenth-century-julia-ftacek-on-trans-literature-from-swift-to-byron/ [podcast]. 29 Jordy Rosenberg, Confessions of the Fox (New York: Penguin, 2018). 30 Ftacek. 31 Park Honan, Jane Austen: Her Life (New York: Ballantine Books, 1989), 160 gives the full context for Austen’s knowledge of homosexuality from her brother’s experiences at sea. In Mansfield Park, Mary Crawford makes a pun of this: “Certainly, my home at my uncle’s brought me acquainted with a circle of admirals. Of Rears, and Vices, I saw enough. Now, do not be suspecting me of a pun, I entreat.” See Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, ed. John Wiltshire, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 197–198 (original emphasis). All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text. 32 Alex Woloch, The One versus the Many: Minor Characters and the Space of the Protagonist in the Novel (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003). 33 Susan Fraiman, “The Humiliation of Elizabeth Bennet,” in Unbecoming Women: British Women Writers and the Novel of Development (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003), 59–87. 34 Jane Austen, Emma, ed. Richard Cronin and Dorothy McMillan, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 64, 321, 464. All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text. 35 Ftacek.

Bibliography Amin, Kadji. “Temporality,” Transgender Studies Quarterly 1, nos. 1–2 (2014): 219–222. Austen, Jane. Emma. Edited by Richard Cronin and Dorothy McMillan. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Austen, Jane. Mansfield Park. Edited by John Wiltshire. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Edited by Pat Rogers. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Butler, Marilyn. Jane Austen and the War of Ideas. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975. Fraiman, Susan. Unbecoming Women: British Women Writers and the Novel of Development. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003. Ftacek, Julia. “A Bit Lit: Andy Kesson.” https://abitlit.co/history/the-transgender-eight eenth-century-julia-ftacek-on-trans-literature-from-swift-to-byron/ [podcast]. Galperin, William H. The Historical Austen. University Park: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005. Halberstam, Jack. Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variability. Oakland: University of California Press, 2018.

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Halberstam, Jack. Wild Things: The Disorder of Desire. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2020. Honan, Park. Jane Austen: Her Life. New York: Ballantine Books, 1989. Johnson, Claudia L. Jane Austen: Women, Politics, and the Novel. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1988. Kavanagh, Declan. Effeminate Years: Literature, Politics, and Aesthetics in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Britain. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2017. Kramp, Michael. Disciplining Love: Austen and the Modern Man. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2007. Lacquer, Thomas. Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990. Le Faye, Deirdre. The World of Jane Austen. London: Francis Lincoln, 2003. Looser, Devoney. “Queering the Work of Jane Austen Is Nothing New.” The Atlantic, July 7, 2017. www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/07/. Love, Heather. “Queer.” Transgender Studies Quarterly 1, nos. 1–2 (2014): 172–176. Malatino, Hil. Trans Care. Minneapolis: Univeristy of Minnesota Press, 2020. Miller, D. A. Jane Austen, or the Secret of Style. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003. Mitchell, John Cameron, director. Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Burbank: Warner Home Video, 2001 [DVD]. Plato. The Symposium. Edited by David K. O’Conner, translated by Percy Bysshe Shelley. South Bend: St. Augustine’s Press, 2002. Poovey, Mary. The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer: Ideology as Style in the Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, and Jane Austen. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984. Rosenberg, Jordy. Confessions of the Fox. New York: Penguin, 2018. Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. “Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl.” Critical Inquiry 17, no. 4 (1991): 818–837. Snorton, C. Riley. Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017. Spade, Dean. Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of the Law. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015. Steinbock, Eliza. Shimmering Image: Trans Cinema, Embodiment, and the Aesthetics of Change. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2019. Stryker, Susan. Transgender History: The Roots of Today’s Revolution. New York: Seal Press, 2017. Woloch, Alex. The One versus the Many: Minor Characters and the Space of the Protagonist in the Novel. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003.

10 PLEASURE AND DANGER Theorizing Adolescence in and through Austen Shawn Lisa Maurer

In 2017, Oxford World’s Classics issued a new edition of Austen’s early work under the title Teenage Writings, edited by Kathryn Sutherland and Freya Johnston.1 Whereas the noun “teen” dates back to the seventeenth century as a description of “the years of the life of any person of which the numbers end in -teen, i.e. from thirteen to nineteen,” the adjective “teenage,” “designating a person in his or her teens,” receives its first citation only in 1912.2 The editors’ title describes this specific collection of texts, written from 1787 to 1793, when Austen was between eleven and seventeen (so a “tween” as well as a teen).3 Their choice of the descriptor “Teenage” for these writings, with its markedly twentiethcentury perspective, speaks to more than just Austen’s extraordinary juvenilia. Seemingly anachronistic, the word captures something remarkably new, even contemporary, about all of Austen’s writing, a quality encapsulated most distinctively in its representation of adolescence itself. Two hundred years after the publication of her novels, the iconic status of Austen continues to exert a strong hold over readers, scholars, and the many viewers who have come to her writing through popular film, television, and web adaptations—some pitched directly to the lucrative market of teen viewers and readers.4 Austen’s writing has compelled readers in part by making visible a stage of life we now term “adolescence” and endowing it with the qualities we increasingly understand as a function of biological brain development. Although the distinct developmental category of adolescence did not actually exist at the time when Austen was writing, her fiction makes clear that many of the qualities we now readily associate with this particular developmental stage were, for the good or ill of her teen characters, vividly apparent in her writing. This was not simply a matter of characterization or plot. Austen’s fiction, facilitated by the flexible formal structures of her innovative narrative technique, makes imaginable DOI: 10.4324/9781003181309-14

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a new and particularly modern conception of adolescence: a distinct life stage that might be valued for its passion and possibility, and one necessary to the broader developmental progression toward adulthood. This essay will demonstrate that Austen’s narrative strategies enable characters as well as readers to explore and experience the pleasure as well as the danger of adolescence. In particular, free indirect speech becomes a means of bringing the adolescent exuberance of Austen’s juvenilia into her mature novels. I scaffold my argument with “evidence” from three distinct, yet at times overlapping, areas of inquiry: feminist investigations of women’s crucial role in the emergence and expansion of the English novel, with particular attention to that genre’s relation to conduct literature; developments in the field known as “the history of emotion”; and recent findings in cognitive neuroscience, with specific focus upon the teenage brain. Although rarely articulated as such by the writers themselves, fiction provided women authors of the long eighteenth century with an arena in which to explore the kinds of feelings and desires prohibited by conduct literature—emotions viewed as inimical to a proper and marriageable young woman. Exploring the shifting contours of our historical understanding of emotion, in particular the change from a notion of “passion” as an external force exerting its pressures from without to an idea of “emotion” as an internal, psychological state, provides context for the sense of internal instability crucial to Austen’s innovations of adolescence. At the same time, even this emerging field has paid scant attention to the specific emotional qualities related to life stages. That gap may be filled in part by recent advances in the field of cognitive neuroscience, research that has allowed us to see, and see into, the developing brains of adolescents. This work shows us why, in the words of psychologist Laurence Steinberg, “Nearly everyone recalls adolescence more powerfully than any other stage of life.”5 Insights from this field help us connect the experiences of characters with those of readers, thereby furthering our understanding of both the newness and the staying power of Austen’s groundbreaking depictions of adolescence. Austen was certainly not the first novelist to depict female adolescents. However, by challenging the “virtue in distress” model that drives so many of the eighteenth century’s most celebrated works, her narratives, in which the greatest threats come from within, accentuate the characteristics of adolescence itself as a recognizable life stage.6 Thus, in contrast to such famously beleaguered young women as Samuel Richardson’s Pamela and Clarissa, Frances Burney’s Evelina, and Ann Radcliffe’s many Gothic heroines, Austen’s adolescent protagonists are imperiled less by tyrannical figures of authority or oppressive social norms than by their own volatile internal states and often reckless actions. In each of her six published novels, as well as her unpublished early work, Austen represents an astonishingly wide array of youthful characters who display qualities correlated to the developmental category we now call adolescence, including egocentrism, exuberance, depression and mood swings, defiance of authority, and risky behavior.

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By providing us with a kind of developmental framework for codifying adolescence as a recognizable life stage before such classification actually existed, Austen’s novels reveal how literature might offer a forum for exposing and unpacking a theoretical perspective. Even before the first recorded use of the word “teenage,” G. Stanley Hall precipitated the psychological study of adolescence in 1904 with the publication of his monumental two-volume work Adolescence: Its Psychology and Its Relations to Physiology, Anthropology, Sociology, Sex, Crime, and Religion. 7 Researchers generally define adolescence as “the stage of development that begins with puberty and ends with the economic and social independence of the young person from his or her parents”—that is, the ages from ten to the early–mid-twenties.8 Such a developmental approach to Austen’s fiction accommodates the traditional view of her as a socially conservative novelist whose work, focused on the period of courtship, explores her protagonists’ efforts to negotiate conflicts between social duty and individual desire, while also revealing how and why she allowed her characters to explore and even rebel as they mature. For Austen, as for the writers of conduct literature, the headstrong, emotional, egocentric, and risk-taking behavior of her adolescent characters threatens their ability to reach the desired end of every marriage plot—a conjugal relationship that is both financially stable and emotionally fruitful. At the same time, Austen gives us adolescence in a new way, in large part by providing those same characters with a narrative stage on which to act out their feelings, to try out the kinds of dangerous behaviors which, for earlier writers, would have had them at best seduced and banished or at worst killed off.9 And because that narrative stage is itself temporally bounded, a stage of life, Austen’s representation of even the most tumultuous adolescent behavior is rendered tolerable by our confidence that these years will eventually end. By framing (and containing) adolescence in this manner, Austen differs from her novelistic predecessors in two important ways: first, by recognizing that the biggest threats to adolescent identity formation are largely internal; and second, by allowing her narratives to linger upon, rather than foreclose, both the pleasures and the dangers of this stage of life. Crucially, Austen’s groundbreaking adolescent content is made possible by her comparably innovative use of narrative form. Using the technique of “free indirect speech” or “free indirect discourse,” Austen’s narrative can enter a character’s consciousness, much in the mode of a first-person narrator, while simultaneously retaining the critical (and sometimes even satirical) distance provided by a third-person narrative structure. By thus combining sympathy with judgment in her depiction of adolescent figures, Austen’s fiction creates an expressive and imaginative space for displaying precisely those heightened feelings and attendant dangers seen as inimical to the “proper” and hence marriageable young lady. Through the internal struggles faced by these characters, Austen can explore, and readers experience, the potent emotional and erotic susceptibility of adolescence.

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Theorizing adolescence in and through Austen is therefore a multi-pronged process. First, it allows us to read Austen’s adolescent protagonists against the critical grain by expanding the framework of our approach. When seen through a developmental lens, the exaggerated sentiment that drives Marianne Dashwood to risky behaviors and near death can be viewed instead as a depiction of the heightened emotion, mood swings, and dismissal of authority we now accept as common to the adolescent life stage; Elizabeth Bennet’s dangerous misreading of both Darcy and Wickham can be understood as highlighting the psychological vulnerability of a female dependent upon the perceptions of others (in particular, eligible men). Moreover, by foregrounding our own contemporary beliefs about what adolescence is or should be, a life-stage studies framework allows us to unpack our own critical responses to many of Austen’s youthful characters.10 Equally important, reading Austen through an adolescent perspective unsettles the conventional understanding of Austen’s celebrated restraint, often seen in the contrast between her early unpublished writing and her mature novels. In this way, Austen’s fiction becomes a kind of misconduct book, a narrative record of precisely those behaviors perceived as inimical to the ideal and marriageable young woman. By thinking about Austen through theories of adolescence, we see how she makes visible the kinds of disruption and wildness that more conservative readings of her novels have often failed to acknowledge. Although Austen’s novels stage adolescence in new ways, they also demonstrate the need for self-awareness and psychological development: thus, while Pride and Prejudice’s incorrigibly immature Lydia Bennet is allowed to transgress, she must ultimately be relegated to society’s margins. Paradoxically, then, Austen’s ability to give adolescence its due is made possible by the very termination of that exploratory period in the desired end of all courtship novels: a happy marriage. For that happy ending to transpire, characters must achieve “self-regulation,” the capacity Steinberg calls “the central task of adolescence.”11 More than any other term, “self-regulation” captures the complexity of Austen’s characters’ coming of age, a process that entails not just self-knowledge and development, but also control over impulses, desires, and actions. Recent findings in neuroscience can explain why feeling is so intense, experience so pleasurable, and risk so remote during the adolescent stage of life; in eighteenth-century conduct literature, no less than more recent books on how to parent teenagers, we learn the ineffectiveness of simply prohibiting those behaviors that might be dangerous, risky, problematic. Austen was, like the majority of women writers who preceded and followed her, constrained both artistically and ideologically by a system of beliefs about female nature that Mary Poovey encapsulates in the term “proper lady”: “a radically simplified stereotype of femininity that branded as ‘monstrous’ any unconventional attempt to explore, develop, or express the female self”; it was, moreover, “a belief system that effectively inhibited many women’s ability to understand, much less to satisfy, their own desires or needs.”12 Although one important aim of this ideology was to constrain the emotional responsiveness long

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associated with women by naturalizing its very suppression—resulting in the characteristic Nancy Cott has usefully termed “passionlessness”—fiction provided women with imaginative opportunities through which to explore precisely the kinds of thoughts, feelings, and desires prohibited by the injunction to modesty.13 In an era of sensibility that was keenly attentive to affairs of the heart and to the moral value of feeling, novels became a powerful canvas for depicting those realms of female experience powered by the special qualities of feminine receptivity. As genres that emerged simultaneously in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, conduct literature addressed to women and fiction centered upon women’s lives can be seen to represent two parallel yet sometimes intersecting paths: the former focused on the prescriptive containment of both feeling and action, the latter on imagining a broad range of possible female experiences. In promulgating a set of model behaviors, the static and fear-driven nature of conduct books placed an unremitting emphasis on young women’s need to contain the energies and passions of youth in order to retain the modest reputation requisite for marriage. By offering space for learning through doing, fiction, by contrast, allowed authors not only to imagine what such experience might entail but also to involve readers in that creative process. Yet novel writing also functioned as a double-edged sword, empowering women writers to cut through prescriptive norms while often serving to instantiate many of those same qualities. Because Austen’s protagonists are driven, as well as often riven, by their own desires, they can engage not in the suppression of self, but rather in the crucial task of self-regulation, necessarily a more complex, active, and also developmental process. Moving through adolescence as a crucial stage in lifelong learning, Austen’s characters progress toward adulthood, exemplified in the marriage that functions as each novel’s end—its conclusion as well as its goal. By highlighting adolescence as a necessary period of psychological and emotional growth, Austen’s writing responds to a broader evolution in domestic fiction, one that moves the center of energy from external to internal forces, from archetypal passions to individualized emotions. As Ruth Perry writes in Novel Relations: Battles with dragons and usurpers had been moved inside the psyche; the culture was debating whether the dragons to slay were a person’s uncontrollable selfish passions or those old-fashioned authorities, parents and friends, who advised prudence, obedience, and a damping-down of individual impulse. The nature and meaning of sexual feelings were scrutinized as never before, and the novel was a safe space in which to try on these feelings imaginatively in all their permutations and consequences.14 This literary transformation is in turn made possible by shifts in the ways in which feeling itself was understood. Thus, if the title Teenage Writings embodies a distinctly modern—or at least early twentieth-century—perspective on Austen’s early work, the word “teenage” also connects us to the shift in meaning in

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another crucial word: “emotion.” Originally “an agitation of mind; an excited mental state,” the term has come to mean “any strong mental or instinctive feeling, as pleasure, grief, hope, fear, etc., deriving esp. from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationship with others.”15 In From Passions to Emotions: The Creation of a Secular Psychological Category, Thomas Dixon documents the “recent invention” of emotion as a category in English psychology to represent modes of feeling that had previously been classified under categories related to passions, affections, and sentiments.16 While the vexed and complex history of this shift is beyond the scope of this essay, I want to call attention to a concomitant transformation in our understanding of how emotions are understood, particularly in the movement from external affects to internal feelings. Helen Tissari notes that while the term “passion” had suggested “something that was ‘suffered,’” or a “(com)motion” in the human mind caused by actors and objects outside the mind, such as demons … the noun emotion no longer suggested an outside agent causing the “motion”—it could refer to a motion originating inside the mind when it was experienced.17 In the shift from passion to emotion, then, she sees the move from a “medieval … to an anthropocentric world view where the person experiencing the emotion was more central than the outside force affecting him or her.”18 Austen, I contend, takes this shift to a new narrative level when she makes her female characters’ internal emotional experiences the source of their distress. Significantly, adherence to a proper lady ideology demanded the suppression of exactly the intense feelings, both emotional and sexual, that emerge so powerfully during the adolescent life stage. Is it any accident, then, that the emerging genre of domestic fiction that, focused on courtship, encompasses a period beginning sometime after puberty and ending at marriage zeroes in on precisely that adolescent period of heightened awareness and exceptional receptivity, a time of life fraught with danger but also filled with potential? Although historians of emotion have generally overlooked the specific emotional developments that occur during adolescence, “the new science of adolescence”19 provides, by contrast, a rich source for understanding the “neuroplasticity,” or potential to change through experience, of the adolescent brain, a “malleability [that] makes adolescence a period of tremendous opportunity—and great risk.”20 Research in this field has exploded in recent years, due in large part to scientists’ ability to observe and monitor changes through the technique known as fMRI—functional magnetic resonance imaging. Primed by hormones released in puberty, the brain enters a second period of intensified pliability in adolescence, activating processes that contribute to adolescents’ increased intellectual receptivity as well as their fluctuating emotions and propensity for risk-taking. While there may have been significant evolutionary benefits to adolescents’ increased learning capacity and high tolerance for risk during a period when survival

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depended on adapting to one’s environment and finding a mate, recent work in both neuroscience and developmental psychology has emphasized both the immense possibility and the increased vulnerability of this life stage—precisely the characteristics of adolescence I see illuminated in Austen’s writing.21 Also germane to my argument is what psychologists term the “reminiscence bump”—the extraordinary clarity of events and emotions experienced during adolescence. As Steinberg writes, “Something is different about how everyday experiences are encoded during adolescence, as if the brain’s ‘recording device’ is calibrated to be hypersensitive at this age.”22 He attributes the special intensity of adolescent experience to the ways in which the increased presence of neurotransmitters such as dopamine make the adolescent brain “chemically primed to encode memories more deeply,” so that even “ordinary events trigger stronger emotions.”23 It seems feasible, then, that such encoded memories have propelled the wealth of creative work produced across centuries focused on adolescent protagonists as well as readers’ powerful responses to coming-of-age narratives. In her brilliantly engaging study Jane on the Brain, Wendy Jones marshals evidence from neuroscience and psychological theory in support of her hypothesis that we, as readers, learn empathy by following the narrative and emotional trajectories of Austen’s characters as well as by cultivating, through the very process of reading itself, our own connections to those characters and their struggles.24 Neuroscientific advancements further enrich our ability to understand how internal experiences are made newly visible through Austen’s fiction. Experiments that pinpoint exactly which areas of the brain light up at particular moments and through specific events have significantly enhanced researchers’ comprehension of how adolescents think, feel, and act. Homing in on the specific brain changes that happen in the initial phase of adolescence elucidates why adolescents are “more easily excited, emotionally aroused, and prone to getting angry or upset.”25 At the same time, because these changes take place in the earliest stages of adolescence, they occur significantly earlier than changes in areas related to “self-regulation”: those “equally critical brain changes that strengthen our abilities to control our thoughts, emotions, and actions.”26 As a result of the considerable interval between the activation of emotionally turbocharged brain systems in early adolescence and the delayed maturation—until the early twenties—of systems that function to control feelings and desires, being a teenager, in Steinberg’s words, is akin to “driving a car with a sensitive gas pedal and bad brakes.”27 The areas of the brain that control emotion and self-regulation are known, respectively, as the “limbic system”—what neuroscientist Frances Jensen calls the “emotional center of the brain”28—and the “pre-frontal cortex”—the brain’s “chief executive officer, responsible for higher-level cognitive skills, like thinking ahead, evaluating the costs and benefits of different choices, and coordinating emotions and thoughts.”29 Characteristics almost universally associated with the earlier phase of adolescence—including emotional highs and lows, heightened sensitivity to the opinions of others, especially peers, and greater seeking after

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intense and exciting experiences—can all be attributed to the limbic system and in particular to the amygdala, which is involved in sexual and emotional behavior and is especially sensitive to the hormones released in puberty.30 The heightened pleasure response of adolescence can be ascribed to a small structure inside the limbic system called the nucleus accumbens, an area of the brain that grows larger from childhood to adolescence but smaller as we age into adulthood; “the nucleus accumbens both alerts us to the possibility of pleasure and motivates us when we are in a position to experience that pleasure.”31 Moreover, the brain remodeling that happens during puberty also changes the brain’s chemistry, which makes this system more easily aroused, especially in response to rewards. Dopamine plays a significant role here: Because adolescents are hypersensitive to dopamine, even small rewards, if they are immediate, trigger greater nucleus accumbens activity than larger, delayed rewards. Immediacy and emotion, in other words, are linked in the decision to take a risk and in the teen brain’s inability to delay gratification.32 Indeed, studies show that while adolescents experience a heightened sensitivity to rewards, “they’re actually less sensitive to losses.”33 Thus adolescence, especially in its earlier phase, is a time of intense sensation seeking, driven by the desire for rewards both physical and social. Steinberg notes that it is therefore “easier to change an adolescent’s behavior by motivating him with the prospect of a potential reward than by threatening him with a potential punishment.”34 This fact may help us understand why such threats, ranging from the horror stories found throughout conduct literature to modern-day parental prohibitions, have little impact on adolescent behavior.35 While adolescent brains operate at peak learning efficiency due to their enormous plasticity, other faculties remain immature, in particular those connected to the regulation of emotions and to “attention, self-discipline, task-completion.”36 This is due to the fact that the brain’s pre-frontal cortex is far less developed than the limbic system. Steinberg provides a helpful analogy: Decision-making is the product of two competing brain systems—a reward system that is on the lookout for more immediate stimulation, and a self-regulation system that keeps impulses in check and encourages us to think ahead … With puberty, weight is added to the reward system’s side of the seesaw. There simply isn’t enough weight on the self-regulation side of the plank to balance this added force, which grows heavier until about sixteen or so.37 Ballast is added as the pre-frontal cortex develops, leading to increasing equilibrium over time. Yet the delay helps to explain adolescents’ “mood swings, irritability, impulsiveness, and explosiveness” as well as their “inability to focus, to follow through, and to connect with adults; and their temptations to … engage

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in other risky behavior.”38 Adolescents’ sensation seeking, motivated by an increased sensitivity to experience and pleasure, is coupled with little ability to process or incorporate risk, which often results in what scientists call “suboptimal choice behavior.”39 From Austen’s day to our own, we know far too well the dangerous forms such “suboptimal” choices may take—from Lydia Bennet’s running away from Brighton in the company of a known libertine to college students’ binge drinking and, most recently, partying during a pandemic.40 Precisely because of the brain’s heightened receptivity and functioning during adolescence, such problems result not from a lack of understanding but rather from adolescents’ imperfect ability to act on what they know. According to Steinberg, adolescents can exercise self-control just as well as or even better than adults when they know they will receive some sort of reward for doing so; but being upset, excited, or tired has a greater negative impact on pre-frontal functioning during adolescence than it does during adulthood because the relevant neural circuits are not yet fully mature in adolescent brains. Fatigue and stress, moreover, have particularly powerful effects at this age.41 The striking resonance of these ideas for Austen’s first two published novels can provide us with a compelling example of literature’s ability to elucidate a theoretical perspective, rather than the more traditional use of theory to inform literary works. In Sense and Sensibility’s Marianne Dashwood and Pride and Prejudice’s Lydia Bennet we find remarkable portraits of adolescent characters overwhelmed by intense feelings that neither they nor the people around them know how to manage, let alone contain. Devastated first by the sudden death of her father and then by her equally unexpected abandonment by Willoughby, Marianne, at seventeen, visits London in a state of apathy and increasing depression, roused only by the thought of meeting her lover. His denial of any attachment, first in a public assembly and subsequently in a brutal break-up letter, drives her to a state she will later recognize as a form of suicidal ideation. Marianne’s mother, while loving, is wholly ineffective in guiding her daughter through her difficulties: her version of what Steinberg calls “permissive parenting” serves only to leave Marianne more alone in her pain, and her frailty exacerbated by her inability to eat or sleep.42 It is only after Marianne’s life-threatening illness, which she says has given her “leisure and calmness for serious reflection,” that she learns the critical skill of self-regulation.43 Elsewhere I have described Pride and Prejudice’s Lydia Bennet as a quintessential teenager.44 Along with the second Eliza of Sense and Sensibility, whose seduction and abandonment by Willoughby transpires entirely offstage, and Persuasion’s Louisa Musgrove, who experiences a life-changing fall from the Cobb at Lyme Regis, Lydia exemplifies the form of adolescent risk-taking that is most fully expressed through unconstrained sexual vitality and activity. Fifteen at the start of the novel, she has two main obsessions: millinery and soldiers. Aided and abetted by her sister, Kitty, and then by her young married friend, Mrs. Forster, Lydia’s relentless pursuit of army officers takes her first to Brighton and subsequently,

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with Wickham, to London, where she will be made “Lydia Wickham” only through Darcy’s efforts—and his money. Her flagrant refusal to take any responsibility for her behavior, and thus ever to mature, provides a stark contrast to the developmental trajectory of Marianne, who, two years after her illness, becomes “the mistress of a family, and the patroness of a village” (S&S 430). As readers of these novels, we may feel great sympathy for Sense and Sensibility’s Elinor Dashwood and Pride and Prejudice’s Elizabeth Bennet—older sisters whose persistent efforts to reform their siblings’ problematic ways go virtually unheeded. In particular, by granting narrative authority to Elinor and Elizabeth, whose disapproving attitudes largely shape our views of such adolescent acting out, Austen presents, in turn, a perspective largely critical of the emotional and behavioral excesses that derive from and are typical aspects of the adolescent life stage (see above). Yet, Austen’s decision to withhold access to Marianne’s thoughts and feelings—a narrative strategy that places us, like Elinor, largely in the dark regarding the specifics of Marianne’s relationship to Willoughby—has the ironic effect of allowing space for Marianne’s highly unorthodox courtship, with its dangerous behaviors (the gift of a horse, the cutting of a lock of hair, the surreptitious visit to Allenham) happening overseen, overheard, or offstage. Austen employs an opposite tactic with Lydia, who is, like Emma’s Miss Bates, a character we love to tune out, even ignore. Although we are only once granted direct access to Lydia’s thoughts,45 her relentless existence on the page, whether she is directly in the room or a presence in Elizabeth’s mind, exerts a potent effect on all of the novel’s characters—and on Elizabeth most of all. Notably, while both Elinor and Elizabeth attempt to assume the parental role left vacant by their ineffectual parents and struggle to amend the behavior—or even the thinking—of their highly emotional and risk-taking sisters, their efforts remain unsuccessful. As siblings they lack the authority of parents, a fact that both Elinor and Elizabeth must accept after failed attempts at intervention. While critics have often noted the lack of good parenting throughout Austen’s novels— her protagonists’ biological parents are usually dead, feckless, or problematic, and their parental surrogates no better—the incompetence of these parental figures speaks to the larger issue of self-regulation so fundamental to the adolescent life stage. Both Steinberg and Jensen direct their books to parents: Jensen believes that the key job of parents is to serve as the “filter, the regulator, to provide the sense of calm [teenage] brains can’t yet provide,”46 while Steinberg advocates the kind of parenting he terms “authoritative,” in which “the primary issue isn’t whether a child is obedient or happy, but whether the child is mature—capable of self-regulation”; therefore, “the most important goal is orchestrating a smooth transition from external control to internal control.”47 That lack of smooth transition forms, I maintain, the emotional and often the narrative center of Austen’s novels. Because protagonists lack the external control of parental regulation, they are left to fend for themselves and thus to make mistakes, to get it wrong, to feel too much, or the wrong things—in other words, to be adolescents.

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Given Austen’s vivid depictions of adolescent emotion and waywardness, why then do we continue to think of the mature Austen primarily or even solely as a novelist of restraint and limitation, as a painter on “the little bit (two Inches wide) of Ivory,”48 to attach to her published work such words as “balanced, measured, understated, disciplined, decorous, nuanced”?49 This reading comes, at least in part, from the explicit contrast between her mature novels and her teenage writings. Austen’s early writing could be described by a very different set of adjectives: irreverent, outrageous, indecent, at times even violent. We now know that Austen learned her craft by reading and by doing; the early work that so skillfully imitates and so often parodies novelistic structures and sentimental excesses (often with direct reference to contemporary publications) testifies to the enormous scope of her reading as well as to her status as “a close and observant reader as well as a mocking one.”50 Even at this young age, Austen’s own adolescent rebellion is evident in the ways that she deconstructed the formal elements of these readings, a tactic seen as early as “The beautifull Cassandra,” “a novel in twelve Chapters” that includes not just chapter headings but also a dedication and concluding “Finis.” In each microcosmic chapter, as Cassandra embarks on a series of picaresque adventures that include stealing a bonnet, eating food for which she refuses to pay, and traveling alone in a carriage, the young Austen challenges norms of modesty, decorum, and domesticity, expectations that would be further satirized by the excessive appetites—for adventure, for food, for alcohol, for men—as well as by the selfishness and violent propensities of her juvenilia’s many adolescent characters (J 53–56). In their laudable attention to these brilliant early compositions—which, published only in the mid-twentieth century, came late into Austen’s oeuvre—critics have traditionally made a clear distinction, created a kind of literary firewall, between them and her published novels.51 As a result, attention to the energy and exuberance of the early writing has been seen in a diachronic model, an “intimation of things to come.”52 Embedded in this distinction between early and late work is a powerful sense of loss. Thus, in her introduction to Catharine and Other Writing, Margaret Doody notes that in the juvenilia, “Austen’s genius here is not yet tamed by young-ladyhood, and we can see how much she lost as well as gained in writing her later publishable novels.”53 The brilliance of her parodic voice, we have come to understand, was necessarily dulled, suppressed, repressed even, by the exigencies of publication, by the ostensible demands of a readership outside the treasured circle of family and friends. While we might, therefore, catch the occasional glimpse of the wicked teenage Austen in the published novels, these works of Austen’s maturity, even in their depiction of adolescents, stand fundamentally opposed to the more anarchic, excessive, and satirical adolescent energies of those teenage writings. Or perhaps not. This progressive (whether for good or bad) way of understanding the relation between Austen’s teenage and adult works is, I would propose, analogous to the “lost wax” process of metal casting, in which a molten metal is poured into a mold

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that has been created by means of a wax model. Once the mold is made, the wax model is melted and drained away. The wax of adolescent energy in Austen’s juvenilia, I contend, is not lost but rather becomes part of the very material used to create some of her most remarkable and even characteristic writing. In this model, the bridge between Austen’s early and mature work is an explicitly formal one: namely, Austen’s innovative use of the technique we call free indirect speech or free indirect discourse (hereafter FID). While Austen did not invent this technique, she developed—indeed perfected—it in ways that have made it often synonymous with the third-person voice of her novels. In FID, a text’s dominant narrative style (typically third person and past tense) incorporates, either in brief snatches or over longer passages, words emanating from a particular character, without such tags as “he said” or “she thought” to make their attribution explicit. Character and narrator momentarily merge and move apart again. Combined with psychonarration (the narrator’s description of a character’s mental state), Austen’s “narrative style [allows her] to handle moral and emotional complexities, including the internal divisions” that earlier heroines lacked.54 At the same time, most critics fail to acknowledge the way in which Austen’s most famous stylistic element includes a significant degree of what Daniel Gunn calls “parodic imitation,”55 in which sometimes the narrator imitates a character’s voice, or sometimes a character does so—recalling the very “liminal” or “hybrid” narrative technique that marks and indeed defines Austen’s teenage writing. Through the parody that suffuses Austen’s FID, adolescent energy and exuberance are therefore not lost but rather transformed. Very early in Sense and Sensibility, we are exposed to selfishness and manipulation as potent as anything in the juvenilia in the person of Fanny Dashwood. In a passage that starts with narrative description but quickly moves to capture the character’s own voice, we learn: Mrs. John Dashwood did not at all approve of what her husband intended to do for his sisters. To take three thousand pounds from the fortune of their dear little boy would be impoverishing him to the most dreadful degree. She begged him to think again on the subject. How could he answer it to himself to rob his child, and his only child too, of such a sum? (S&S 9) While the paragraph continues for two more wonderful sentences, Austen then moves to straight dialogue. Perhaps she so enjoyed the representation of her character’s manipulations that she devoted the remainder of the chapter to the ensuing conversation between Fanny and John. A more multivalent example occurs midway through Pride and Prejudice, during Elizabeth’s unexpected encounter with Darcy at Pemberley. After a few minutes of conversation, which the narrator describes as “some of the most uncomfortable of her life,” Darcy leaves abruptly and Elizabeth is reunited with the Gardiners; “wholly engrossed by her own feelings, [she] followed them in silence. She was overpowered by shame and vexation.” The passage continues with FID:

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Her coming there was the most unfortunate, the most ill-judged thing in the world! How strange must it appear to him! In what a disgraceful light might it not strike so vain a man! It might seem as if she had purposely thrown herself in his way again! Oh! why did she come? or, why did he thus come a day before he was expected? (P&P 279) Here Elizabeth’s agitation is marked by the multiple exclamatory sentences, by the string of negative adjectives (unfortunate, ill-judged, strange, disgraceful), by her questions, and, subsequently, by her physiological response: “She blushed again and again over the perverseness of the meeting” (P&P 279). As pained regret becomes amazement becomes in turn curiosity and then hope (did he still have feelings for her?), FID allows us to experience, at each step, the powerful fluctuation in Elizabeth’s mood—from deep distress to guarded optimism. If the teenage writings are characterized by characters’ unfettered expression of desires, by their greed, their egotism, their movement and excess, then the selfcontrol and restraint exhibited by Elinor Dashwood would seem to exemplify the more subdued and nuanced qualities that supposedly define the mature works. And yet, if the ability to govern strong feelings functions for us as one important marker of adulthood, the need to engage in such acts of self-governance and even concealment can also be read as revealing to us, Austen’s readers, the existence of powerful, even overpowering emotions of a different kind. In contrast to Marianne, who wears her emotions on her sleeve, believing, like a true adolescent, that feelings must be performed in order to be real, Elinor’s comparable experience of grief remains largely invisible to any of the novel’s other characters. Elinor’s ability to control her emotions becomes immeasurably harder once she learns of the longstanding secret engagement between Lucy Steele and Edward Ferrars. Just as Elinor’s own recourse is wholly internal—there is no one to whom she can speak and unburden herself; she can only “think and be wretched” in solitude—the forms of representation available for this process are internal, too: an extended psychonarration that makes significant use of FID (S&S 155). Being Elinor, the “painful succession” of her considerations of Edward’s situation leads her to a position of sympathy, so that “she wept for him, more than for herself” (S&S 161). Yet, while Elinor seems to have it all under control, the enormity of her effort is revealed by Austen’s use of hyperbolic language worthy of a sentimental heroine, indeed of Marianne: And so well was she able to answer her own expectations, that when she joined [her family] at dinner only two hours after she had first suffered the extinction of all her dearest hopes, no one would have supposed from the appearance of the sisters, that Elinor was mourning in secret over obstacles which must divide her for ever from the object of her love. (S&S 161; emphasis added)

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Whose phrases are these? Do they come from the narrator or from Elinor herself? And how do we know? While the facts are true (she is in a kind of mourning for the loss of Edward to Lucy; her hopes have been destroyed), the language that Austen here employs is unlike anything we have heard the level-headed Elinor say or even think. Elinor’s distress, like that of her later counterpart Anne Elliot, can be seen only by the reader. Twenty-seven at the start of Persuasion, Anne Elliot is Austen’s only protagonist to fall outside the adolescent age range. Yet, no less than Austen’s previous novels, Persuasion is a work about adolescence, about the importance of giving adolescence its due, not in the emotional excesses of a Marianne Dashwood or the wild recklessness of a Lydia Bennet, but in the focused, intimate, and poignant portrayal of deep and lasting feeling, in the haunting relationship between memory and emotion. In Anne, we see a mature character whose fulfillment depends on her ability to retain and re-experience her adolescent passion for Frederick Wentworth, to regain her bloom, her desire, and ultimately her romantic dreams when he returns after a long absence. Upon first meeting Mrs. Croft, Captain Wentworth’s sister, Anne “hoped she had outlived the age of blushing; but the age of emotion she certainly had not.”56 In both of these novels, as throughout her mature oeuvre, Austen’s brilliant formal innovations make possible the complex understanding of adolescence as a new and significant “age of emotion.”

Notes 1 Jane Austen, Teenage Writings, ed. Kathryn Sutherland and Freya Johnston, Oxford World’s Classics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017). The previous Oxford World’s Classics edition, edited by Margaret Doody [1993], was titled Catharine and Other Writings (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009); Peter Sabor’s edited volume for the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen uses the more conventional term Juvenilia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006). All subsequent references to the latter source will be noted parenthetically in the text. Another edition, edited by Linda Bree, Peter Sabor, and Janet Todd, combines early and later unpublished works under the title Jane Austen’s Manuscript Works (Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 2013). The early works were first published as “Juvenilia,” in The Works of Jane Austen, Volume 6: Minor Works, ed. R. W. Chapman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1954). 2 Oxford English Dictionary (2nd edition) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), s.v. “Teen,” s.v. “Teenage.” 3 Austen, Teenage Writings, xxxvi–xxxvii. 4 See Clueless, written and directed by Amy Heckerling (Hollywood: Paramount Pictuires, 1995), and the popular web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, directed by Hank Green and Bernie Su (100 episodes, 2012–2013), www.youtube.com/user/ LizzieBennet. 5 Laurence Steinberg, Age of Opportunity: Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2014), 19. 6 See R. F. Brissenden, Virtue in Distress: Studies in the Novel of Sentiment from Richardson to Sade (London: Macmillan, 1974). 7 Stanley G. Hall, Adolescence: Its Psychology and Its Relations to Physiology, Anthropology, Sociology, Sex, Crime, and Religion, 2 vols. (New York: D. Appleton, 1904).

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8 Steinberg, Age of Opportunity, 5–6. While this duration is consistent with neuroscientific evidence showing that the brain does not mature completely until sometime during the early twenties, Jeffrey Jensen Arnett has added a new dimension to the study of adolescence by coining the term “emerging adulthood” for the stage of life between eighteen and the mid-to-late twenties: a period between adolescence and adulthood with its own distinct challenges and developmental tasks. See Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, Emerging Adulthood: The Winding Road from the Late Teens through the Twenties (2nd edition) (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015). 9 See Marilyn Butler, Jane Austen and the War of Ideas (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975), 189. 10 See Shawn Lisa Maurer, “At Seventeen: Adolescence in Sense and Sensibility,” Eighteenth-Century Fiction 24, no. 4 (2013), 721–750. 11 Steinberg, Age of Opportunity, 16. 12 Mary Poovey, The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer: Ideology as Style in the Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, and Jane Austen (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984), 35. 13 Nancy Cott, “Passionlessness: An Interpretation of Victorian Sexual Ideology 1790–1850,” Signs 4, no. 2 (1978), 219–236. 14 Ruth Perry, Novel Relations: The Transformation of Kinship in English Literature and Culture 1748–1818 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 287. 15 Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. “Emotion.” 16 Thomas Dixon, From Passions to Emotions: The Creation of a Secular Psychological Category (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 3, 2. 17 Helen Tissari, “Current Emotion Research in English Linguistics: Words for Emotions in the History of English,” Emotion Review 9, no. 1 (2017), 86. 18 Ibid. 19 This is from the subtitle of Steinberg’s book, Age of Opportunity. 20 Ibid., 9. 21 Ibid., 15. 22 Ibid., 21. 23 Ibid. 24 Wendy Jones, Jane on the Brain: Exploring the Science of Social Intelligence with Jane Austen (New York: Pegasus Books, 2017), ix–xix. 25 Steinberg, Age of Opportunity, 15. 26 Ibid. 27 Ibid. 28 Frances E. Jensen, M.D., with Amy Ellis Nutt, The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults (New York: Harper, 2015), 21. 29 Steinberg, Age of Opportunity, 76. 30 Jensen, 46. 31 Ibid., 108. 32 Ibid., 111. 33 Steinberg, Age of Opportunity, 74 (original emphasis). 34 Ibid., 74. 35 See Elizabeth Kolbert, “The Terrible Teens: What’s Wrong with Them?,” New Yorker, August 24, 2015, https://newyorker.com/magazine/2015/08/31/the-terrible-teens. 36 Jensen, 80. 37 Steinberg, Age of Opportunity, 96–97. 38 Jensen, 37. 39 Ibid., 105. 40 See Kolbert, “Terrible Teens”; Laurence Steinberg, “Expecting Students to Play It Safe in a Pandemic Is a Fantasy,” New York Times, June 15, 2020, www.nytimes. com/2020/06/15/opinion/coronavirus-college-safe.html; and Julia Marcus and Jessica Gold, “Colleges Are Getting Ready to Blame Their Students,” The Atlantic,

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41 42 43 44 45

46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56

July 2020, www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/07/colleges-are-getting-rea dy-blame-their-students/614410/. Steinberg, Age of Opportunity, 76. Ibid., 137. Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, ed. Edward Copeland, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 391. All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text. See Shawn Lisa Maurer, “Lydia Still: Adolescent Wildness in Pride and Prejudice,” in The Future of Feminist Scholarship: Beyond Recovery, ed. Robin Runia (New York: Routledge, 2018), 31–52. Imagining Brighton, Lydia “saw herself the object of attention, to tens and scores of [officers] at present unknown.” See Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, ed. Pat Rogers, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 258. All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text. Jensen, 171. Steinberg, Age of Opportunity, 138. Jane Austen to James Edward Austen, December 16–17, 1816, in Jane Austen’s Letters (3rd edition), ed. Deirdre Le Faye (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 323. Juliet McMaster, “Young Jane Austen: Author,” in A Companion to Jane Austen, ed. Claudia Johnson and Clara Tuite (London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 81. Ibid., 83. See, for reference, note 1. Juliet McMaster, “Teaching ‘Love and Freindship’,” in Jane Austen’s Beginnings: The Juvenilia and Lady Susan, ed. J. David Grey (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1989), 136. Margaret Doody, “Introduction,” in Austen, Catharine and Other Writings, xxxv. Jane Spencer, “Narrative Technique: Austen and Her Contemporaries,” in Companion to Jane Austen, ed. Claudia Johnson and Clara Tuite (London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 186. Daniel Gunn, “Free Indirect Discourse and Narrative Authority in Emma,” Narrative 12, no. 1 (2004), 38. Jane Austen, Persuasion, ed. Janet Todd and Antje Blank, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 52.

Bibliography Arnett, Jeffrey Jensen. Emerging Adulthood: The Winding Road from the Late Teens through the Twenties (2nd edition). New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. Austen, Jane. The Works of Jane Austen, Volume 6: Minor Works. Edited by R. W. Chapman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1954. Austen, Jane. Jane Austen’s Letters (3rd edition). Edited by Deirdre Le Faye. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995. Austen, Jane. Juvenilia. Edited by Peter Sabor. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Austen, Jane. Jane Austen’s Manuscript Works. Edited by Linda Bree, Peter Sabor, and Janet Todd. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 2013. Austen, Jane. Persuasion. Edited by Janet Todd and Antje Blank. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Edited by Pat Rogers. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Austen, Jane. Sense and Sensibility. Edited by Edward Copeland. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

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Austen, Jane. Catharine and Other Writings [1993]. Edited by Margaret Doody. Oxford World’s Classics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Austen, Jane. Teenage Writings. Edited by Kathryn Sutherland and Freya Johnston. Oxford World’s Classics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. Brissenden, R. F. Virtue in Distress: Studies in the Novel of Sentiment from Richardson to Sade. London: Macmillan, 1974. Butler, Marilyn. Jane Austen and the War of Ideas. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975. Cott, Nancy. “Passionlessness: An Interpretation of Victorian Sexual Ideology 1790– 1850.” Signs 4, no. 2 (1978): 219–236. Dixon, Thomas. From Passions to Emotions: The Creation of a Secular Psychological Category. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Doody, Margaret. “Introduction.” In Jane Austen, Catharine and Other Writings [1993], edited by Margaret Doody, Oxford World’s Classics, ix–xxxviii. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Green, Hank and Bernie Su, directors. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. April 9, 2012–March 28, 2013. www.youtube.com/user/LizzieBennet [videos]. Gunn, Daniel. “Free Indirect Discourse and Narrative Authority in Emma.” Narrative 12, no. 1 (2004): 35–54. www.jstor.org/stable/20107329. Hall, G. Stanley. Adolescence: Its Psychology and Its Relations to Physiology, Anthropology, Sociology, Sex, Crime, and Religion. 2 vols. New York: D. Appleton, 1904. Heckerling, Amy, writer and director. Clueless. Hollywood: Paramount Pictures, 1995 [DVD]. Jensen, Frances E., MD, with Amy Ellis Nutt. The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults. New York: Harper, 2015. Jones, Wendy. Jane on the Brain: Exploring the Science of Social Intelligence with Jane Austen. New York: Pegasus Books, 2017. Kolbert, Elizabeth. “The Terrible Teens: What’s Wrong with Them?” New Yorker, August 31, 2015. https://newyorker.com/magazine/2015/08/31/the-terrible-teens. Marcus, Julia Marcus and Jessica Gold. “Colleges Are Getting Ready to Blame Their Students.” The Atlantic, July2020. www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/07/colle ges-are-getting-ready-blame-their-students/614410/. Maurer, Shawn. “At Seventeen: Adolescence in Sense and Sensibility.” Eighteenth-Century Fiction 24, no. 4 (2013): 722–750. Maurer, Shawn. “Lydia Still: Adolescent Wildness in Pride and Prejudice. ” In The Future of Feminist Scholarship: Beyond Recovery, edited by Robin Runia, 31–52. New York: Routledge, 2018. McMaster, Juliet. “Teaching ‘Love and Freindship’.” In Jane Austen’s Beginnings: The Juvenilia and “Lady Susan”, edited J. David Grey, 135–151. Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1989. McMaster, Juliet. “Young Jane Austen: Author.” In A Companion to Jane Austen, edited by Claudia Johnson and Clara Tuite, 81–90. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. Oxford English Dictionary (2nd edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. Perry, Ruth. Novel Relations: The Transformation of Kinship in English Literature and Culture 1748–1818. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Poovey, Mary. The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer: Ideology as Style in the Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, and Jane Austen. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984. Spencer, Jane. “Narrative Technique: Austen and Her Contemporaries.” In A Companion to Jane Austen, edited by Claudia Johnson and Clara Tuite, 185–194. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.

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Steinberg, Laurence. Age of Opportunity: Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2014. Steinberg, Laurence. “Expecting Students to Play It Safe in a Pandemic Is a Fantasy.” New York Times, June 15, 2020. www.nytimes.com/2020/06/15/opinion/coronavir us-college-safe.html. Tissari, Helen. “Current Emotion Research in English Linguistics: Words for Emotions in the History of English.” Emotion Review 9, no. 1 (2017): 86–94.


The Vitality of Austen

11 THE AUSTENIAN MISE-EN-SCÈNE1 Christopher C. Nagle

Mise-en-scène is conventionally understood as referring to the visual attributes of film; to some, it even captures the essence of what is a singularly cinematic experience. One of my primary interests in this essay, therefore, is to work against that presupposition by contributing to a sonic or auditory expansion of the familiar cinematic concept and to explore its relevance to the contemporary adaptation of Jane Austen’s fiction. I argue that doing so enables her twenty-first-century audience to gain a fuller understanding of the ways in which cinematic pleasure is generated: firstly, through an intertextual (or perhaps more precisely, intermedial) awareness of the relationship between novel and film as well as among the films themselves (since adaptations increasingly emerge that reference one another, a phenomenon that has already received critical attention);2 and, secondly—the focus of this essay—through the strategic temporalization of diegetic and non-diegetic sound,3 which produces an uncharacteristically high degree of temporal fluidity for the spectator despite the seemingly inevitable linearity of the marriage plots that structure each film. Such moments provide a felicitous analog to the much-celebrated innovations with free indirect discourse for which Austen’s prose style is known, thus providing a complex, compensatory pleasure in place of this lost narrative voice. More simply, the dynamic process by which sound shapes and conditions temporal awareness in film also exceeds what we might think of imprecisely as the audio-visual translation of her verbal art: this foundational disruption to the apparent consolidation of image and sound within the production of filmic adaptation of Austen’s fiction is what I call the Austenian mise-en-scène, and to date its exemplary realization has been achieved in Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice (2005).4 Although some film critics include sound in the broadest conceptions of miseen-scène, most privilege what we might call “visual clutter” and its significance to the cinematic work—the ways in which everything seen within the frame DOI: 10.4324/9781003181309-16

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establishes setting and environment, and extends ultimately to the work’s mood or tone. It should come as no surprise that a traditional understanding of the term is further consolidated by scholarship on Austen adaptations, which at least since 1995—the annus mirabilis of the Austen film industry—have focused on what Kathryn Sutherland calls “heritage-inflation.”5 Following the enormous success of 1995’s BBC-produced Pride and Prejudice, Columbia’s Sense and Sensibility, the BBC–Sony Pictures collaboration Persuasion, and Amy Heckerling’s cult-classic Emma update Clueless (to which we might add two more traditional adaptations of Emma that followed in 1996), critics such as Andrew Higson have noted a particular tendency in literary adaptation to “transform narrative space into heritage space: that is, a space for the display of heritage properties rather than for the enactment of dramas.”6 Nearly all of the recent adaptations from the first decade of the twentyfirst century are more complex than this assessment suggests, however, and Sutherland rightly asserts that this “heightened visual packaging”—including lavish costumes, antique-laden sets, and stunning outdoor tableaux—“signals film’s entry into the cultural space of literary annotation.”7 In other words, the remarkable visual attributes of each film provide far more than mere decorative spectacle. They also reinterpret these familiar novels in important ways, producing artistic works of popular culture that merit serious critical attention. Broadening critical considerations of these films to include full attention to sound as well as image will make a stronger case for the value of these cinematic “annotations.”8 It might also provide new insight into both the narrative and stylistic strategies of Austen herself. As Linda Hutcheon has argued compellingly, the relation is no longer unidirectional— from “source” to adaptation—especially since many readers will experience some form of adaptation prior to reading the novels, or will return to them anew with fresh understanding or different perspectives. This particular oscillation between multiple media forms allows the possibility to see each one anew, and it is within this intermedial relation that I see the Austenian mise-en-scène being produced. Although there has been heightened scholarly interest in the proliferation of Austen films in criticism over the past two decades, remarkably little attention has been paid to the role of sound within these works. Film theorists and critics note that such an oversight has characterized most of the traditional work in cinema studies, with greater attention to cinematography and the traditional visual understanding of mise-en-scène. 9 It is perhaps less surprising, then, that period pieces produced for the small screen by the BBC and major Hollywood studios have drawn critical attention for their lush sets and lavish production values, especially when they aim for a standard of fidelity that traditionally has been a hallmark of heritage film.10 But despite the seductive attractions of the visual for both producers and consumers of these films, there are particular challenges to face when filmmakers adapt Austen. As Sutherland also asserts, there is a “profound shift in register” from ear to eye when translating an Austen novel to the screen, all the more significant given the author’s native skepticism about the trustworthiness of vision and her heightened reliance on the sense of hearing for

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access to reliable truth; in this analysis, such a shift requires screenwriters and directors to “[turn] her narratives inside out.”11 This astute observation should prompt closer attention, then, to aural or sonic strategies incorporated in the cinematic adaptations, elements that bear the potential for capturing the spirit of the source text while translating it into a new medium. One notable exception to a critical trend that largely ignores the filmic soundscape emerges in work by Ariane Hudelet, who first articulated the importance of sound as a key strategy for establishing physical embodiment in Austen adaptations. Hudelet argues that the use of filmic sound can reflect an unexpected fidelity to Austen’s era, despite the manifestly different conventions of novel and film, and despite the general absence of explicitly articulated embodiment in the novels themselves.12 She shows this phenomenon to be particularly salient in the use of non-musical diegetic sound, especially ambient noise, in late twentieth-century adaptations. Some of the clearest examples occur in the memorable dance scenes in the 1995 productions of Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, where the huffing and puffing of sweaty bodies accompanies the cadence of feet pounding the floor. (Bodily noises are also audible at the dinner table, in creaky hallways, and elsewhere.) Such elements are characteristically absent in Douglas McGrath’s Emma (1996) and Patricia Rozema’s Mansfield Park (1999), for instance, in which “bodies disappear from the soundtrack and music covers all other sounds, voices excepted.”13 The more earthy, less Romantically aestheticized style of the sonic landscape of the 1995 films creates a world with rougher material edges, where balance—negotiated between bodies and objects, between the social conventions of dance and of conversation—is both palpable and difficult to achieve. As sound assists in “translat[ing] the expressiveness of body and voice” from the literary text, one sees more clearly the instability and uncertainty that is such a central facet of life in Austen’s world, particularly for women.14 The precarious balance between inner and outer worlds, and the sheer vulnerability of women’s lives, is manifested through the spectator’s focalization with a heightened interiority (usually centered on the heroine, as with Elizabeth Bennet or Anne Elliot, but occasionally on a pair of characters, such as the Dashwood sisters) that serves as the narrative focus for the recent films. As we will see in the examples that follow, hearing things that cannot be seen within the cinematic frame—what Michel Chion (following Pierre Schaeffer) calls “acousmatic sound”15—is a key tool for establishing intimacy, providing an especially powerful means of absorbing the audio-viewer in ways that approximate the reading experience. Hudelet’s contribution to the growing scholarship on Austen films has opened a new conversation about the role of what Chion calls “the sound object,”16 a fused product of the spectator’s experience of a film that is seen/heard—rather than seen and heard—and thus simultaneous rather than supplemental: audio-vision. Note that most language for talking about film experience already privileges the visual: viewer, spectator, point of view, the gaze all suggest the primacy of vision when engaging with film. The significance of Chion’s hybrid conception is that it produces a sensory

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experience of dimensionality, something akin to the fused perception of the left and right eyes: each eye sees independently from the other—and with a different perspective—but both also work together cooperatively to produce three-dimensional vision.17 To account adequately for the way sound shapes film, one must begin by acknowledging this fused status rather than simply graft considerations of sound onto a primarily visual experience. I hope to continue this conversation by attending to elements of “auditory ambivalence,” as Michael Blouin calls them in a different context, moments of cinematic disconnect when the image on screen and the accompanying sound each produce markedly different associations for the audience.18 Despite the general sense of succession and linearity in a typical film, moments such as these shape audience engagement with adaptations of Austen’s familiar literary works in striking ways, with sound’s unsettling function in these films nevertheless producing intense cinematic pleasure within particular artistically complex moments. The best examples of this richly productive auditory ambivalence in Austen films can be found in Wright’s Pride & Prejudice (better known for its featured star, Keira Knightley), which frequently produces this kind of destabilizing effect for its audience, drawing in audio-viewers with diegetic performance that articulates thematic echoes of non-diegetic themes from the film’s seductive soundtrack. Wright’s lavish production, the first feature-length film adaptation of the novel since 1940, has received praise for its lush cinematography and intimate camerawork, as well as objections to its liberties in casting, its rural earthiness (featuring farm animals and costumes with excessively muddy hems), and its “Brontë-ification” of Austen’s more emotionally subdued, early nineteenth-century work. What has received little attention, despite its centrality to the film’s narrative structure, is the auditory component of Wright’s artistic vision, and thus its effect on the audio-viewer’s experience of unstable temporality. Beginning with a commitment to the spirit of fidelity, Wright charged award-winning composer Dario Marianelli with the task of composing a contemporary score inspired by the style of early Beethoven piano sonatas, something “that could have conceivably been listened to by Jane Austen and her family at the end of the eighteenth century.”19 Unlike the scoring process typical of most films, Marianelli began composing the music early on rather than coming in at the end of primary shooting. Significant for my purposes here, the first pieces he wrote were character-specific themes for the heroine, Lizzie, and a minor character, Georgiana, Darcy’s sister.20 Lizzie’s piece, in particular, took on a life of its own, coloring the entire score and eventually developing into a leitmotif for the film. Marianelli describes the piece and the piano on which it is played as becoming “very much her voice, or perhaps the voice of her feisty and independent soul, strong minded and passionate, but also gentle and caring.”21 “Dawn” is first heard as the opening sequence introduces Lizzie to the audience. Working in concert with the Steadicam’s intimate close-ups and POV shots of her walking and reading in solitude, the

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music establishes her character as the center of the film; this musical composition will become the affective anchoring point for both the character and the audio-viewer. Later, the tune will recur during three important scenes that also focus on Lizzie: for her awkward, compulsory piano performance for Lady Catherine at Rosings (one that I would call a meta-diegetic instance, as I will show later); during her visit to Pemberley with the Gardiners, when she discovers Georgiana practicing the piano (this complex example, on which I will focus, I would call trans-diegetic); and finally as the backdrop for Lizzie and Darcy’s post-nuptial celebration at Pemberley (a conventional non-diegetic usage, albeit amplified with additional orchestration and given a new title on the soundtrack: “Mrs. Darcy”). For the present purpose, I will devote attention primarily to the two crucial scenes that take place at the piano—one in which Lizzie performs and the other in which she is the voyeuristic spectator of another woman’s performance. After initially establishing “Dawn” as the film’s theme, and by extension Lizzie’s, the piece next emerges in Lady Catherine’s drawing room at Rosings. Despite Lizzie’s attempts to demur from this command performance, the uncivil demand for her to showcase talents that she insists she lacks leads to a mortifying display of unskillful piano playing. As she stumbles through a diegetic performance of the theme from the film’s score (originally non-diegetic, as it issues from outside the world of the filmic narrative),22 she is interrupted by Darcy’s visit to the piano. Although she playfully mocks his intentions, assuming that he means only to heighten her discomfort with his close attention, Darcy’s demeanor suggests kindness, a gesture meant to mitigate the remarkable rudeness of his aunt. This scene contributes the first important instance of diegetic sound that enacts a nondiegetic echo—Lizzie is in fact playing her own theme song from the beginning of the film—so I suggest that it functions as a meta-diegetic use of sound. When her onscreen performance duplicates the theme that has introduced her character in the score, it serves as an ironic signal to the audience that Lizzie is becoming aware of her status as heroine of the tale. It functions as the auditory equivalent of mise-en-abyme, breaking the fourth wall that divides the fictional character in the narrative from the audience that watches and listens to her.23 Lizzie’s failure to perform her own theme well is particularly important. It not only underscores her rebellious, even non-normative nature but also calls attention to the consequences of this nonconformity: an especially precarious future for this second of five unmarried daughters of a financially encumbered family. If her sharp tongue, muddy hem, and studied inattention to traditional feminine learning are emblems of her individuality—separating her distinctly from her embarrassing family—then they also threaten to separate her from any suitor who might save her from the life of an old maid living on an entailed estate. This reality, familiar to readers but necessarily reinforced for filmgoers new to the plot, generates tension that supplements the more obvious narrative suspense regarding whether Lizzie and Darcy will come together in the end. The meta-diegetic moment at the piano exposes the ideological underpinnings of the marriage/courtship

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plot established thus far, which is foregrounded by heightening Lizzie’s insufficiency. The conventional feminine skills that are meant to sustain these plot conventions are underdeveloped: Lizzie’s lack of feminine “accomplishments” is underscored in the film, but never more clearly than it is during her inept musical performance—the antithesis, say, of Mansfield Park’s Mary Crawford, whose proficiency with the harp marks her privileged social status and also provides an additional tool for seduction. In fact, the drama of Lizzie’s mortification at Rosings is intensified by Lady Catherine forcing her to perform for an audience of six that scarcely could be designed more effectively to humiliate her: a former suitor (Mr. Collins), the wife to whom he subsequently proposed (her close friend, Charlotte Lucas), two other potential suitors (Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam), the matriarch who exercises considerable control over the destiny of both these men, and that matriarch’s daughter, whom she imagines to be “pre-engaged” to Darcy from infancy. So, when Lizzie plays her rendition of “Dawn” in this context, it provides a counter-performative resonance within a plot for which she yet serves uncertainly as the heroine, a performance that works to undo rather than consolidate her status. In an important sense, her shaming public performance heightens the audience’s attention to her liminal status in the world of the film when she butchers the elegant piece that serves as the leitmotif of Wright’s production. Since it haunts the narrative as her own theme throughout the film, this scene not only shows that Lizzie is an unconventional woman and thus considerably disadvantaged in the marriage market but also, at the meta-diegetic level, suggests that she is out of sync with herself, with her true nature. She is unable to play not only music proficiently but also the role of heroine—that is, unless the film can craft a new kind of heroine altogether. Her characteristic poise in even the most difficult of social circumstances is pressed to its limits here, unlike any situation that calls for verbal sparring, where she can always hold her own, even with the formidable Lady Catherine, as when she refuses to disclose her age or, later, definitively renounce Darcy as a suitor. Like her author, with whom she is frequently conflated in adaptations, words are her strength and give her character shape. Even in this scene at Rosings, Lizzie momentarily regains her confidence and composure after issuing her last verbal barb to Darcy—suggesting that he, too, might improve himself with “practice”: he, conversing with strangers; she with her piano playing. Lizzie ends their interchange decisively with a sudden return to the tune from which she paused for discussion, and her playing gains in precision and confidence, which is emphasized by heightened volume on the soundtrack. Interestingly, her improved performance continues after the cut from this scene and provides a sound bridge into the next scene, in which Lizzie is writing to Jane from the drawing room at Hunsford the following day. Here again, the piece shifts to a seemingly non-diegetic function, but more ambivalently, as if the tune might be playing in Lizzie’s head—perhaps a memory of the preceding day as she recounts it for Jane. Thus, for both heroine and audience, a temporal slide

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comes from this additional bit of auditory ambivalence, which functions technically as both a sound bridge and a sonic flashback while Lizzie tells this part of her tale to her sister. Connecting the two scenes in this way underscores the reality that typical forms of feminine accomplishment (such as musical performance) mark her weakness, but does so while juxtaposing them here, intimately and ambivalently, with her true strength: language, in both writing and speech. It also reinforces for the audience the more general slipperiness of experiential time: the sense of past, present, and future are often overlapping, interwoven, permeable. This fundamental truth of Wright’s cinematic world bears directly on how the audience experiences the linearity of the plot and the development of its heroine. One of several audio-visually rich scenes that create moments unmoored from time generally and linear progression in particular follows soon after in Lizzie’s rejection of Darcy’s first proposal. This sequence shows her return to the solitude of an empty home where she briefly peruses a copy of Fordyce’s Sermons before discarding it with a quiet laugh to herself, as if acknowledging its uselessness.24 She then looks out of the room’s windows (another typical framing device) before turning to a mirror for heightened, autonomous self-reflection, unmediated by the laughably outdated social conventions of patriarchal authority for which the volume is meant to stand as typical (as well as a reminder of Mr. Collins’s earlier visit). Looking out, and looking in: the shots used to establish this sequence shift from Lizzie approaching the wall in profile, with only the mirror frame’s edge visible to the audience at a ninety-degree angle, to a cut with her staring directly into the camera—and thus directly at the audience—for a full forty wide-eyed, unblinking seconds. As if she is seeking the answer from us, Lizzie effectively reverses the cinematic gaze and opens up the possibility of breaking the fourth wall again. Wright’s daring strategy here creates a moment in which Lizzie’s soul searching (played with great restraint and subtlety by Knightley) is directed both without and within herself simultaneously. Whether the shot serves primarily to absorb the audience in the heroine’s POV or to provoke them to question the fictional frame of the film itself remains ambiguous and cannot be resolved independent of the film’s gradual narrative unfolding. The soundtrack gives no clue until the score is punctuated by the song of a blackbird, Lizzie’s avatar, which we hear singing consistently when she appears alone onscreen. Here it suggests that she is being called back to herself, to being grounded affectively in her true nature and away from the directionless despair in which this scene is suffused. This ambient sound punctuates an extended shot, one that seemingly charts a temporal shift from day to night, from the brightness of midday to near total darkness (warm, flickering hues of candlelight illuminate her left cheek). Clearly Lizzie has lost all track of time, though whether this scene represents a realistic sense of chronological time or a figurative representation of the character’s subjective experience is unclear. This lack of clarity is important, allowing both senses of time to exist in oscillation for the audio-viewer. It is difficult simply to choose one over the other, either being absorbed wholly in the

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character’s sense of reality or overriding it with presumptive, literalist objections. Her stasis is finally interrupted by Darcy’s entrance, visible in the mirror to the audience and to Lizzie, as he returns to drop off the exculpatory letter that follows his failed proposal. Lizzie continues staring in the mirror from which she seems to have been seeking answers to unarticulated, existential questions, and the answer is then framed literally and figuratively by Wright’s quick, successive shots: first Darcy, then Lizzie, then Darcy once more, blurred, within the frame of the mirror that is also the cinematic frame. Both character and audience share a growing sense of absolute autonomy’s impossibility; Lizzie’s much-desired independence is here inextricably linked to her fundamental precariousness as an unmarried woman whose future is framed by the horizon of possibility that Darcy represents. The full significance of sound’s contribution to the unsettling of temporality and of Lizzie’s position within the narrative emerges clearly, however, only when the previous scene is paired with a later one that invites the audience to “reread”—to see and hear anew—what previously transpired. The setting here is another alien space for Lizzie, one that is foreign but not hostile, in contrast to Rosings: her first visit to Pemberley, accompanied by her aunt and uncle, the Gardiners. While exploring the house on her own, out of the utter silence and stillness of this imposing space, audio-viewers experience with her the sudden emergence of diegetic piano music—the very tune Lizzie played earlier at Rosings, and another echo of the film’s non-diegetic theme first played at Longbourn—which leads her to seek out its source. There is something unheimlich about the moment at first (for both Lizzie and the audience), almost as if it is calling her home in this unfamiliar place, drawing her ineluctably to some mysterious truth about herself. The scene is fraught with significance in part because it continues a process that has been accelerated by her clear erotic awakening in the sculpture gallery previously, a sequence that also establishes her new appreciation of Darcy’s nature. Here, too, she loses track of time while gazing at the bust of Darcy—with a deep longing signaled by her parted lips— and in so doing she is left behind by the Gardiners and the housekeeper, who is giving them a tour of the house. Now left to herself, fittingly, the tune calls out to Lizzie in the form of what Chion labels “acousmatic sound”—that is, sound that the audience hears with no visual sign of its source.25 Or, to be more precise, it begins as such, but it also falls under the category of the “exception” served by music, since the progression of the scene leads the audio-viewer to recognize it first as “pit music” then as “screen music” (Chion’s equivalents of non-diegetic and diegetic music, respectively), when it is discovered to be coming from another room. In fact, the scene would have little mystery or significance at all if rendered silently because it would be denuded of anything but a minimal narrative reveal, with Lizzie exploring the house and stumbling across Georgiana and Darcy—all temporal and affective complexity would be stripped away. With the expertly rendered version of Lizzie’s theme guiding her forward, she approaches the room from which it

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emanates—we have a sense of it calling to her throughout this scene—and gazes through the crack in the partially open door. This auditory tracking shot immediately produces a visual echo of a scene at Longbourn near the beginning of the film, when all of the Bennet sisters cluster around a crack in the door to eavesdrop on their parents’ conversation about the arrival of a new bachelor in the neighborhood. The later scene at Pemberley, by contrast, further establishes Lizzie’s singularity: she is alone and drawn not by idle gossip but by a meta-diegetic impulse to seek her own truth and destiny, reinforced by the impossibly familiar tune that has marked both her story and The Story. The next shot cuts to reveal Darcy’s young sister Georgiana as the expert musician and double for Lizzie (the two women are the primary loves of Darcy’s life). Georgiana is visible to the audience and to Lizzie only through her reflection in yet another mirror; this time, Lizzie looks in the mirror and sees Georgiana rather than herself, suggesting a temporary displacement of the heroine. Darcy’s figure then enters the bottom of the frame, causing Georgiana, who until now has played flawlessly—a strong contrast to Lizzie in this respect, as she is also in her class, her age, and her intimate proximity to Darcy—to flub a note, just as Lizzie herself did when Darcy approached her at the piano at Rosings. The next succession of shots quickly captures the brother’s embrace of his sister, an affectionate and visually graceful gesture that swings her around in a circle while Lizzie continues to watch, until quick cuts (shot/reverse shot) betray her voyeuristic peeping: Darcy sees her in the mirror, and an alarmed Lizzie—her face filling the frame in a sudden, dramatic close-up, then in an extreme close-up focused on her wide-open eyes—rushes away from the scene, accompanied by the sound of equally alarmed blackbirds. The dialectical tension of looking and listening is crucial here. Listening connects, while looking signals an intrusion, even a violation of intimate space. Sound also momentarily suspends time. As Chion puts it, music provides the sound film a respite from the infernal rule of successivity; it allows a flexible temporality, an elasticity, the capacity to condense a year, to draw out a second, to linger over a fleeting summer before replanting us on the terra firma of real time.26 While music is only part of the soundscape, of course, Lizzie begins her visit focused on the primary spectacle of Pemberley’s visual riches—its grounds, architecture, and collections—then shifts away from this mode when she is startled by the uncanny familiarity of the auditory. Led by her ear to the scene of Georgiana and Darcy’s reunion, her voyeuristic gaze interrupts the space of family intimacy—from which she thus far is excluded—and this invasion of domestic privacy forces her to flee in shame. Although this mirror scene leads her first to confront others rather than herself, it nevertheless initiates a moment of heightened self-awareness, which again is foregrounded by the extreme close-up that engages the audience directly. Her subsequent self-reflection is timed such that we, as audio-viewers, might share her

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dawning awareness, just as we had been led previously to share in her shifting affective exploration. The key to understanding this doubled performance, which we might say hyper-enunciates the key motif of the film through a trans-diegetic use of sound, comes in a silent moment that bridges the two scenes. When Lizzie is exploring what appears to be a study, immediately after her rapturous gaze at the nude (and, in one case, veiled) statuary in the sculpture gallery and before she encounters the music in the next room she enters, she passes by a bust of Janus amidst a cluttered mass of figures on a table, and runs her hand along the tops of both heads with something between absent-mindedness and contemplation. The next audible sound is the blackbird’s song, the sound that introduces the first frames of the film before the musical score initiates the non-diegetic theme (“Dawn”) that has been reintroduced in both of the previously discussed scenes. It begins during the final moments that Lizzie strokes the Janus-headed bust and continues as she moves to look out of the room’s window, thus setting up her multiple discoveries: of Georgiana playing; of Darcy’s presence in the house; and of her own true feelings, awakened by the visit to Pemberley but only confirmed in the direct encounter with Darcy himself. But lest the Janus heads seem like a red herring or a random bit of heritage-clutter used to dress the scene, it is worth asking: why does her contact with this artistic work matter at this precise point in the film? As before, the auditory ambivalence generated by an alternation of the diegetic and non-diegetic use of the musical theme—what marks Lizzie’s centrality to the cinematic narrative—also produces a temporal disturbance, a familiar but disorienting convergence for the viewer who expects a period adaptation to conform to the usual conventions of both time and space. If, following Chion, “we can say that music makes space and time pliable, subject to contraction or distension,” these possibilities are exploited in Wright’s film so that the seeming inevitability of Lizzie’s status as heroine and the marriage resolution of the plot from Austen’s original novel are suspended in ways specific to the cinematic medium.27 What the auditory ambivalence in Pride & Prejudice creates, ultimately, is a sense of temporal instability that prods the audience to consider the relationship between past experience, future possibilities, and the present moment on the screen in which all of these temporal modalities converge. Playing with time in this way not only draws attention to the marriage plot as a construct (rather than simply a mimetic endorsement of its self-evident value, as many often assume of Austen’s novels and their adaptations) but also highlights the difficulty with which its teleological drive can be resisted—even as the film also activates precisely the desire for this narrative pleasure’s fulfillment. The result: the audio-viewer can experience both conventional absorption within the story world and the pull of critical resistance to its familiar seductions. In the spirit of his heroine, Wright refuses to conform to the typical conventions of heritage-style adaptation and the easy pleasures with which it can feed its consumers. As the generator of representational excess and ideological

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destabilization, Lizzie’s role as uncertain heroine consistently taints the diegetic/ non-diegetic distinction throughout the film, which Wright exploits in order to press on the ideological fissures exposed within a system of seemingly rigid gender and class dynamics. Lizzie continually figures the intrusion into the diegesis from the extra-diegetic world through her association with the theme music, pointing outside the film—puncturing it, we might say—and suggesting an alternative world that might exist outside the normative mechanisms of desire and proper object choice, those stock features of all conventional courtship narratives. In failing to be an ideal feminine subject she thus exposes the limitations of the role she refuses to fit at the same time that she calls into being a rich alternative to this role for the audience to imagine. One might say that she also hyper-enunciates what is most salient for the film, directing the audience to what is logically impossible, given the constraints of Austen’s era: being a modern heroine. And yet, at the same time, this process becomes unavoidable given the formal and thematic pressures enacted by the film, in the ways that Lizzie embodies an independence of mind and character that refuses to be weighed down by the limitations of her social class, her singularly embarrassing family, or the gender conventions of late eighteenth-century culture. Using the visual cue of the Janus heads and Lizzie’s crucial connection to them, Wright foregrounds a thematic preoccupation with temporal dislocation. Focusing simultaneously on both past and future, the director constructs a Janus-headed work of art, insisting on Lizzie as a heroine who exists in some sense out of time—a rebel in her own day, and also suitable for our own—and thus suggests that the tale is timeless. But this familiar idea that also effectively “dramatizes the delirious meeting between then and now,” to quote Claudia Johnson and Clara Tuite, which insists on Austen’s perpetual timeliness in every age that has followed her own, emerges precisely out of the impossible twinned perspective of Wright’s film, a convergence born of looking forward and looking back simultaneously.28 This artistic vision generates a certain “texture of presentness” that Chion identifies as an effect of sound’s repetition, a key means of suturing the present of the narrative and the present of the audio-viewer’s affective engagement amidst the general flux and flow of cinematic temporality.29 The experience of dislocation in the present moment of an audio-viewer’s encounter is especially understandable if we see films as “best regarded as affective maps, which do not just passively trace or represent, but actively construct and perform, the social relations, flows, and feelings that they are ostensibly ‘about.’”30 Immersed within the cinematic world, we also oscillate between the “now” of the story world’s narrative and the “now” in which we experience its Janus-headed pleasures. In conclusion, I would suggest that it is crucial to attend to the ways in which the auditory texture (and orchestration, specifically) of Austen adaptations contribute to what I am calling the Austenian mise-en-scène, where what is “put into the scene” includes sonic dislocation that produces temporal displacement. Austen’s protocinematic attention to micro-detail and nuance in her fiction calls for heightened

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attention to the materiality of sound in filmic adaptation—elements that a few recent films, such as Wright’s, find creative ways to explore through the use of both direct and post-synchronized sound. Balancing the more conventional analysis of visual elements with greater attention to the auditory—music, variations and modulations of voice, the sounds made by bodies, and those issuing from animals or the natural landscape—enables one to see that diegetic manipulation often steers the films away from Austen’s own focalization techniques, sometimes in ways that enrich rather than detract from the experience of a novel’s adaptation. Indeed, some elements of novelistic form (and the readerly pleasures they afford) can be translated only obliquely, if at all—free indirect discourse is surely one of the best examples of this challenge—but film also provides richly productive possibilities for destabilizing and thus expanding the spectator’s engaged identification with the cinematic narrative. Ultimately, the Austenian mise-en-scène emerges only as a dialogically produced aesthetic, staging the richly intertextual pleasures afforded those audio-viewers who experience the play between Austen’s fiction and its multiple film adaptations that are most attentive to auditory translation of narratological elements. At its most effective it can enable a masterful translation of Austen’s own subtle narrative strategies, especially the particular instabilities of free indirect discourse, which creates its own strange and unsettling pleasure, leaving readers uncertain of precisely whose point of view is being conveyed. This pleasure that her prose generates is ultimately about intimacy, providing a privileged sense of access to the inner workings of character, with a style that blends together third-person and first-person perspectives to produce a subtle and corrosive sense of irony, or even critique—an unsettling movement within Austen’s prose that shapes readers’ affective as well as intellectual engagement with (and against) characters, and that stands as one of the greatest “translation” challenges of cinematic adaptation, especially in films that forgo the use of voice-over. If it is too much to claim that the poetry of Austen’s prose is best captured through the distinctive medium of cinema’s audio-vision, perhaps one can say that it is nevertheless ideally suited to incarnate the rich textures of her prose in a modern form that works in tension both with and against the original, while always continuing to bear its imprint. The text of a work by Jane Austen can never again be imagined simply as a book, whether it is produced in print or electronic form. Now that the body of widely known cinematic adaptations far exceeds the number of original novels (not to speak of the many other forms of adaptation, translation, imitation, and tribute in popular culture)—and in many cases provides the point of first contact for her contemporary audience—scholars should treat the study of Austen as a multi-genre, multi-media enterprise, and consider the benefits of such work as enriching rather than diminishing what is to be found in this newly expansive sense of intertextuality that is also intermediality. Austen’s novels function in conversation with one another, to be sure, as well as in conversation with other literary and extra-literary works of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. But now they also converse with their

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stage and screen incarnations, and the intermedial study of these texts bears the promise of fresh insights into the aesthetic and ideological richness of both Austen’s world and our own.

Notes 1 My thanks to Briana Asmus, Chuck Bentley, Beth Bradburn, Billy Galperin, Michael Kramp, Courtney Wennerstrom, and the students in my various Austen adaptation seminars for engaging conversation, stimulating ideas, and moral support at various stages. The late Marilyn Gaull kindly solicited the first version of this essay for an MLA panel, and her generous guidance and encouragement are deeply missed. So, too, is Casey McKittrick, dear friend and brilliant scholar, who contributed more than anyone else through our many conversations and his clarifying feedback on early drafts. This essay is dedicated to his memory. 2 See Judy Simons, “Jane Austen and Popular Culture,” in A Companion to Jane Austen, ed. Claudia Johnson and Clara Tuite (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 467–477; Kathryn Sutherland, Jane Austen’s Afterlives: From Aeschylus to Bollywood (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005); and Ariane Hudelet, David Monaghan, and John Wiltshire, The Cinematic Jane Austen: Essays on the Filmic Sensibility of the Novels (London: McFarland, 2009). 3 Briefly, in Gorbman’s concise formulation, diegetic sound refers to the “narratively implied spatiotemporal world of the actions and characters.” See Claudia Gorbman, Unheard Melodies: Narrative Film Music (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987), 21. Non-diegetic sound simply comprises the soundtrack, including the musical score and any sounds that do not clearly belong to the diegetic world of the film. 4 Pride & Prejudice, directed by Joe Wright [2005] (Universal City: Universal Pictures, 2006). 5 Kathryn Sutherland, “Jane Austen on Screen,” in The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, ed. Edward Copeland and Juliet McMaster (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 222. 6 Andrew Higson, English Heritage, English Cinema (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 39. 7 Sutherland, “Jane Austen on Screen,” 222. 8 I should add that there is important work on the ways in which musical scoring, and particularly the combination of classical repertoire (Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven) with contemporary film composition, has contributed significantly to a sense of heritage sound, not merely sets and settings. See Gayle Magee, “Performing to Strangers: Masculinity, Adaptation, and Music in Pride and Prejudice,” in Jane Austen and Masculinity, ed. Michael Kramp (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2018), 233–252. 9 Examples of such scholars include Michel Chion, Claudia Gorbman, and Anahid Kassabian. 10 See Higson. The tendency of more recent adaptations to create what critics call a “fusion” of old and new, traditional and contemporary stylistic attributes, marks a new trend that deviates intriguingly from this rule. 11 Sutherland, “Jane Austen on Screen,” 224. For a strong counterpoint to this claim, see Deboarah Cartmell and Imelda Whelehan, “A Practical Understanding of Literature on Screen: Two Conversations with Andrew Davies,” in Cambridge Companion to Literature on Screen, ed. Deborah Cartmell and Imelda Whelehan (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 239–251. In their interviews with Davies, he characterizes Austen’s work as “almost perfect to adapt … [because] she makes the adaptor’s work very easy and pleasant” (ibid., 248). 12 For two different approaches that both contest this idea of novelistic disembodiment, on sick and healthy bodies in Austen, see John Wiltshire, Jane Austen and the Body

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(New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992) and on touch and embodiment, especially in Persuasion, see Christopher Nagle, Sexuality and the Culture of Sensibility in the British Romantic Era (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). Hudelet, Monaghan, and Wiltshire, 73. Ibid., 74. Michel Chion, Sound: An Acoulogical Treatise (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016). Ibid. Walter Murch, “Foreword,” in Michael Chion, Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), xxi–xxii. Michael Blouin, “Auditory Ambivalence: Music in the Western from High Noon to Brokeback Mountain,” Journal of Popular Culture 42, no. 6 (2010), 1175. Joe Wright, liner notes for Pride & Prejudice: Music from the Motion Picture (Universal City: Universal Classics and Jazz, 2005). Neither was specified in Deborah Moggach’s screenplay for Wright’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, but her notes suggest that the tune Lizzie overhears at Darcy’s estate, Pemberley, might be the same as the one she was playing earlier while visiting Lady Catherine at Rosings. I discuss both scenes below. See Deborah Moggach, Pride & Prejudice (2005), www.scribd.com/doc/7908097/Pride-Prejudice-2005-Movie-Script, 89. Dario Marianelli, liner notes for Pride & Prejudice: Music from the Motion Picture (Universal City: Universal Classics and Jazz, 2005). See Deboarah Cartmell, Screen Adaptations: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice—The Relationship between Text and Film (London: Methuen, 2010). Cartmell errs crucially when she claims of the opening sequence that here “we discover the non-diegetic music is actually diegetic with Mary seen from behind playing the pianoforte” (ibid., 90). In fact, Mary is playing something totally different and her diegetic performance briefly overlays Marianelli’s score. The auditory disparity is clear not only from the difference in the notes Mary is playing but also in the instrument itself. For a perceptive analysis of the way mise-en-abyme works visually throughout the film, see David Roche, “Books and Letters in Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice (2005): Anticipating the Spectator’s Response through the Thematization of Film Adaptation,” Persuasions On-Line 27, no. 2 (2007), https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00451735. The text is not visible in the film, but Wright identifies it as such in the director’s commentary, while noting that she is “seeing [her]self for the first time.” See Pride & Prejudice, directed by Wright. The book is also specified in the original screenplay. See Moggach, 76. Michel Chion, Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), 71, 221. Michel Chion, Film: A Sound Art (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009), 264. Chion, Audio-Vision, 82 (original emphasis). Claudia L. Johnson and Clara Tuite, 30 Great Myths about Jane Austen (Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2020), 72. Chion, Audio-Vision, 210. Steven Shaviro, Post Cinematic Affect (Winchester: Zero Books, 2010), 6.

Bibliography Blouin, Michael J. “Auditory Ambivalence: Music in the Western from High Noon to Brokeback Mountain.” Journal of Popular Culture 43, no. 6 (2010): 1173–1188. Cartmell, Deborah. Screen Adaptations: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice—The Relationship between Text and Film. London: Methuen, 2010. Cartmell, Deborah and Imelda Whelehan. “A Practical Understanding of Literature on Screen: Two Conversations with Andrew Davies.” In Cambridge Companion to Literature

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on Screen, edited by Deborah Cartmell and Imelda Whelehan, 239–251. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Chion, Michel. Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994. Chion, Michel. Film: A Sound Art. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009. Chion, Michel. Sound: An Acoulogical Treatise. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016. Chow, Rey and James Steintrager. “In Pursuit of the Object of Sound.” differences 22, nos. 2–3 (2011): 1–9. Davison, Annette. “High Fidelity? Music in Screen Adaptations.” In Cambridge Companion to Literature on Screen, edited by Deborah Cartmell and Imelda Whelehan, 212–225. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Gorbman, Claudia. Unheard Melodies: Narrative Film Music. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987. Higson, Andrew. English Heritage, English Cinema: Costume Drama since 1980. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. Hudelet, Ariane, David Monaghan, and John Wiltshire. The Cinematic Jane Austen: Essays on the Filmic Sensibility of the Novels. London: McFarland, 2009. Hutcheon, Linda. A Theory of Adaptation. New York: Routledge, 2006. Johnson, Claudia L. and Clara Tuite. 30 Great Myths about Jane Austen. Hoboken: WileyBlackwell, 2020. Kassabian, Anahid. Hearing Film: Tracking Identifications in Contemporary Hollywood Film Music. New York: Routledge, 2001. Lynch, Deidre. “Cult of Jane Austen.” In Jane Austen in Context, edited by Janet Todd, 111–120. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Magee, Gayle. “Performing to Strangers: Masculinity, Adaptation, and Music in Pride and Prejudice” [1995]. In Jane Austen and Masculinity, edited by Michael Kramp, 233–252. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2018. Marianelli, Dario. Liner notes for Pride & Prejudice: Music from the Motion Picture. Universal City: Universal Classics and Jazz, 2005 [CD]. McFarlane, Brian. Novel to Film: An Introduction to the Theory of Adaptation. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Moggach, Deborah. Pride & Prejudice. 2005. www.scribd.com/doc/7908097/Pride-Preju dice-2005-Movie-Script [Film script]. Murch, Walter. “Foreword.” In Michel Chion, Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen, vii–xxvii. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994. Nagle, Christopher. Sexuality and the Culture of Sensibility in the British Romantic Era. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Roche, David. “Books and Letters in Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice (2005): Anticipating the Spectator’s Response through the Thematization of Film Adaptation.” Persuasions On-Line 27, no. 2 (2007). http://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halsh-00451735. Shaviro, Steven. Post Cinematic Affect. Winchester: Zero Books, 2010. Simons, Judy. “Jane Austen and Popular Culture.” In A Companion to Jane Austen, edited by Claudia Johnson and Clara Tuite, 467–477. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. Sutherland, Kathryn. Jane Austen’s Afterlives: From Aeschylus to Bollywood. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. Sutherland, Kathryn. “Jane Austen on Screen.” In The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, edited by Edward Copeland and Juliet McMaster, 215–231. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Wiltshire, John. Jane Austen and the Body. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

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Wright, Joe. Liner notes for Pride & Prejudice: Music from the Motion Picture. Universal City: Universal Classics and Jazz, 2005 [CD]. Wright, Joe, director. Pride & Prejudice [2005]. Universal City: Universal Pictures, 2006 [DVD].

12 WICKHAM THEN AND NOW From Historical Masculinity to Toxic Masculinity Kit Kincade

A key figure in understanding the social and moral issues raised in Pride and Prejudice is George Wickham, who, though appearing to be a gentleman, clearly lacks the substance to carry out that role. Examining the nature of his flawed character enables readers to grasp some of the elements of masculinity in Austen’s fictional world and to see the significance of what is now called “toxic masculinity” for that world and in the later adaptations of it. When adapting the novel for contemporary audiences, Wickham’s menace evolves to match modern concerns, as social and economic mobility has weakened the risk he once represented. His original character arc and history help us to determine how he is reinterpreted as dangerous in modern adaptations through the lens of masculinity studies. Therefore, we must examine how Wickham arrived at this juncture so as to parse the meaning for interpretations of his character in popular adaptations. Wickham fails at his attempts, in the original novel, to establish himself as part of the landed gentry. The frustration that propels his character is that which modern adaptations sense and translate into toxic male behavior presented as variations of a sexual predator. Both his backstory and his pop culture renderings speak to aspects of masculinity studies, historical and contemporary, and provide insight into our vision and versions of this character. Historical masculinities theory identifies the binary of hegemonic and subordinated masculinities to help describe the tension in what has been described in almost Marxist terms as “patriarchal dividend”: “[it] was the notion that not all men benefited from gender inequity in precisely the same ways. Some groups of men benefit a great deal, but some might seem to benefit very little from men’s collective advantages”;1 that is, historically, “some masculinities collect more (or different aspects) of the patriarchal dividend than others.”2 “Hegemonic masculinity,” simply put, “refers to the most culturally exalted forms of masculinity—configurations that DOI: 10.4324/9781003181309-17

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justify dominance and inequity,” and “subordinated masculinity” then “refers to configurations of masculinity with the least cultural status, power, and influence.”3 Darcy is the hegemonic side of this equation and Wickham the subordinate. The most modern adaptations of the novel have chosen to examine Wickham in a slightly different way, although directly evolved from the historical hegemonic/ subordinate masculine dichotomy. The system of the patriarchy has failed not only women, children, and people of color but also a significant portion of white males— those not of the ruling or moneyed classes. It failed Wickham but he attempted to enter it legally, although deceptively. While this was insolent and dishonest, the evil stopped there. Modern audiences are virtually unconcerned about issues of rank, while still considering economic standing, because our social fluidity no longer dictates either marriage or success. But we still must have Wickham represent a threat to society in modern versions of the text, in order for his character to be understood as dangerous. Modern renditions of Pride and Prejudice accommodate for this antiquated concern by replacing it with an equally threatening, yet more contemporary, hazard: toxic masculinity. “Toxic masculinity is a narrow and repressive description of manhood, designating manhood as defined by violence, sex, status and aggression … where sex and brutality are yardsticks by which men are measured.”4 Michael Kimmel acknowledges that the “[p]atriarchy has always been a dual system of power” where the toxic/healthy masculinity binary is understood as a “good man” versus “real man” relationship in cultural norms.5 A good man is honorable, has integrity, and is a protector, while a real man is focused on self-gratification of wealth and sexuality. Furthermore, “the real man is the performative part. The real man is the part that has to perform for others, to validate their masculinities. The real man is homosocial. The good man is abstract.”6 Austen provides a few narrative openings that point toward this shift of Wickham from being a mere social evil to a disempowered male who uses sexuality and violence to exact his revenge. These include Elizabeth’s considering his ulterior motives for running off with Lydia, Darcy’s insinuations about his “vicious propensities,” and Mrs. Reynolds’s assessment that he has “turned out very wild.”7 The root cause of Wickham’s evil lies between his resentment at being denied the financial (hence social) means that he believes his relationship with Darcy Senior merits and his inability to comprehend the innate unfairness of the patriarchal system that prevented any legal recourse to acquire said inheritance, as well as being raised in an atmosphere that implied his equality. Kimmel describes the modern American male’s anger as an enemy: “Our enemy is an ideology of masculinity that we inherited from our fathers, and their fathers before them, an ideology that promises unparalleled acquisition coupled with tragically impoverished emotional intelligence.”8 This coupling can result in a sense of entitlement that turns to anger when the entitlement is denied; then the anger becomes toxic. In Wickham, we see the building blocks for modern masculine toxic anger that manifests throughout contemporary adaptions as predatory behavior.

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When we first meet George Wickham in the novel, we are informed that he is handsome, has a “gentlemanlike appearance,” and distinguishes himself by his general comportment. On further acquaintance he exhibits “a happy readiness of conversation—a readiness at the same time perfectly correct and unassuming” (P&P 80–81). For all intents and purposes, he is assumed to be of the landed gentry because he looks and acts the part. That he is more physically attractive than Darcy is part of his initial attraction for most in Meryton, but the added benefit of his demeanor as socially compelling attracts Elizabeth Bennet most of all. David Castronovo’s discussion of the construct of the English gentleman, particularly in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, points to Lord Chesterfield’s Letters to His Son (1749) as a primary source on the performance of gentlemanly conduct: “His vision of the man of the world, the man of fine breeding, was the man of easy carriage, polished manners, adeptness, well-tempered knowledge” who was simultaneously “penetrating, self-contained, and judicious.”9 By the time Chesterfield’s letters were published, they were determined to be educational for deliberate self-aggrandizement, yet Castronovo indicates that he became a kind of agent for promoting the concept that “Conduct determines gentility.”10 Wickham certainly demonstrates the superficial attributes of the Chesterfieldian gentleman. He begins his conversation in an “agreeable manner” on safe topics, such as the weather, lulling Elizabeth into the opinion “that the commonest, dullest, most threadbare topic might be rendered interesting by the skill of the speaker” (P&P 85). However, as his conversation takes a turn toward more personal subject matter, we are introduced to more sophisticated posturing. Readers are first alerted to the dissonance between Wickham’s perceived social position and reality as the topic moves from the weather to his knowledge of and connection to Darcy. Upon confirming that Darcy has made an initial negative impression, Wickham wastes no time in spinning his narrative with just enough truth to be believable while omitting any detail that would throw himself into an undesirable light. His story is designed to elicit the maximum amount of sympathy for his perceived plight while casting Darcy as the villain. A true gentleman would never engage in the topic of his own misfortunes, especially not directly and at length, and he would never attack others. His motives are to put others at ease and create a sense of good, convivial company. Castronovo indicates that The Chesterfieldian fine gentleman was something more; he was penetrating, self-contained, and judicious. He had the sense to “seem to take the world as it is.” But he had the know-how to turn it to his own devices … he was too much of a gentleman—too aware of the world’s usages and their claims on the self—ever to forget courtesy and civility.11 He was advised to “Talk not too often, tell stories seldom, never hold anyone by the button, take rather than give the tone of the company, avoid argumentative conversations, avoid speaking of yourself, [and] be on your guard.”12 David

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Roberts acknowledges that this persona was “easy to caricature: [appearing to put] self-interest above morality,”13 yet Chesterfield himself is emphatic in his insistence that “One of the most important points of life is Decency; which is to do what is proper, and where it is proper.”14 He adamantly advises that a gentleman should “Above all things, and upon all occasions, avoid speaking of yourself, if it be possible”15 and “Neither retail nor receive scandal willingly; for though the defamation of others may for the present gratify the malignity of the pride of our hearts, cool reflection will draw very disadvantageous conclusions from such a disposition.”16 Wickham’s eagerness to raise himself at the expense of Darcy reveals a nefarious performance of the gentleman rather than its reality. While Elizabeth is unequivocal in her dislike of Darcy, flattered by Wickham’s attentiveness, and attracted to his handsomeness, Wickham is subtle in his art of acting the gentleman, which distracts her from immediately sensing the inappropriateness of his chosen topic. Wickham shrewdly lets Elizabeth exclaim her dislike of Darcy by asserting that the intimacy and length of his acquaintance prevent him from offering an objective assessment. In claiming his desire for “good society” and praising Meryton, he is able to bring the conversation subtly back to himself and his story, about the living promised and denied, a lack of formal bequeathal, and the accusation of jealousy as Darcy’s motivation. He even manages to malign the innocent Georgiana while omitting any detail of his interactions with her besides having “devoted hours and hours to her amusement” (P&P 92). Wickham informs Elizabeth of his true class standing by explaining that his father was an attorney prior to being Darcy’s father’s steward, but buries it in the picture he draws of growing up as the godson of Darcy Senior, so close to Darcy that they are virtually brothers, “inmates of the same house, sharing the same amusements, objects of the same parental care” (P&P 90). This education and environment give him the entrée and façade of the gentleman. He uses the veneer of the gentleman to maneuver through the societies of Meryton and Brighton until he has exhausted his credibility. And while he believes his performance of gentry masculinity to be successful for undermining Darcy, it ultimately points to his impending failure to achieve true hegemony. If Wickham were a more sympathetic character, his plight would be worthy of serious reflection, as is Colonel Fitzwilliam, who is both the ideal Chesterfieldian gentleman and a victim of the hegemonic patriarchy that left him with rank but no inheritance. Wickham’s actual rank is closer to Charles Bingley’s, whose father made his fortune in trade. The Bingley fortune was substantial enough to provide for the social entrée of a university education and “inherited property to the amount of nearly an hundred thousand pounds” (P&P 16). Wickham, however, has been raised with a false sense of privilege and feeling of entitlement because of the bequest, rather than having earned it through study or deserving it from loyalty. His subordinate status is specifically tied to having the least cultural status and power. Wickham’s desire to raise his cultural and real capital is exemplified repeatedly. His first attempt at attaining a fortune was his plan to marry

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Georgiana. Darcy outlines Wickham’s true motivation for running off with his sister, beginning with early hints about his character: he had witnessed Wickham’s “vicious propensities—the want of principle” (P&P 222). Darcy fully believes that Wickham’s motivation for the attempted elopement was primarily financial, and he adds a secondary temptation: “I cannot help supposing that the hope of revenging himself on me, was a strong inducement” (P&P 225). Next was his pursuit of the heiress Mary King and her fortune. Elizabeth considers that his attentions to Miss King were motivated by a “wish of independence” (P&P 169) because “handsome young men must have something to live on” (P&P 170). He tries to imitate and undermine the hierarchy for purely selfish ends, and he fails in these attempts to become part of the hegemony. Some have posited that his true threat is that he wastes the time of Elizabeth Bennet, Mary King, and others who are available for precious little time on the marriage market, but this is only a symptom of his selfish self-promotion and belief in his societal prerogatives. As Elizabeth travels through Derbyshire with her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner, they hear of the many debts Wickham had accrued, another sign of his motivation for a large and steady income. After receiving Jane’s two letters about Lydia’s elopement, Elizabeth is convinced that “Never, since reading Jane’s second letter, had she entertained a hope of Wickham meaning to marry her” because “it was impossible to marry for money” (P&P 308). And as information was related back to Elizabeth on reading Lydia’s note to Harriet Forster, further questioning Jane, hearing the intelligence related through gossip, and on conversing with her father, she remains perplexed as to why he would run off with Lydia. It takes seeing them after their marriage for Elizabeth to comprehend that Lydia was the instigator, “that their elopement had been brought on by the strength of her love, rather than by his,” and to assume that “he chose to elope with her at all” only because “his flight was rendered necessary by distress of circumstances” (P&P 351). The previous two chapters have already detailed the pressing debts that forced Wickham to flee or face the consequences. Additionally, the term “distress of circumstances” is intentionally vague, and debts of honor can cover a multitude of sins. This legacy of financial wreckage and dishonorable behavior toward his fellow officers indicates that a majority of Wickham’s motivations have been financial and social. Until his elopement with Lydia, he had been actively trying to marry for an income—an act disruptive of social order. It also seems clear that he had planned the elopement as a diversionary tactic. Lydia had written to Harriet Forster of their running off to Gretna Green, a town just across the border with Scotland where it was legal to marry without parental consent, even if underage, yet Colonel Forster reported that Mr. Denny had expressed “his belief that W. never intended to go there, or to marry Lydia at all,” contradicting Lydia’s belief and proving that Wickham was trying to buy himself some time by duping his pursuers and sending them in the opposite direction from his true destination, London (P&P 303). He hid both his real motivations to escape his creditors and his route. When R. W. Connell states, “The social boundary here was marked by

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the code of honor, which was not applied outside the gentry,” she is referring to the landed gentry’s relationship with other strata, particularly lower orders, of society.17 Yet this cuts both ways: as Wickham reveals his lack of concern for the code of honor in his dealings with both women and his fellow officers, it is a sign of his failed attempts to attain gentry/hegemonic masculinity. Wickham’s sense of entitlement was born of his treatment, specifically by Darcy’s father. Upon the latter’s death, Wickham was faced with the immediacy of his perceived downward social mobility. Although the role of parish curate would have guaranteed him a more honorable social position than steward’s son, it was a decline in lifestyle, as he had been used to being treated as a second son. Once this combination of perceived and real decline was activated, his fear and sense of victimization in his predicament turned him into the social disrupter that we see in the novel. Wickham’s history offers a rendering of cultural hegemony as represented by Marxist theorists such as Antonio Gramsci and Clifford Geertz. A simplification of Gramsci’s theory is that “ruling groups impose a direction on social life; subordinates are manipulatively persuaded to board the ‘dominant fundamental’ express,” while Geertz’s addition to this is that “Subordinate groups may participate in maintaining a symbolic universe, even if it serves to legitimate their domination. In other words, they can share a kind of half-conscious complicity in their own victimization.”18 Wickham’s history with the Darcy family drives him to maintain his perceived social status, the hegemonic position he has been raised to expect, but his inability to live up to the gentry masculinity standard means he is thwarted at every turn, leaving him desperate and a failure. Modern adaptors have translated Wickham’s fear, desperation, and sense of victimization into anger and aggression—the very ingredients of toxic masculinity. An explanation for this toxicity can be found in Michael Kimmel’s discussion of modern masculine anger: “Aggrieved entitlement can mobilize one politically, but it is often a mobilization towards the past … It invariably distorts one’s vision and leads to a misdirected anger—often at those just below you on the social ladder.”19 Kimmel also highlights that this anger “requires a focus on class.”20 These adaptations portray Wickham’s failed attempts to establish hegemony and his subsequent frustrations, and they update his threats as toxic. The severity of this behavior ranges from adultery to pedophilia to rape. Each adaptation reveals specific versions of male toxicity, but always in the general framework of a sexual predator. I will begin with more historically based adaptations and progress toward more modernized adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, illustrating Wickham’s shift from Austen’s original to versions of toxic masculinity. There are several popular novel adaptations that stay grounded in the historical period, but change perspectives or present the period with slight differences from the original. Jo Baker’s Longbourn (2013) is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice from the perspective of the servants in the Bennet household, specifically the housemaid, Susan. Wickham singles out the other maid at Longbourn, Polly, for particular attention as he is “Struck, as people sometimes are, by a child’s sheer loveliness.”21

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He takes every opportunity to touch her face and give her small coins as tips for little services rendered, such as retrieving his hat when he is departing or showing him to different parts of the house. He talks her up and pays her a special kind of attention. Early on, he wanders into the kitchen, essentially to size up the “lovely girls” downstairs rather than entertain the ladies upstairs, explaining that he is at home with the servants since his father was but a “humble steward.”22 This is the first of so many visits to Longbourn that James Smith (the servant proxy for Darcy) feels “Wickham was seeping everywhere, slipping through cracks and oozing across the floors, and starting to look as though he’d always be there, and would be got used to, like rising groundwater.”23 Polly likes him because he gives her money with which she enjoys playing: He handed over pennies and halfpennies and farthings as if they were trash for which he could have not possible use himself … [and] he called her Little Miss, and that was nice. He gave her smiles, too, and asked her questions, and sometimes he touched her cheek. She was not sure that she quite liked that, but she did not know that it mattered.24 On the evening before the militia is due to leave Meryton, Wickham decides to make his move on Polly. He chats with her about her age (“Twelve, thirteen maybe”) and promises to send her pineapple bonbons from Brighton “If you’ll be sweet to me now … You will be, won’t you? Sweet.”25 He moves close to her, puts his hand on her cheek, and runs it “down her throat … [stopping] at the collar of her dress” as James calls for her and is standing in the room.26 Wickham is frustrated at being interrupted and tries to justify his attempted seduction with the accusation that James is “a dog-in-the-manger, and you begrudge me mine … Anyone can see that little doxy’s getting a good going over; she’s just oozing with it.”27 Although drunk, Wickham has been planning this seduction since his first meeting with Polly, plying her with coins and pleasantries and assuming that she is disposable because she is a maid. This situation is, of course, exacerbated by the fact of her age. Current audiences understand that this is not only the seduction of a servant but pedophilic. Wickham’s penchant for young girls is reinforced when he returns to Longbourn with Lydia as his wife: Little Lyddie pressed a bare grubby hand into Mr. Hill’s old thin one; a gold-and-diamond ring glittered. Her cheeks were flushed, her eyes bright as he helped her down from the coach, and she seemed very much the girl that she had been.28 While Baker represents Wickham as a pedophile, P. D. James’s Death Comes to Pemberley (2011) portrays him as an adulterer with a destructive personality. The novel is set six years after the marriage of Darcy and Elizabeth, in which time neither has had any contact with the Wickhams. Lydia appears at Pemberley, in a

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panicked state, claiming that Wickham has been murdered and that Captain Denny, who was traveling with them, was the assailant. When the two men are discovered near a cottage inhabited by Pemberley’s servants, a drunk Wickham is kneeling over Denny’s corpse exclaiming, “I’ve killed him! I’ve killed him! It’s my fault.”29 After arguing on the way to Pemberley, Denny had left the carriage and walked off into the woods with Wickham close behind him, leaving Lydia and the driver in the carriage. Shortly thereafter, the driver and Lydia had heard gunshots prior to beating a hasty retreat to Pemberley. The bulk of the story concerns proving Wickham’s innocence, but the catalyst for the attack traces back to Wickham’s infidelity with a servant, Louisa Bidwell, with whom he has fathered a child. Louisa’s brother, William, mistook Denny for Wickham, “an officer of the militia” whom he believed “had attempted an assault on his sister” and struck him with a hot poker.30 Denny subsequently staggered away and tripped, hitting his head on a rock, causing his death. After Wickham receives a royal pardon based on William’s death-bed confession, he describes the relationship with Louisa to Darcy and his attorney. While Lydia was staying with Jane and Charles at their estate, where she remained “for several weeks during the summer,” he resided at a cheap local inn.31 It was here that he met Louisa and started an affair with her, preying on her loneliness, as her fiancé was absent and she was left as her dying brother’s primary care-giver. He admits, “I seduced her, but I assure you I did not force her. I have never found it necessary to violate any female and have never known a young woman more eager for love,” then acknowledges that he lied to her about his name (stealing Darcy’s initials) and marital status.32 I did what most men do in my situation. I congratulate myself that my story was convincing and likely to induce compassion in a susceptible young woman. I told her I was Frederick Delancey, I have always liked the idea of those initials, and that I had been a soldier wounded in the Irish campaign— that much was true—and had returned home to find my dearly beloved wife had died in childbirth, and my son with her. This unhappy saga greatly increased Louisa’s love and devotion and I was forced to embroider it by saying that I would later be going to London to find a job, and I would then return to marry her.33 Wickham also confesses to planning to abduct his bastard son from Louisa so that he could be raised by his half-sister, Mrs. Younge. Darcy surmises the real reason why Denny and Wickham fought was that Denny knew about this plan and “was on his way to warn Louisa”; consequently, “[t]he words you said over his dead body were true. You killed your friend. You killed him as surely as if you had run him through with a sword.”34 Wickham does not refute Darcy’s accusation. The insinuation of violence and the adultery are tied together, painting a different kind of desperation in the character of Wickham.

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While the novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2009) is ostensibly aimed at young adult readers, there are some very adult implications for the character of Wickham in this adaptation of the story. Technically, it is a mash-up of the original novel and a monster-themed tale; however, this amalgam involves more than merely adding zombies to Elizabeth and Darcy’s story. Wickham’s character is both more violent and more sexualized than in the original. Instead of besting Darcy in a match as children in front of Darcy’s father, inciting the patriarch’s favoritism of him over his own son (as he tells Elizabeth at the party at Lucas Lodge) and thus igniting Darcy’s jealousy toward him, Darcy explains his coldness toward Wickham was fostered by the latter’s callous disdain for one of his servants—“Mr. Wickham happily boasted of his intention to practice roundhouse kicks on our deaf stable boy, in the hopes that a broken neck would serve as punishment for a saddle polishing that hadn’t met with his approval”—as well as his general comportment and attempts to spirit away Georgiana.35 Darcy managed to stop Wickham’s attack only by breaking both of his legs. We also learn about his promiscuity shortly after his and Lydia’s elopement from Brighton. Colonel Forster reveals he revised his opinion of Wickham after discovering that he had “left at least one poor milkmaid in a delicate condition.”36 Wickham’s violent tendencies are also highlighted when we discover that he “tried to kill the Colonel” while changing horses en route to London.37 As news of his elopement spreads through Meryton, Elizabeth hears tales of him abandoning a series of pregnant women. Mr. Gardiner’s letter recounts Colonel Forster’s estimate that an additional thousand pounds would be required in Brighton “to provide for those sorry girls he had left with stains of shame.”38 Clearly, Wickham has lost control of both his aggression and his libido. In order to subdue both, the novel takes a strange turn, one that seems oddly out of context for the character. Mr. Gardiner soon reports that the couple has been found and Wickham has agreed to marry Lydia; however, he has been involved in a carriage accident that “has left him bedridden and unable to move his limbs, or control his personal business.”39 When the couple arrives at Longbourn, it is clear that Wickham is not only completely incapacitated but reduced to communicating either in moans or by relieving himself. His bowels and bladder have become a passive-aggressive means of expressing his displeasure, exemplified by Lydia’s explanation that “Wickham would surely punish me with an ill-timed soiling” for revealing that Darcy had been at their wedding.40 When Elizabeth enquires about Darcy’s involvement, Mrs. Gardiner explains that he has paid off Wickham’s debts, but in return Wickham had to allow Mr. Darcy to render him lame, as punishment for a lifetime of vice and betrayal, and to ensure that he would never lay another hand in anger, nor leave another bastard behind. To spare what little of his reputation remained, the injuries would be attributed to a carriage accident.41

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A wound to the groin area has been associated with impotence since the earliest Greek and Roman myths, and its association with incontinence is both metaphorical and real in Wickham’s case; he has replaced one type of incontinence (sexual) with another (physical). While the scatological humor that ensues from his condition may have some superficial appeal for a young adult audience, on a deeper textual level the actuality that the only means of controlling his primal behaviors (both sexual and violent) is to render him an invalid is an adult resolution. The threat that he represents—his toxicity—is so dangerous that he is made both sexually and verbally impotent, forever barred not only from reproduction but also from mobility and speech. A further extrapolation of Wickham’s character in the same setting is the film adaptation of the novel, also titled Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016).42 If one were to say that the novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was Pride and Prejudice with a few added zombies, then it would be fair to say that the film version is a zombie movie with a little added Pride and Prejudice, so different are the two. The most important difference is that Wickham is now not just a zombie but King of the Zombies, as is revealed at the very end of the film. After finding her a willing and interested listener, he tries to convince Elizabeth that the zombies can live peacefully with humans, since they do not prey on humans until they have ingested human brains. In the denouement, Wickham kidnaps Lydia and takes her to his zombie sanctuary, St. Lazarus. He is then revealed as a pre-zombie when he survives being stabbed in the chest by Darcy. Elizabeth saves Darcy by attacking Wickham and leaving him for dead. However, during the end credits, Wickham arrives at the joint wedding with a zombie army and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. He has literally become a monster, thus intensifying his propensity for violence. He is motivated by the firm belief that he has been marginalized (and therefore victimized), first by Darcy’s denials of his inheritance and then by Lady Catherine’s refusal to support his proposal that pre-zombies might exist in society with non-infected humans. This combination of monstrousness and a sense of victimization encodes a reading of this version of Wickham as toxic. His toxicity lies in his aggressive and arrogant desire to upend the current world order (the ultimate version of hegemonic conquest), but by doing so he may bring about the end of times. In addition to historically based adaptations, there are modernizations that re-envision Wickham as a contemporary toxic male villain. Like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Bridget Jones’s Diary (1996)43 was such a popular retelling that the novel spawned a film,44 with Wickham transformed into Daniel Cleaver in both. Cleaver’s primary flaw in the book is his philandering, although it could be argued that, as Bridget’s boss, he also sexually harasses her. Realistically speaking, it is only when Bridget catches him cheating several months into their relationship that his toxic behavior towards her is exposed. The 2001 movie version develops Cleaver’s character, adding the dimension of his history with Mark Darcy as part of his dispassionate

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objectification of women. According to Cleaver, the two men were friends at college until Darcy had an affair with his fiancée. However, Darcy explains that it was actually Cleaver who slept with his wife, thus upping the sexual transgression from merely sleeping with other people to committing adultery. Following the famous fight scene with Darcy, Cleaver also reveals not only his contempt for women—and especially Bridget—but his equally poor opinion of himself: “Come on Bridget, we belong together—you, me, poor little skirt. If I can’t make it with you, then I can’t make it with anyone.” Bride and Prejudice (2004) both modernizes and reorients cultural perspectives.45 Adapted as a Bollywood-style retelling, this version is multinational not only in location (it is set in India, London, and California) but also in casting. Here, Darcy is the son of the wealthy owners of a US hotel chain. Meanwhile, Johnny Wickham is the son of Darcy’s former nanny and, according to him, was a caddy for Darcy’s father. However, when Darcy’s father passed away, he fired Wickham. Later, Darcy explains to Lalita (the Elizabeth Bennet character) that Wickham impregnated his sixteen-year-old sister Georgiana and tried to marry her for her money while simultaneously planning to seduce both Lalita herself and her younger sister Lahki (Lydia Bennet). He also corresponded with Lahki after leaving India and encouraged her to run away with him once she was in London, during an extended stopover on her journey home from the Kohlis’ (Collins’s) wedding in California. Darcy and Lalita find the pair in time, saving Lahki from Georgiana’s fate. While the ages of both Georgiana and Darcy remain the same as in the original, by today’s sexual standards, both girls and are too young for Wickham. Statutory rape, coupled with his seduction and abandonment of Georgiana, makes Wickham’s behavior not only much more modern but also more threatening. Just as Bridget Jones’s Diary presents the Elizabeth Bennet character from the perspective of her own writing, the video blog (vlog) The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (2012) is designed to be both a public record (available on its own YouTube channel and Facebook page) and a personal and semi-private record of her life.46 (Much of the dramatic tension hinges on when and if various characters will discover Lizzie’s channel.) Lizzie and twenty-year-old Lydia meet George Wickham at a bar. When Lizzie and George begin dating, he tells her that Darcy reneged on a promise to pay his college tuition. Later, of course, it turns out that Darcy provided Wickham with sufficient funds to pay for his entire college career, but he squandered the lot in a single year and Darcy refused to give him any more. Consequently, he began to date Georgiana (Gigi), but she ended the relationship when Darcy revealed that Wickham was only seeing her for her inheritance. Until this point, this modern version of the Wickham character is little different from the original. However, the story turns much darker when he turns his attention toward Lydia. Lizzie and her sister have a misunderstanding, which leads to a breach, and Lydia runs off with Wickham. Unbeknownst to Lydia, Wickham records a sex tape, then designs a webpage counting down the days until its

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release. To save Lydia’s reputation, Darcy purchases the company that owns both the website and the copyright to the video. In addition to being a predatory act in itself, filming the video marks an escalation in the modern Wickham’s emotional and psychological brutality. The move from the social intimacy of courtship to the physical intimacy of a sexual relationship stretches his level of violation far beyond mere retaliation toward either Lizzie or Darcy. Inherent in this version, too, is the possibility that Wickham could still wreak havoc by releasing a private copy of the video anytime in the future. And because Lydia has her own vlog, he would damage her privacy as well as her (and Lizzie’s) celebrity, attacking them both financially and personally. Thus, he would be toxic not only in the traditional sense but culturally and economically. Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy (2003) may be the tamest of all the versions discussed here, but it has rather insidious implications within the culture it reflects.47 It is a Mormon take on the story, and while not overtly religious, it does rely on an understanding of the Church and its practices to navigate some of its features. Elizabeth Bennet is a college student at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where she lives with Jane (Vasquez) and Lydia and Kitty (Meryton). Lydia’s parents purchased the condominium that they share, signaling her wealth compared with Elizabeth and Jane (a foreign exchange student). Although Jack Wickham and Elizabeth are now only friends, having dated previously, he relies on her to pay for their activities and constantly pressures her to marry him. While there is no promise of money from the Darcy family, Jack informs Elizabeth that Darcy ended his relationship with Darcy’s sister, Georgiana, because of his middle-class background and offers this as an explanation for the tension between them. In this adaptation, Wickham’s threat to women cannot be pictured as sexual on account of the Mormon Church’s Law of Chastity, which prohibits any and all sexual activity, including even the suggestion of representing lustfulness (although we do see him getting a bit cheeky with Elizabeth). Instead, the filmmakers change Wickham’s vice to gambling, since there is an explicit prohibition against this: It is opposed to any game of chance, occupation, or so-called business, which takes money from the person who may be possessed of it without giving value received in return … [and] to all practices the tendency of which is to encourage the spirit of reckless speculation, and particularly to that which tends to degrade or weaken the high moral standard which members of the Church, and our community at large, have always maintained.48 After attempting to marry Georgiana, Wickham courts every woman indiscriminately and tries to elope to Las Vegas with Lydia in the hope that she will cover his gambling debts. Moreover, it is relatively easy for him to find new victims because of the pressure the Mormon Church exerts on young women to marry. Wickham is finally arrested in Las Vegas for outstanding debts but manages to escape

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prison because of his good looks. Because the film is primarily a Mormon text (of sorts), the obvious source of Wickham’s rapaciousness is his gambling, with only the implication of his threat of sexuality as a means to an end. This is the Mormon equivalent, I would argue, of the kind of toxic masculinity that the other mainstream adaptations present. In this instance, Wickham’s behavior spirals from that of a jerk (or even a grifter or gold-digger) to toxic due to his sense of entitlement, his indignation at his perceived victimization at the hands of Darcy, and the class distinctions that he emphasizes to Elizabeth and others when attempting to justify his actions. Curtis Sittenfeld presents a more complex version of Wickham in his novel Eligible (2016).49 Here, the traditional Wickham character is bifurcated into two characters: Hamilton Ryan (who goes by “Ham”) and Jasper Wick (Wick/Ham). The former is an extremely successful CrossFit gym owner who is handsome, friendly, likable, and helpful. He is there for the crisis-inducing elopement of Lydia; however, since Sittenfeld has increased everyone’s ages (Lydia is twentythree), the real issue in this retelling is the fact that Ham is transgender. Mrs. Bennet rejects the couple when they come out to her about him, not understanding what it means to be transgender. Darcy, a neurosurgeon, explains to Mrs. Bennet (in extremely simplistic terms) that being transgender is akin to having a birth defect in order to help her understand and eventually accept Ham as her son-in-law. The Ham Ryan character is included in the plot primarily so that Darcy may rescue Lydia (in a sense) by helping to salvage the relationship between mother and daughter. Jasper Wick is Hyde to Ham Ryan’s Jekyll. He has strung along Liz Bennet with no more than flirtations and friendship through fourteen years of multiple girlfriends and a marriage (during the last five years of which she has refused to communicate with him). When they finally reconnect (shortly before the events of the novel) and consummate their relationship (of sorts), he lies to her about the status of his marriage, claiming it is an open relationship and that he and his wife will divorce as soon as she receives an inheritance from her grandmother. In furtherance of this charade, he convinces Liz that they must not be seen in public because his wife’s relatives would inform her grandmother, who would negate the legacy. While this toxic male behavior is entirely in keeping with the familiar modern construction of the feckless, dishonest Wickham character, Jasper’s connection to Darcy takes the narrative in a bizarre, unexpected direction. Jasper tells Liz that he wrote a piece for his creative writing class at Stanford at the height of the “political correctness bullshit” of the late 1990s. His black, female creative writing professor found the essay offensive and consequently Jasper found himself “caught in the middle of a racial controversy” that landed him in front of a student judiciary hearing, with Darcy as his representative.50 In his account of the hearing, Jasper recalls Darcy throwing “him under the bus” when he should have defended him, since he was the only committee member who actually knew him (and hence understood his actions were not racially motivated).51 He claims that he was permitted to receive his degree, but barred from graduation and required to leave the university campus immediately.

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Later in the novel, Darcy presents a very different version of these events in a letter to Liz. He explains that Jasper’s essay was prurient “frat-boy lit”52 that offended both his fellow students and the professor. That evening, the professor returned home to find that her apartment had been broken into and “there were puddles of urine all over the papers on her desk and the keyboard of her computer.”53 Witnesses placed a drunken Wick in the vicinity and he confessed to the campus police, which was sufficient evidence for the judicial committee to convict him of destruction of personal property and expel him from Stanford without a degree. Moreover, Darcy insists that Jasper’s “transgression had a racial component; whether or not he himself was aware of it,” as the hearing considered an additional hate crime charge.54 Therefore, this most complex (as well as the most recent) version of the Wickham character to date combines the toxicity of sexual devious/ deviant and aggressive behaviors with inherent racism to render Jasper as truly an angry, white male. Modern adaptations of the George Wickham character present various types of toxic masculinity, primarily focused on sexual deviancy, but all are far more psychologically menacing than the original. Austen’s Wickham, as understood through the hegemonic/subordinate masculinity binary, was predominantly a danger to the prevailing social and financial structures within a particular and narrow slice of culture. Contemporary adaptors recognize that the risk he represented then does not generate the same anxiety today, so they reinterpret him to epitomize unhealthy and highly individuated evils that are reinforced by the fact that he can take advantage of myriad weaknesses (combinations of the physical, emotional, and psychological). Each adaptation speaks to a particular group’s idea of the danger that Wickham can represent. In each case, he fails to reach his hegemonic potential, and his arrogance (with regard to what he feels he deserves), coupled with increasing desperation and frustration as he sees his efforts thwarted, drives him to toxic ends. Longbourn expresses this toxicity as pedophilic. Death Comes to Pemberley envisions Wickham as an adulterer. The novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies presents him as sexually incontinent, while the film version transforms him into an actual monster as well as a megalomaniac. Daniel Cleaver is a philanderer and sexual harasser in the novel Bridget Jones’s Diary, plus an adulterer in the film adaptation. Bride and Prejudice recasts Wickham as a modern-day pedophile as well as a general scoundrel, while The Lizzie Bennet Diaries adds blackmail to an already long list of deviant behavior. Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy gives us a Wickham whose addiction to gambling may be as abhorrent to the Mormon community as sexually predatory activity is to mainstream modern society. And Eligible renders Jasper Wick as complexly toxic not only toward women but also toward racial others. All of these are versions and expressions of toxic behavior that result directly from Wickham’s failure to achieve each culture’s male benchmark. What we see as a real threat—one that is much more immanently harmful than the social upheaval caused by a lower-class man’s infiltration into the landed gentry—is not only society’s differentiation of threat levels but a more serious identification of what George Wickham could and actually might be.

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Notes 1 C. J. Pascoe and Tristan Bridges, Exploring Masculinities: Identity, Inequity, Continuity, and Change (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), 17. 2 Ibid., 18. 3 Ibid., 18. 4 Colleen Clemens, “What We Mean When We Say ‘Toxic Masculinity,’” Teaching Tolerance, December 11, 2017, 2, www.tolerance.org/magazine/what-we-mea n-when-we-say-toxic-masculinity. 5 Michael Kimmel and Lisa Wade, “Ask a Feminist: Michael Kimmel and Lisa Wade Discuss Toxic Masculinity,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 44, no. 1 (2018), 237–238. 6 Ibid., 238. 7 Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, ed. Pat Rogers, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 222, 273. All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text. 8 Michael Kimmel, Angry White Men (New York: Nation Books, 2015), 9. 9 David Castronovo, The English Gentleman: Images and Ideals in Literature and Society (New York: Unger Press, 1987), 37–38. 10 Ibid., 36. 11 Ibid., 38 12 Ibid. 13 David Roberts, “Introduction,” in Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, Lord Chesterfield’s Letters, ed. David Roberts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), x. 14 Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, Lord Chesterfield’s Letters (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 12–13. 15 Ibid., 102. 16 Ibid., 105–106. 17 R. W. Connell, Masculinities (2nd edition) (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), 191. 18 T. J. Jackson Lears, “The Concept of Cultural Hegemony: Problems and Possibilities,” American Historical Review 90, no. 3 (1985), 568, 573. 19 Kimmel, 24. 20 Ibid., 25. 21 Jo Baker, Longbourn (New York: Vintage, 2013), 142. 22 Ibid., 177. 23 Ibid., 178. 24 Ibid., 203. 25 Ibid., 207–208. 26 Ibid., 208. 27 Ibid., 209. 28 Ibid., 287. 29 P. D. James, Death Comes to Pemberley (New York: Vintage, 2011), 68. 30 Ibid., 238. 31 Ibid., 266. 32 Ibid. 33 Ibid., 267. 34 Ibid., 273. 35 Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Philadelphia: Quirk Books, 2009), 163. 36 Ibid., 236. 37 Ibid., 238. 38 Ibid., 242.

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39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54

Ibid., 246. Ibid., 261. Ibid., 264. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, directed by Burr Steers (Los Angeles: Cross Creek Pictures and Sierra Pictures, 2016). Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary (New York: Penguin, 1996). Bridget Jones’s Diary, directed by Sharon Maguire (Los Angeles: Miramax, 2001). Bride and Prejudice [2004], directed by Gurinder Chadha (Los Angeles: Miramax, 2005). The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, directed by Hank Green and Bernie Su, April 9, 2012– March 28, 2013, www.youtube.com/user/LizzieBennet. Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy [2003], directed by Andrew Black (Mumbai: Excel Entertainment, 2004). Dallin H. Oaks, “The Evils of Gambling,” November 1972, www.churchofjesuschrist. org/study/ensign/1972/11/the-evils-of-gambling?lang=eng. Curtis Sittenfeld, Eligible (New York: Random House, 2016). Ibid., 276. Ibid. Ibid., 378. Ibid. Ibid., 378–379.

Bibliography Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Edited by Pat Rogers. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Austen, Jane and Seth Grahame-Smith. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Philadelphia: Quirk Books, 2009. Baker, Jo. Longbourn. New York: Vintage, 2013. Black, Andrew, director. Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy [2003]. Mumbai: Excel Entertainment, 2004 [DVD]. Castronovo, David. The English Gentleman: Images and Ideals in Literature and Society. New York: Unger Press, 1987. Chadha, Gurinder, director. Bride and Prejudice [2004]. Los Angeles: Miramax, 2005 [DVD]. Clemens, Colleen. “What We Mean When We Say ‘Toxic Masculinity’.” Teaching Tolerance, December 11, 2017. https://tolerance.org/magazine/what-we-mean-when-we-sa y-toxic-masculinity. Connell, R. W. Masculinities (2nd edition). Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005. Fielding, Helen. Bridget Jones’s Diary. New York: Penguin, 1996. Green, Hank and Bernie Su, directors. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. April 9, 2012–March 28, 2013. www.youtube.com/user/LizzieBennet. Jackson Lears, T. J. “The Concept of Cultural Hegemony: Problems and Possibilities.” American Historical Review 90, no. 3 (1985): 567–593. www.jstor.org/stable/1860957. James, P. D. Death Comes to Pemberley. New York: Vintage, 2011. Kimmel, Michael. Angry White Men. New York: Nation Books, 2015. Kimmel, Michael and Lisa Wade. “Ask a Feminist: Michael Kimmel and Lisa Wade Discuss Toxic Masculinity.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 44, no. 1 (2018): 233–254. Maguire, Sharon, director. Bridget Jones’s Diary. Los Angeles: Miramax, 2001 [DVD]. Markley, Robert. “The Economic Context.” In The Cambridge Companion to Pride and Prejudice, edited by Janet Todd, 79–96. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

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Oaks, Dallin H. “The Evils of Gambling.” November1972. www.churchofjesuschrist.org/ study/ensign/1972/11/the-evils-of-gambling?lang=eng. Pascoe, C. J. and Tristan Bridges. Exploring Masculinities: Identity, Inequity, Continuity, and Change. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016. Roberts, David. “Introduction.” In Philip DormerStanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, Lord Chesterfield’s Letters, edited by David Roberts, ix–xxiii. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992. Sittenfeld, Curtis. Eligible. New York: Random House, 2016. Stanhope, Philip Dormer, 4th Earl of Chesterfield. Lord Chesterfield’s Letters. Edited by David Roberts. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992. Steers, Burr, director. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Los Angeles: Cross Creek Pictures and Sierra Pictures, 2016 [DVD].


This essay explores Jane Austen’s critical engagement with two ideas that are central to feminist legal philosophy: the public/private dichotomy that underpins liberalism and has been (and continues to be) used both to enact and to justify women’s exclusion from various forms of legal subjectivity; and the ethic of care that some feminist legal philosophers argue offers—or should offer—an alternative path to citizenship. Although scholars have explored some aspects of Austen’s literary representations of law, its processes and effects, and the personnel and institutions of justice,1 Austen’s engagement with ideas that are fundamental to feminist legal philosophy has been comparatively neglected. As an exhaustive account of Austen’s exploration of ideas pertinent to feminist legal philosophy is beyond the scope of this essay, I hope instead to offer a way into reading Austen through the lens of feminist jurisprudence by focusing on two novels: Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Emma (1815). My analysis focuses on Austen’s interrogation, through the courtship romance genre in the Romantic era, of two key threads of argument that are central to feminist legal philosophy’s theorization of women’s legal subjectivity: the public/private dichotomy; and the ethic of care and its relationship to conceptions of citizenship. Although these concepts are by no means exhaustive within feminist legal philosophy, they are compelling points of departure from which to read Austen’s works through the lens of feminist jurisprudence for several reasons. First, public and philosophic debate regarding women’s status as legal persons, and the relationship between the ethic of care and female citizenship, can be traced to the Romantic era; they are, for example, explicitly interrogated by Mary Wollstonecraft in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792).2 Second, both threads were deployed as powerful arguments for women’s historic claims to legal subjectivity—in terms of legal personhood, as economic agents and in relation to civil and political rights—across the DOI: 10.4324/9781003181309-18

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nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Third, each continues to resonate in contemporary debates within feminist jurisprudence in the twenty-first century. Analyzing Austen’s exploration of women’s legal subjectivity through gendered conceptions of legal personhood and citizenship proves once again, but in new ways, the enduring relevance, wisdom, and prescience of Austen’s novels in the modern era.

Women, Legal Subjectivity, and Citizenship In The End of Human Rights, Costas Douzinas analyzes the dual, dyadic nature of the legal subject within modern liberal democracies: The subject of law or subjectum is the holder of rights and the bearer of duties and responsibilities. But at the same time, the subject as subjectus is subjected to law, brought to life by law’s protocols, shaped by law’s demands and rewards and called to account before law’s bar.3 In modernity, then, legal subjects are both subjectum—capable of bearing rights and responsibilities, and entering into the authorship of the law—and subjectus— subjected to the law and its implicit violence.4 As Macarena Iribarne and Nan Seuffert argue, women have historically been more subjectus than subjectum, and remain so in most jurisdictions around the globe: “women were subjected to the law, without participating in its authorial production, and imagined through language and law in complex, contradictory and historically contingent manners.”5 Further, Peter Goodrich argues that such legal subjectivities are constructed through both law and language: “The subject of legal authority is bound to law far more strongly by identificatory images or phantasms of a shared substance, by interior and self-imposed limitations, than by the external dictate of positive law.”6 The role that literature—and the novel in particular—has played in fostering such “identificatory images or phantasms of a shared substance” and “interior and self-imposed limitations” in relation to the forging of women’s legal subjectivities across cultural, historical, and social contexts is still being identified, described, and analyzed by literary scholarship.7 This essay seeks to advance that scholarship by attending to Austen’s interrogation of women’s status as subjectum and subjectus in Pride and Prejudice and Emma. In the legal and political context of the Romantic era, women lacked the status of subjectum—the bearers of legal rights and responsibilities who may also become authorial subjects of law—through their complete exclusion from civic and political participation as either voters or electable representatives, an exclusion they shared with most men before the Reform Acts expanded male suffrage throughout the nineteenth century. While they remained single, women enjoyed the status of the feme sole and with it some claims to subjectum status through their recognition as legal persons who were capable of owning property, earning and

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retaining income, entering into contracts, and incurring liabilities. On marriage, however, women were automatically converted from feme sole to feme covert, under which their separate legal personhood was suspended for the duration of their marriage.8 As William Blackstone records in his Commentaries on the Laws of England: By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law: that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband; under whose wing, protection, and cover, she performs every thing; and is therefore called in our law-French a feme-covert … is said to be covert-baron, or under the protection and influence of her husband, her baron, or lord; and her condition during her marriage is called her coverture.9 Blackstone also records that coverture was “intended for her protection and benefit: so great a favourite is the female sex of the laws of England.”10 As a legal fiction, coverture was necessary to preserve men’s capacity to act as independent, autonomous agents within the public sphere unencumbered by the possibility of separate and potentially conflicting activity on the part of their wives, and justified itself by simultaneously creating, enacting, and celebrating the gendering of married women as natural persons incapable of exercising subjectum legal subjectivity, whose scope of activity should be confined to the family and the home. Married women were therefore subjectus—subject to the law, but without the capacity to enter into its authorship, and with limited access to its remedies and protections—throughout the Romantic era, in which Austen wrote and published her courtship romance novels. Read jurisprudentially, the courtship plots of Austen’s novels conclude with the inevitable and brutal annihilation of the heroine’s legal personhood and claim to the limited forms of legal subjectivity available to her when she marries the male protagonist. For Austen’s heroines, romantic fulfillment necessitates the ceding of the few legal rights that, as feme sole, they possess. Although Austen clearly critiques law’s privileging of the patrilineal inheritance of property, placing primogeniture and its consequences for both men and women at the center of Sense and Sensibility (1811) and Pride and Prejudice, she neither explicitly nor implicitly critiques the doctrine of coverture and the suspension of her heroines’ legal personhood upon their marriages; her concluding chapters do not register those heroines’ loss of the legal capacity to own property separately from their husbands, to contract, or to sue or be sued in their own names. Yet, from within this apparent absence of critical engagement with the doctrine of coverture itself, Austen explicitly critiques two elements of its founding rationale that have since formed the central planks of feminist legal philosophy: the public/private dichotomy that underpins liberalism and has been used to justify and enact women’s exclusion from subjectum forms of legal subjectivity; and the ethic of care as an alternative, feminized path to citizenship.

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Feminist legal philosophers extensively critique the public/private dichotomy for its construction of gender identities, the limitations these constructions place upon women’s legal subjectivity, and the consequent failures of law, legal institutions, and personnel to reflect women’s experiences and protect them from harm.11 Margaret Davies describes the public/private dichotomy as “one of the great hallmarks of liberalism” and explains it in the following terms: The division is made slightly different in different contexts, but essentially the public is the realm of law, of regulation, of the state and of political participation, while the private is the realm of the individual and his or her particular social, familial, religious and cultural affiliations. The community and the market exist in a somewhat indeterminate space between the extremes of public and private.12 Men have traditionally been agents of the public sphere, enjoying legal, political, and economic rights, both framing and embodying “the sovereign, self-interested, masculine liberal subject”;13 women, meanwhile, have been confined to the realm of the private, which is constructed as a space beyond the scope of law, regulation, and intervention by the state. The public/private dichotomy at the heart of liberalism has been used to exclude women from the public sphere, to rationalize denying women full civic and economic rights, and to justify state non-intervention in the private realm. Critiquing and attacking the public/private dichotomy—making the personal political—was critical to the feminist movements of the 1970s and 1980s, and led to law reform in relation to workplace rights, family law, domestic violence, and sexual assault as well as the creation of sexual harassment as a legal wrong, among other achievements. The need for the work of feminist law reform to continue is clear from the emergence of the #MeToo social media phenomenon, which both symbolizes and performs the failure of law and legal institutions to reflect women’s experience and redress gendered harms, particularly forms of violence against women. The gendered consequences of the public/private dichotomy in terms of legal personhood and subjectivity also inform gendered conceptualizations of citizenship. As Margot Young argues, “individuated citizenship … lies with those who formally possess legal rights and privileges,” but this can be contrasted with “an understanding of citizenship that is characteristic of group membership and that is relational. Here the central marker of citizenship is participation in civic responsibilities.”14 These different conceptualizations of citizenship are deeply gendered: “men have been positioned in the public realm of work and the market, women in the private arena of home, family and community.”15 This gendered division influences the modes of citizenship that are available to men and women: “The activities of liberal citizenship—paid employment, voting, political participation, public service—take place in the public sphere and stand in opposition to the activities of the private sphere and to the activities of ‘non-citizens,’ such as

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women.”16 Consequently, “women are incorporated in civil society not as citizens but as members of a family—a realm distinct from civil society.”17 Although feminist legal philosophers critique, to varying degrees, the public/ private dichotomy central to liberalism, its constructions of gender and its consequences for women’s legal subjectivity, recognition, and participation as citizens, there is no general consensus on how the problem should or could be overcome. Seeking formal equality for women by stressing their capacity and qualities for full civic participation in the public sphere has been a powerful argument for the removal of women’s impaired legal personhood and granting formal rights of citizenship and employment. However, this approach tends to privilege women who are in positions to take up these rights and responsibilities (white, middle-class, able-bodied, heterosexual women), and fails to accommodate the intersectionality of indigenous women, culturally and linguistically diverse women, and LGBTQI women, for example. Further, according women formal equality by removing legal barriers to their civic participation fails to recognize women’s distinctive qualities and their potential to remodel citizenship itself. As Rosemary Hunter argues: While some feminists have argued that the damaging effects of the public/private distinction for women may be overcome by extending the “public” values of justice, rights and equality to areas traditionally designated as “private,” others have made the reverse argument, that values traditionally associated with the “private” such as care, connection and empathy, should be extended to the public sphere.18 Wendy Brown has similarly noted that “the trap consists in working with formulations of personhood, citizenship, and politics that themselves contain women’s subordination.”19 Carole Pateman, particularly, has highlighted that simply extending citizenship to women on terms of formal equality confounds the influence of women’s unique insights, roles, and activities within the conceptualization of citizenship itself.20 She also argues that as citizenship is increasingly framed in economic terms, through patterns of income-generating labor and consumption, women are further alienated from citizenship because their unpaid, care-based roles are not recognized as valid contributions within the liberal democratic state.21 By contrast, some feminist legal philosophers, such as Catharine MacKinnon, argue that extolling the ethic of care and women’s care-based roles reflects the internalization of established patriarchal structures and amounts to a vain attempt to value what men have assigned to women, not an alternative conceptualization of citizenship.22 These two strands of thought—seeking formal legal equality between men and women by stressing the sameness of women with men, and tackling the inherent masculinity of established modes of legal subjectivity by bringing the private into the public—sit uneasily within feminist legal philosophy and activism. They

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represent, in some respects, opposing yet intertwined feminist jurisprudential approaches to theorizing law and its failures. The former is associated with liberal feminism and its focus on the sameness of men and women to campaign for the extension of rights enjoyed by men to women; the latter is associated instead with the exploration of gender difference and demands the reformation of established power relationships to accommodate that difference. This debate—between emphasizing sameness or difference as pathways to women’s equality—did not, of course, begin with the emergence of feminist jurisprudence within the legal academy in the 1970s. It can be traced back at least as far as Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. England in the Romantic period, of course, witnessed an acutely political and at times violent debate between conflicting ideologies of the relationship between the individual, the sovereign, and the state. Wollstonecraft explicitly projected women into that debate and although, as Anne Mellor argues, she was by no means the first feminist philosophical writer to stake a claim for women as rational subjects and citizens, Vindication was “the most favourably reviewed, widely read, and—despite the scandal surrounding Wollstonecraft’s death and the publication of Godwin’s Memoirs—lastingly influential feminist tract of the period.”23 Wollstonecraft advocated for the social, cultural, political, and economic realization of a new, educated, rational woman who—whether married or single—would have access to the professions, private property, and political participation, equipping her for a life of domestic, social, and national service. To stake this claim, she drew on both strands of feminist legal philosophy: first, she justified the removal of formal barriers to women’s civic and economic participation and educational and professional opportunities by stressing their sameness with men; and, second, she emphasized that such opportunities would underpin their care-based roles and responsibilities to men, children, elders, the home, and future generations through the rearing of children. Jane Austen, too, engages in diverging and complex ways with both strands of feminist legal philosophical thought. Through the courtship romance genre, and specifically her configuration of femininity, masculinity, and heterosexual marriage, she interrogates both the public/private dichotomy and the conceptualization of citizenship through the ethic of care. As I argue elsewhere, Austen’s professional dedication to courtship romance was a deliberate strategy to rewrite gender relationships where its influence on women would be greatest—in the context of heterosexual love and companionate marriage, to which the courtship romance genre is uniquely suited.24 From within the courtship romance genre, Austen not only rewrote masculinity for new forms of femininity premised on agency and selfhood emerging in the Romantic era but also dramatized how marriage itself could break down the public/private dichotomy and support new models of citizenship grounded in the ethic of care. Karen Newman argues that “by reading an Austen novel as a unity with romantic marriage as its final statement, we impose a resolution on her work that makes it conform to the very expectations for women and novels that Austen’s irony constantly undermines.”25

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Reading jurisprudentially, however, it becomes apparent that the marriages Austen creates in Pride and Prejudice and Emma are unconventional, and in ways that speak directly to the concerns of feminist legal philosophy. In each of these novels, Austen foregrounds heroines who are not only highly rational and possessed of intelligence and agency but self-consciously and determinedly so; indeed, for Elizabeth Bennet and Emma Woodhouse, their intellect forms a core component of their identity and sense of subjectivity. Further, in these two novels Austen constructs the relationship between the heroine and the male protagonist with a depth that is matched only by Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth in Persuasion. It is in the depth and complexity of these relationships, I argue, that Austen offers a new model of marriage that may, if not eliminate coverture itself, offer Elizabeth and Emma opportunities to acquire subjectum legal subjectivity through the breakdown the public/private dichotomy and the valuing of care as a path to citizenship.

“Judgment, Information, and Knowledge of the World” Physically energetic, intellectually astute, outspoken, caring of her family and friends, and deeply interested in the moral questions of her social world, Elizabeth Bennet personifies Mary Wollstonecraft’s “new ideal of the rational, maternal, bourgeois, female citizen.”26 The problem at the center of Pride and Prejudice is whether it is possible for Elizabeth to express that feminine subjectivity within the context of marriage. If, as Mary Poovey argues, “a woman could legitimately express herself only by choosing to marry and then by sustaining her marriage … she could, through her marriage, not only satisfy her own needs but also influence society.”27 Her capacity for that self-expression and influence, however, depended on her choice of husband. In choosing Darcy, Elizabeth opts for a man who not only embodies a new model of masculinity that complements the Romantic feminine subjectivity she embodies28 but also enables her to gain access to forms of legal subjectivity that are more akin to subjectum than subjectus status. When she learns of Lydia’s impending marriage to Wickham, Elizabeth quietly reflects on what she believes she has lost: a marriage that “could teach the admiring multitude what connubial felicity really was.”29 Focalizing through Elizabeth’s reflection on their relationship and what it might have been, Austen offers an explicit formulation for this “happy marriage” to Mr. Darcy: She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the man, who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her. His understanding and temper, though unlike her own, would have answered all her wishes. It was an union that must have been to the advantage of both; by her ease and liveliness, his mind might have been softened, his manners improved, and from his judgment, information, and knowledge of the world, she must have received benefit of greater importance. (P&P 295)

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This brief, almost fleeting recipe for “connubial felicity”—buried within Lydia and Wickham’s contrasting elopement, discovery, and forced marriage—might be interpreted as yet another signal of Austen’s endorsement of mutual love and compatibility within marriage. Yet, read through the lens of feminist jurisprudence, in this handful of sentences Austen advances the breakdown of the public/private dichotomy from within the marriage relationship itself. Elizabeth reflects that if she were to marry Darcy, she would gain the “benefit” of his “judgment, information, and knowledge of the world”—qualities gendered as masculine that supposedly qualified men for action within the public sphere, and which men honed through their activities as public and civic agents. The supposed lack of such qualities in women justified their confinement to the private sphere, their exclusion from civic participation, and the suspension of their legal personhood during marriage. Indeed, in this passage Austen does not dispute that Elizabeth lacks these qualities; rather, she explicitly draws the reader’s attention to their absence even in a woman as intelligent and rational as Elizabeth Bennet. It is apparent from Darcy’s intellect, education, conversation, love of reading, commitment to self-improvement, work ethic, and status within his community that he is a self-sufficient, driven, powerful, and respected operator within his political, economic, and civic context. His “judgment, information, and knowledge of the world” are considerable—and certainly exceed those of any other man in the novel—and as a young gentry woman of limited means and few (if any) socially acceptable paths to intellectual or professional advancement, marrying Darcy is Elizabeth’s best opportunity to develop the knowledge and understanding she needs for meaningful engagement with a world of ideas beyond the domestic realm. This, Austen makes clear, is a “benefit of greater importance” than Elizabeth’s gift to Darcy; the benefit is greater because, through marrying Darcy, Elizabeth will be offered opportunities for greater self-realization not because she becomes a wife but because of whom she chooses to marry. Her realization that Darcy is “exactly the man, who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her” is triggered not because she loves him—that moment comes much later in the novel—but because of the “benefit” she realizes she will receive by marrying a man who embodies these qualities. In Darcy, Elizabeth has found someone for whom she is willing to trade her status as a feme sole because what she will gain from him, specifically, is worth more to her than a form of legal personhood that brings her so few educational, professional, economic, or civic opportunities. Within Elizabeth’s vision of “connubial felicity,” she has no doubt whatsoever that Darcy will share his “judgment, information, and knowledge of the world” with her. She stakes a claim for engagement with the public sphere not by demanding access to it but from within the marriage relationship itself. Her assumption that Darcy will share those qualities with her and allow her access to the public realm conflicts with dominant cultural conceptions of marriage both performed and underpinned by the doctrine of coverture, but for Elizabeth it is a

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well-founded, natural, and logical conclusion, given the relationship she has formed with Darcy throughout the novel. Darcy consistently treats Elizabeth with the openness and honesty demanded of an intellectual and moral equal, even when his approach is hurtful and breaches typical courtship practice (his first marriage proposal), reflects poorly on himself (his epistolary confession that he separated Bingley from Jane), and risks his family’s reputation (disclosing his sister’s intended elopement with Wickham). Darcy respects and admires Elizabeth’s intelligence and moral compass; indeed, her intellectual self-possession and lack of deference toward him, in glaring contrast to the highly sexualized model of femininity typified in Caroline Bingley, are the reasons why he is attracted to her in the first place. Within Austen’s vision for this marriage, there is no sense in which Elizabeth will play the role of deferential and devoted wife, shielded from the cares of the world, or confine the scope of her activities to transforming Pemberley into a sustaining and revitalizing domestic haven in which Darcy can be free from his civic and economic responsibilities and cares. Such a result would be anathema to Austen’s characterization of both leading protagonists and the relationship she creates between them. Indeed, the ethic of care that supposedly drives wives to foster the home as a nurturing environment for men and children is notably absent not only from Austen’s vision of “connubial felicity” but also from her characterization of Elizabeth. The latter’s contribution to her relationship with Darcy is “ease and liveliness” by which “his mind might have been softened, his manners improved,” not the care and nurture she is culturally and legally assigned within the public/private dichotomy. The short shrift with which Austen treats the ethic of care in Pride and Prejudice is consolidated in a scene Elizabeth and Darcy share after their engagement, when she asks him to account for his love for her. Although Elizabeth states, “My beauty you had early withstood,” it is apparent in the early chapters of the novel that Darcy is erotically drawn to Elizabeth—a passion for her that is only increased by the “liveliness” of her mind (P&P 359). Elizabeth declares: “To be sure, you knew no actual good of me—but nobody thinks of that when they fall in love.” Darcy, as though reaching for some justification for falling in love with her and choosing her as his wife beyond her body and her brain, replies: “Was there no good in your affectionate behaviour to Jane, while she was ill at Netherfield?” Framed in the negative and as a rhetorical question, Austen is almost damning Elizabeth with faint praise. Demonstrating her wit and sarcasm to the full, Elizabeth herself then goes on to satirize the exultation of care as a feminine virtue: “Dearest Jane! Who could have done less for her? But make a virtue of it by all means” (P&P 360; original emphasis). Austen’s formulation of the “happy marriage” that concludes Pride and Prejudice, then, is grounded in a breakdown of the public/private dichotomy within the marriage relationship. In marrying Darcy, Elizabeth may agree to suspend her legal personhood, but in terms of her development as a legal subject with an externalized political, economic, and civic outlook (if not yet a culturally

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sanctioned and legally defined role), she gains far more in becoming a feme covert than she concedes as a feme sole because of the man she chooses to marry. Darcy embodies not only the “judgment, information, and knowledge of the world” that Elizabeth needs to develop a more complex and informed legal subjectivity but also a new model of masculinity defined by authenticity and independent selfhood who is willing to engage with women as intellectual and moral equals with their own stakes in the public sphere. In marrying Elizabeth to Darcy, Austen effectively sends her off into “the world,” to the extent that such a conclusion is possible for a heroine of courtship romance during the Romantic era.

“A True Citizen of Highbury” In Pride and Prejudice, then, Austen devalues the ethic of care and emphasizes instead women’s intellectual and rational capabilities, implying support for the view that women’s best path to subjectum forms of legal subjectivity is to gain access to the public sphere (here, through the judicious choice of a husband), rather than carve out an alternative, specifically feminine route. In Emma, however, Austen complicates this conclusion through a more complex treatment of both the gendered public/private dichotomy and the ethic of care, as well as their explicit connection to concepts of citizenship. Read through the lens of feminist jurisprudence, a single, vital question hangs over this novel: “Is Emma a true citizen of Highbury?” This phrase—“a true citizen of Highbury”—is first used by Frank Churchill during a walk through the village when Ford’s presents a welcome distraction from Emma quizzing him about meeting Jane Fairfax at Weymouth: “If it not be inconvenient to you, pray let us go in, that I may prove myself to belong to the place, to be a true citizen of Highbury. I must buy something at Ford’s. It will be taking out my freedom.”30 As Jenny Davidson notes, “taking out my freedom” here refers to “an honor a municipality might bestow on a local pillar of the community or a visiting dignitary.”31 Frank explicitly links two conceptions of civic participation—citizenship itself and a municipal honor—to the exertion of economic power by making a purchase at Ford’s. Although this linking of citizenship to consumerism is often interpreted as a sign of Frank’s superficiality and shallowness, such a reading overlooks the fact that Austen is clearly engaging with the close relationship between citizenship and economic participation within the public sphere that underpinned the emergence of the market economy in the eighteenth century (and continues to dominate liberal ideology). Read through the lens of feminist jurisprudence, such an interpretation is blind to the privilege Frank exudes as a natural (male) person whose legal personhood is unassailable, and the contrast Austen draws between him and those less able to engage as economic citizens—femes sole, whose economic power is curtailed through their lack of educational and professional

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opportunities (for example, Miss Bates), and femes covert, whose economic citizenship is paradoxically courted by the market economy yet denied by a legal framework that suspends their legal personhood and therefore their capacity to own property, retain income, and contract in their own names (for example, Isabella Knightley, Mrs. Weston, Mrs. Elton, and, eventually, Emma Knightley). If citizenship is framed through the market economy—which, as Margaret Davies argues, straddles the public/private divide—can Emma Knightley as a feme covert be a true citizen of Highbury? Yet participation in the market is not, of course, Emma’s only avenue to citizenship. Of all Austen’s novels, the presence of the state is most palpable in Emma. Austen fosters the specifically English sensibility of this novel through contrasting England with its various others: Ireland, home to the Dixons; Scotland, home of Mr. Knightley’s new bailiff, which prompts Emma to ask whether the “old rivalry” could be overcome; and the empire, and its trade in “human flesh” (E 279). George Knightley eponymously combines England’s patron saint with a pillar of masculine patriotism and strength. He is an extensive landowner, endowing him with political participation in the form of voting rights and eligibility to stand for Parliament. He is also a county magistrate, and his consultations with his brother John, a lawyer, on legal questions concerning both his estate and his magisterial role reveal that he exercises his power and responsibilities with an adherence to the values of the rule of law. Mr. Knightley, then, represents a pinnacle of subjectum legal subjectivity within Austen’s corpus, not only as one who enters into the authorship of law, while being subject to its power and the beneficiary of its protections, but also as one who exercises that power with responsibility and care. Emma Woodhouse, by contrast, is denied the opportunity to enter into subjectum legal subjectivity through political participation even though, were she to remain a feme sole, she would inherit half of the Hartfield estate. As Helena Kelly argues, Emma and Isabella are the only children of Mr. Woodhouse, whose estate is neither entailed nor legally encumbered, and on that basis they would inherit “as co-heiresses.” In reality, though, as Kelly points out, “it won’t, after all, really be the sisters who inherit Hartfield, and its votes in any petition for enclosure, but their husbands.”32 If citizenship is framed as political participation—and, through it, entry into subjectum legal subjectivity—can Emma Woodhouse—or indeed Emma Knightley—be a true citizen of Highbury? In short, no she cannot. Yet, in Emma, Austen proposes a third pathway to citizenship—an alternative, arguably feminized model grounded in the ethic of care. If the market and the state are most present in Emma among all of Austen’s novels, so too is the caring economy that, though little recognized or valued by either the market or the state, underpins the human flourishing and the social cohesion on which they both depend. Emma pays charitable visits to the poor and the sick in her parish, facilitates important opportunities for sociability for local women (for example, Mrs. Bates, Miss Bates, and Mrs. Goddard), befriends and mentors local young women (for example, Harriet Smith), dedicates her time and energy to her nephews on their visits from London, and reaches out to the

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unhappy and afflicted (for example, Jane Fairfax). She does not always enjoy these tasks, and her execution of them is far from perfect, but her devotion to her caring responsibilities is beyond dispute. Above all, Emma demonstrates an unassailable ethic of care toward her father for which she is prepared to suspend her own personal happiness by declining to marry Mr. Knightley. She embodies the caring economy, but can it make her a true citizen of Highbury? Emma’s path to citizenship—like Elizabeth’s path to subjectum, or as close an approximation as is possible within the courtship romance genre of the Romantic era—depends on her choice of husband. Mr. Knightley, like Mr. Darcy before him, embodies Austen’s vision of a masculine identity premised on authenticity and independent selfhood, enabling relationships with women on terms of intellectual and moral equality. In Emma, Austen advances the radical potential of her masculine ideal by relocating him out of his own estate and into Emma’s house to facilitate their marriage. Through Emma’s assertion of her higher duties to her father, and Mr. Knightley’s act of deference to that duty, Austen elevates care to the same level as conventional conceptualizations of civic engagement—if not beyond—arguably offering an alternative pathway to subjectum status and citizenship. Moreover, Emma does not enjoy a monopoly on care within the novel, as Austen emphasizes Mr. Knightley’s care for his tenants, the local community, Jane Fairfax, and the Bates family, as well as Mr. Woodhouse and Emma herself. Whereas in Pride and Prejudice the breakdown in the public/private dichotomy begins with a husband who recognizes that his wife has an intellectual and moral stake in the public sphere, in Emma that breakdown occurs through the investment of the values of the private—the ethic of care—within the public realm. On this reading, George Knightley’s choice of Emma Woodhouse as his wife signals Austen’s endorsement of the reframing of the public sphere to reflect the values and interests of the private. Metaphorically, then, their marriage could be interpreted as an almost utopian vision of recognition and mutual respect between the state and the caring economy, offering multiple pathways to citizenship for both men and women.

Conclusion In 1870, just fifty-five years after Emma was published, the all-male lawmakers of the British House of Commons passed the Married Women’s Property Act, which not only stipulated that married women were the legal owners of their earned income but enabled them to inherit property. Twelve years later, another Married Women’s Property Act, also passed by an all-male legislature, dismantled the legal fiction of coverture altogether. In 1902, the all-male legislature of the newly formed Commonwealth of Australia became the first national parliament in the world to grant (white) women full political participation as both electors and electable representatives. The campaigns for suffrage and for married women’s property rights justified the extension of economic, property, and political

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rights to women on the basis of their sameness with men, but also highlighted the inherent difference of women’s lives and experiences, and the positive influence of the ethic of care within political, civic, and economic contexts. Although many accounts of these campaigns focus on the activities of women in the public sphere and the men who supported them, the novels of Jane Austen relocate these debates to the private sphere, and into the marriage relationship itself. Austen’s vision of feminine agency in the marriages that conclude Pride and Prejudice and Emma is a precursor to the reconceptualization of women’s legal subjectivity both within and beyond marriage that would occur in the following century. In these novels, Austen reveals how the men that would become lawmakers—the Darcys and the Knightleys who would populate the House of Commons and other legislatures throughout the Anglophone world—can embody a model of masculinity that supports and indeed enables women’s legal subjectivity not only as subjectus but as subjectum. By critiquing the public/private dichotomy and its construction of gendered subjectivities, and advocating for care as an alternative form of citizenship, Austen projected the courtship romance genre into critical debates concerning women’s legal subjectivity—debates that are ongoing and form “a significant and lasting contribution of feminist writing and struggle.”33

Notes 1 See, for example, Peter A. Appel, “A Funhouse Mirror of the Law: The Entailment in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice,” Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law 41, no. 3 (2013), 609–636; Maureen B. Collins, “Reading Jane Austen through the Lens of the Law: Legal Issues in Austen’s Life and Novels,” DePaul Journal of Art, Technology & Intellectual Property Law 27, no. 2 (2017), 115–166; Lynne Marie Kohm and Kathleen E. Akers, Law and Economics in Jane Austen (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2019); William MacNeil, “John Austin or Jane Austen? The Province of Jurisprudence Determined in Pride and Prejudice,” Law, Text, Culture 4, no. 2 (1998), 1–35; Luanne Bethke Redmond, “Land, Law and Love,” Persuasions 11 (1989), 46–52; G. H. Treitel, “Jane Austen and the Law,” Law Quarterly Review 100 (1984), 549–586; Michael D. Whitty, “The Jane Austen Plan Club: Lessons for Estate Planners and Their Clients from the Life and Novels of Jane Austen,” Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Journal 47, no. 3 (2013), 501–528. 2 Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (London: J. Johnson, 1792). 3 Costas Douzinas, The End of Human Rights: Critical Legal Thought at the Turn of the Century (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2000), 216. 4 Macarena Iribarne and Nan Seuffert, “Imagined Legal Subjects and the Regulation of Female Genital Surgery,” Australian Feminist Law Journal 44, no. 2 (2018), 178. 5 Ibid., 178–179. 6 Peter Goodrich, “Maladies of the Legal Soul: Psychoanalysis and Interpretation in Law,” Washington and Lee Law Review 54, no. 3 (1997), 1038. 7 See, for example, Kieran Dolin, A Critical Introduction to Law and Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007); Carolyn Heilbrun and Judith Resnik, “Convergences: Law, Literature, and Feminism,” Yale Law Journal 99 (1989–1990), 1913– 1956; Christine L. Krueger, Reading for the Law: British Literary History and Gender Advocacy (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010); Ian Ward, Law and

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8 9 10 11

12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33

Literature: Possibilities and Perspective (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), ch. 6; Ian Ward, Law and the Brontës (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). For a more thorough account of coverture, its consequences, and their representation in literature, see Margaret Valentine Turano, “Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, and the Marital Property Law,” Harvard Women’s Law Journal 21 (1998), 179–226. William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1765), 1: 442 (original emphasis). Ibid., 1: 445. See, for example, Rosemary Hunter, “Contesting the Dominant Paradigm: Feminist Critiques of Liberal Legalism,” in The Ashgate Research Companion to Feminist Legal Theory, ed. Vanessa E. Munro and Margaret Davies (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), 27–47; Margaret Thornton, “The Public/Private Dichotomy: Gendered and Discriminatory,” Journal of Law and Society 18, no. 4 (1991), 448–463; Margot Young, “Gender and Terrain: Feminist Theorize Citizenship,” in The Ashgate Research Companion to Feminist Legal Theory, ed. Vanessa E. Munro and Margaret Davies (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), 209–230. Margaret Davies, “Legal Separatism and the Concept of the Person,” in Judicial Power, Democracy and Legal Positivism, ed. Tom D. Campbell and Jeffrey Goldsworthy (Farnham: Ashgate, 2000), 119. Rosemary Hunter and Sharon Cowan, “Introduction,” in Choice and Consent: Feminist Engagements with Law and Subjectivity, ed. Rosemary Hunter and Sharon Cowan (Oxford: Routledge-Cavendish, 2007), 1. Young, 211. Ibid., 217. Ibid. Ibid. Hunter, 36. Wendy Brown, States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995), 164. Carole Pateman, The Disorder of Women: Democracy, Feminism, and Political Theory (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990), 197. Carole Pateman, “Contributing to Democracy,” Review of Constitutional Studies 191 (1998), 191–212. Hunter, 38. Anne Mellor, Romanticism and Gender (New York: Routledge, 1993), 39. Sarah Ailwood, Jane Austen’s Men: Rewriting Masculinity in the Romantic Era (New York: Routledge, 2020). Karen Newman, “Can This Marriage Be Saved: Jane Austen Makes Sense of an Ending,” ELH 50, no. 4 (1983), 694. Katherine Binhammer, “Thinking Gender with Sexuality in 1790s’ Feminist Thought,” Feminist Studies 28, no. 3 (2002), 667. Mary Poovey, The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer: Ideology as Style in the Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, and Jane Austen (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1984), 203 (original emphasis). See Ailwood. Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, ed. Pat Rogers, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 296. All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text. Jane Austen, Emma, ed. Richard Cronin and Dorothy McMillan, Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 187. All subsequent references to this source will be noted parenthetically in the text. Jenny Davidson, Reading Jane Austen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 52. Helena Kelly, Jane Austen: The Secret Radical (London: Icon Books, 2016). Young, 216.

246 Sarah Ailwood

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Footnotes will be denoted by the letter ‘n’ and Note number following the page number. A. M.: Elizabeth and Mr. Collins 46; “Jane’s World: Pride and Prejudice: Thoughts on a Play” 52n36 Aboriginals, Australian 39 acousmatic sound 201, 206 Adams, Jennifer: Little Miss Austen 68, 71n58 adolescence 12, 179–196; Austen’s adolescent rebellion 189; Austen’s perspective, compared to predecessors 181; brain development 179, 180; defining 181; egocentrism 180, 181; emotion 180, 184, 185, 189; internal threats to identity formation 181; learning efficiency 186; as a life stage 180–183; permissive parenting 187; pleasure and dangers 181; risk-taking behaviors 181, 184, 187, 188; sensation seeking 186, 187; task of 182; see also juvenilia Ailwood, Sarah 12–13; Jane Austen’s Men 244n24 Alexander, Christine 23; “Are We Ready for New Directions?” 23, 33n13 Allen, Amy 112–113, 116, 119–121; The Politics of Ourselves 121n7 alternative perspectives, need for 2, 6, 7–9, 11, 13 Amin, Kadji 163; “Temporality” 176n6 amygdala 186

Ancient Greek philosophers 127, 133; see also Aristotle; Plato; Socrates Andrews, Guy: Lost in Austen 71n61 Anker, Elizabeth S. 15n46; Critique and Postcritique 10–11 Anselm of Canterbury, St. 136 anthropocentrism 147, 184 Appiah, Kwame Anthony: Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers 130, 139n26 Aquinas, Sir Thomas 129 Aristotle 128, 129, 133, 135; Metaphysics 127; Politics 127 Arnett, Jeffrey Jensen: Emerging Adulthood 193n8 Ashcroft, Bill: The Empire Writes Back 39, 40, 43, 47, 51n3 assemblages 126, 147, 148, 150, 155; human–nonhuman 150, 151; Mansfield 151, 158; of objects 153; of stories 6; vibrant 151 Astell, Mary 58, 59, 69; The Christian Religion 70n25; “Preface to Travels of an English Lady, by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu” 71n67; A Serious Proposal to the Ladies 71n68 audio-viewers 201–203, 205–210 audio-vision 199, 201 auditory ambivalence 202, 208 Auerbach, Emily 22; Searching for Jane Austen 26, 33n5

Index 249

Auerbach, Nina 148; “Jane Austen’s Dangerous Charm” 159n2 Austen, Cassandra (sister of Jane) 8, 35n85, 38, 69, 189; sketches by 23, 32 Austen, Charles (brother of Jane) 167 Austen, Edward (brother of Jane) 167 Austen, Francis William (Frank), brother of Jane 23, 167 Austen, George (brother of Jane): “Letters to Frances Austen, December 1788” 139n4 Austen, Henry (brother of Jane) 58; “Biographical Notice of the Author” 3, 33n10, 70n23 Austen, James Edward (nephew of Jane) 194n48 Austen, Jane: artistic images of 32; Australia/New Zealand, communities built around 38–55; biography 21–27; canonical standing 3, 4, 7, 9, 10, 40, 46, 50, 179; as a case study 23–27; cover-up of talent by her family 25; and critical theory 11–13; “Dear Aunt Jane” identity 3, 21, 22, 25, 58, 62; enduring appeal, reasons for 4–5; as a feminist legal philosopher 22, 48, 232–247; globalization of 49–50, 51; legacy of work 13; life and afterlives 2, 5; on marriage 31, 32, 38, 46, 57; modernity of 121; narrative satire 63; novelist of manners, social convention, nation and family 77; power to connect in hard times 10; relevance of life for the twenty-first century 31–32; re-relating to 2–3; unmarried woman status/ rejection of marriage 31, 32, 38, 46, 57; works of see writings of Jane Austen; writing style Austen criticism 2, 5, 12, 49, 77, 200 Austen family: cover-up of Jane’s talent by 25; traditional mythology 31; see also Austen, Cassandra (sister of Jane); Austen, Francis William (Frank), brother of Jane; Austen, Henry (brother of Jane) Austen studies: alternative communities of thinkers, need for 2, 6, 7–9, 11, 13; Austen as oracle for romantic fulfillment 22, 23, 32; contributions of 2; Deleuzian concept of Austen 22; disconnect with critical theory 3–6; humanities 7–8; mise-en-scène 199–214; nonbinary perspective 12, 162–245; politics of Austen, interrogation of 2; racist myopia 12; traditional 2, 8

Austen-Leigh, James Edward (nephew of Austen) 23, 34n29, 57; A Memoir of Jane Austen 3, 21, 26, 62–63, 69n8; recollections of “dear Aunt Jane” 58 Austen’s heroines 48, 59–61, 64, 108, 129, 134–135, 167, 204–205, 209, 234, 238; authority over male characters 61; enlightened “rational creatures” 57, 59; married 62; in Persuasion 127, 191, 201; in Pride and Prejudice 48, 117, 136, 201–203, 207, 208, 209; see also heroines; writings of Jane Austen Australia and New Zealand, impact of Austen’s fiction in 12, 38–55; “Antipodean” contributors 50; Antipodean trends in literary criticism 40; education, postcolonial 41; English syllabi in Australian states 41; inapplicability of Antipodean perspective 50; indigenous peoples 39, 40; Leavisite perspective on literature in Australia 42; postcolonial Australia 39, 41; post-war Antipodean literary criticism 49; press, Antipodean 46; settler ex-colonies 39; and settlers of British origin 39; suffrage for women 41 The Australian (broadsheet) 50 autobiography 23 autonomy 108–124; absolute 121; and childhood 113; and communicative action 109–110; and critical theory 109, 113; definition and concept 109, 110; embodied and embedded autonomous acts 109; in Emma 108–114, 116, 118, 121; and feminism 109, 110–111, 116–117; impure 109, 112–113, 117; and independence 108–109, 110, 111; individual 109; in Mansfield Park 12, 109, 115, 117, 119, 120; pure 116; and subjectivity 110–111; “third” picture concept 109 Baker, Jo: Longbourn 220, 228 Barchas, Janine: Matters of Fact in Jane Austen 51n1 Barthes, Roland Gérard 6 Bartky, Sandra: “Sympathy and Solidarity”and Other Essays 122n33 Baugh, Victoria 13 “The Beautifull Cassandra” (1788) 59, 68, 189 Behar, Katherine 148, 149, 152; “Facing Necrophilia, or Botox Ethics” 159n5; Object Oriented Feminism 147

250 Index

Benhabib, Seyla 109, 111, 113; “Communicative Ethics and Contemporary Controversies in Practical Philosophy” 122n20; “Feminism and Postmodernism” 122n13; Feminist Contentions 110 Benjamin, Jessica 119–121; The Bonds of Love 122n39 Bennett, Jane 148, 151; Vibrant Matter 159n12 Bérubé, Michael: Higher Education under Fire 14n33 Bigg-Wither, Harris 26, 31–32; Austen’s rejection of 31, 38, 46 Bildungsroman 110, 145, 155, 158 binaristic logic 163 Bingen, Hildegard von 126, 134; The Book of Divine Works 139n8 biography/biographies 12, 21–27; biographical criticism 26; examples of romance in Austin’s biography 26; family biographies, limitations 23; and fiction 23; gendered narrative problem 23–27; imagining of young Jane 25; initial biographies of Austen 25; modern biographies of Austen 21–22, 25, 26; normalization of traditional narratives 31; relationship between Austen and first biographer 22; romance narrative biographers 25–26; sexist ideology 24, 31; traditional biographies of Austen 24; women valued in terms of marriageability 22 Blackburn, Olly 64 Blackstone, William: Commentaries on the Laws of England 234, 244n9 Blouin, Michael 202; “Auditory Ambivalence” 212n18 Bluestockings 57; “Blue-stocking” circle 57 Board of Senior School Studies, New South Wales 41 de Boehme, C. B.: “Book Reviews” 52n35 Boehmer, Elleke: Colonial and Postcolonial Literature 51n4 Boethius: Consolation of Philosophy 133–134 Boleyn, Anne 58 Bolick, Kate: Spinster 32, 35n90 Book of Wisdom 133 Booth, Allison 24, 25; “Biographical Criticism and the ‘Great’ Woman of Letters: The Example of George Eliot and Virginia Woolf” 33n23

Booth, Wayne 29; The Rhetoric of Fiction 35n69 Bourdieu, Pierre 6 Brabourne, Edward (Lord, and great-nephew of Austen): Letters of Jane Austen collected by 3, 25 Bradley, A. C. 47 brain: amygdala 186; development 179, 180; emotional center 185; plasticity 148; pre-frontal cortex 185, 186 Brennan, Teresa 151; The Transmission of Affect 159n19 Bride and Prejudice (Indian version of Pride & Prejudice) 225, 230n45 Bridges, Tristan: Exploring Masculinities 229n1 Bridget Jones’s Diary 224, 225, 228 Brissenden, R. F.: Virtue in Distress 192n6 Brontë, Charlotte 41; Jane Eyre 51 Brontë, Emily: Wuthering Heights 51 brother-less and estate-less daughters 166–167 Brown, Wendy 236; States of Injury 244n19 Brownstein, Rachel 25, 31; Why Jane Austen? 34n35 Buckridge, Patrick: “Serious Reading between the Wars” 52n28 Bunnin, Nicholas: The Blackwell Companion to Philosophy 109, 111, 112, 113, 121n5 Burke, Edmund 133; exclusion of women from authoritative wisdom 129; A Philosophical Enquiry into our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful 127, 139n12; rebuttal by Wollstonecraft 126, 127, 128; on sublime cardinal virtues 127, 128, 131, 139n12 Burney, Frances: Evelina 42, 180 Burrows, John: Computation into Criticism 49 Bury, Charlotte: The Diary of a Lady-in-Waiting 121n2 Butler, Judith 6, 12, 109, 114, 118–119; “Contingent Foundations” 122n14; Feminist Contentions 110; Gender Trouble 111; The Psychic Life of Power 118, 122n31 Butler, Marilyn 5, 25, 58, 108; Jane Austen and the War of Ideas 14n24, 193n9; Romantics, Rebels and Reactionaries 70n19; “Simplicity” 34n30 Byron, Lord George Gordon, Manfred 174 Cameron, Deborah 27; Feminism and Linguistic Theory 34n60

Index 251

Campbell-Webster, Emma: Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure 68 canonical authors, British 40, 41, 46, 50; see also under Austen, Jane capitalism 94 cardinal virtues 135–136, 139n12; sublime 127, 128, 131, 139n12; temperance 135–136; wisdom 127, 128, 131, 135 Carter, Elizabeth 125 Cartmell, Deborah: Screen Adaptations 212n22 Castle, Terry 8; “Sister–Sister” 15n39 castration 99 Castronovo, David 217; The English Gentleman 229n5 Catton, Eleanor 49 change, theory of see transformation, Austen’s theory of Chapman, R. W. 45 Chapone, Hester 57, 58 Chesterfield, Lord (Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl) 217, 229n13 Chion, Michel 201, 206, 207, 208; Audio-Vision 212n27; Film: A Sound Art 212n26; Sound 212n15 Christianity 57, 126, 133, 134, 136; see also God, love of Chudleigh, Mary 69; The Female Advocate 71n66 Church of England 134 Chwe, Michael 88; Jane Austen, Game Theorist 80, 89n13 cisgender 165 cisheteropatriarchal binarism 162, 163, 168, 175 citizenship 234; alternative 244; conceptualizing 235, 236, 237, 241; and consumerism 241; and economy 241, 242; female 236; individuated 235; liberal 235; political participation 242; rights 236 civic participation 233, 235, 236, 239, 241 civil society 10, 12, 236 Clarkson, Thomas 153 Clemens, Colleen, “What We Mean When We Say ‘Toxic Masculinity’“ 229n4 Clyde, Constance: “Jane Austen: Her True Literary Genius” 52n41 Cockburn, Catherine 57 cognitive neuroscience 180 colonialism 152 Comay, Rebecca 84; The Dash—The Other Side of Absolute Knowing 90n22

comedy: in Pride and Prejudice 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 100; “conservative” 101 communicative action 109–110 conformism: in Mansfield Park 114 Connell, R. W. 219–220; Masculinities 229n17 “connubial felicity” 239, 240 Conrad, Joseph 5, 42 conversation: as metaphor 130 Coombs, Kate: Goodnight Mr. Darcy 68, 71n59 Cooper, Edward Ashley 49 Cork Street, London 25 corporate regulation 151 Cott, Nancy 183; “Passionless” 193n13 courtship romance 232 coverture 234 Covid-19 crisis: and re-runs of Austen’s works 57, 69n6; social distancing and Austenian courtship 68 Cowan, Sharon 244n13 critical bias 28 Critical Race Theory 9; racist myopia 12 critical reflexivity 110 critical theory 11–13; absence in Austen scholarship 6; and autonomy 109, 113; critical social theory 109; current function 7–11; disconnect of Austen studies with 3–6; reconsideration of methods and assumptions 5–8; study of 1–2; and subjectivity 109; theory of change 145–161; work of 3 criticism 44; Antipodean 49; Austen 2, 5, 12, 49, 77, 200; biographical 26; feminist 27–28, 31, 110–111; literary 31, 40, 41, 49; postcolonial 39; viewers’ 56; of women writers 24 critique 5, 112, 113, 115, 120, 148; and change 111; feminist 110, 111, 235, 236; of the ideal 100; Latour’s assessment of 7; and race 145; rational 118; of schools 59; and sensibility 149; of social authority 95; universal level 98 Culler, Jonathan 1, 2; Literary Theory 13n3 cultural capital, Austen as source of 46 “cultural cringe” 40, 45, 51n6 Curnow, Allen 40; “The Skeleton of the Great Moa in the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch” 51n8 Dale, Leigh 41; The Enchantment of English 51n12

252 Index

Dames, Nicholas 4, 10; “Jane Austen is Everything” 9, 14n11 Darcymania 68 Davidson, Jenny 241–242; Reading Jane Austen 244n30 Davies, Andrew 66; adaptation of Pride and Prejudice 56, 64, 200, 201; adaptation of Sanditon 57, 63, 64, 69n3; see also screen adaptations of Austen Davies, Margaret 235 decision-making 186 Deleuze, Gilles 2–3, 8; Deleuzian concepts 21, 22; “Letter to a Harsh Critic” 2, 13n6; “Literature and Life” 21–22, 33n4 Derrida, Jacques: “Différance” 126, 139n6 desire: Austen as novelist of desire 77; in Mansfield Park 115, 118; in Persuasion 80, 83–84, 86, 88; in Pride and Prejudice 99 desubjectivization 78, 80 determinism 113, 121 developmental psychology 185 dialogue, use of 110, 112 Dixon, Thomas: From Passions to Emotions 184, 193n16 Doane, Janice 68; Nostalgia and Sexual Difference 71n62 Dobbs, Marie 46 Dolar, Mladen: “Freud and the Political” 105n1 Dolin, Kieran 244n5 Dolin, Tim: “The Secret Reading Life of Us” 51n5 Doody, Margaret: Catharine and Other Writings 189 dopamine 185, 186 Douzinas, Costas: The End of Human Rights 233, 244n3 dramatizations of Austen see screen adaptations of Austen Duckworth, Alistair M. 156, 159n14 Dunlevy, Maurice: “Writers’ World” 52n33 Duquette, Natasha 12; “A Very Pretty Amber Cross” 139n20 economic participation 237, 241 Edgeworth, Maria 58 Edwards, Allan 42 ego-ideal 79, 94, 98 ego-libido 79, 85 Eliot, George 5, 41, 42 elite 5, 98, 102 Emma (1815): adaptation by McGrath 201; and autonomy 108–114, 116, 118, 121;

challenges to novelistic trajectory 27–31; characters see Emma (characters); cisheteronormativity 166; comic form of novel 31; dialogue, use of 112; feminist jurisprudence 232; on lack 88; love in 28, 30, 112; matchmaking by Emma 111, 112; morality in 27; physical appearance versus intellect of women 60; sexist ideology 28; spinsterhood theme 27, 29; state, presence of 242 Emma (characters): Miss Bates 28, 29, 60, 63, 67, 188, 242; Frank Churchill 171, 241; Mrs Elton 29, 30–31, 60, 171, 172, 242; Jane Fairfax 30, 171, 241, 243; George Knightley 30, 61, 63, 66, 67–69, 111, 112, 155, 156, 171–173, 174, 242, 243; Isabella Knightley 242; Robert Martin 68; Harriet Smith 28, 61, 67, 68, 242; Miss Taylor 30; Anna Weston 111, 112, 242; Mr Weston 111, 112; Emma Woodhouse 27, 28, 30, 48, 59, 66, 67, 108, 109, 111, 238, 242; Mr Woodhouse 59 Emma (film) 49 emotion 180, 184, 185, 189 Emsley, Sarah: Jane Austen’s Philosophy of the Virtues 129, 139n22 Enlightenment era 57, 61, 146, 163 Enlightenment feminism 12, 56, 57, 59, 61, 62, 67, 116; rationality 62 enslavement see slavery ethical withdrawal 148, 152 fanvids 66, 69, 71n46, 71n47; YouTube 12, 56, 67 Felski, Rita 15n46; Critique and Postcritique 10–11; The Limits of Critique 7, 14n35 female writers: Austen’s identity 60; criticism 24; as early activists 48; in the eighteenth-century 25, 180; enlightened 57; fear of female authorship 25; “her-story” versus “history” 58; identity 25, 60; “literary splendour” 58; see also Austen, Jane; fiction; novels; writings of Jane Austen feminism/feminist theory 8, 24; and autonomy 109, 110–111, 116–117; and biography writing 24; criticism 27–28, 31–32, 110–111; critique 110, 111, 235, 236; and Emma 28; enrichment of Austen’s novels 31; jurisprudence 232, 233, 237, 239, 241; legal thinking 12; nostalgia and feminism 56–62; in

Index 253

Persuasion 129–130; primogeniture 234; subjectum and subjectus 233, 234; tension between feminist and post-feminist readings 56; and women’s role in the English novel 180; see also Enlightenment feminism; legal personhood; see also female writers; gendered narrative problem; women Fergus, Jan 25, 28, 30; Jane Austen: A Literary Life 26, 33n27 Ferguson, Moira 152 Ferrars, Robert 164, 169 fiction: of Austen in Australia and New Zealand 50; and biography 23; and fact 32; see also female writers; novels Fielding, Helen: Bridget Jones’s Diary 230n43 film studies 12 filmic adaptations of Austen see screen adaptations of Austen first-person narration 164, 181, 210 Firth, Colin: portrayal of Darcy in Pride and Prejudice 56, 65 Fletcher, Loraine 80; “Time and Mourning in Persuasion” 89n14 fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) 184 focalization techniques 210 Fordyce, James 57, 61; Sermons 205 Foucault, Michel 109, 110, 112, 118, 151, 162 Fowler, R. 133, 134; “On Not Knowing Greek” 140n33 Fraiman, Susan 170; “The Humiliation of Elizabeth Bennet” 177n33 Francus, Marilyn 131; “Where Does Discretion End and Avarice Begin?” 130, 139n28 free indirect speech/indirect discourse (FID) 181, 190, 191 Freud, Sigmund 79, 85, 88; “On Narcissism” 88; The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud 89n11; on “twofold existence” 88 Ftacek, Julia 168; “A Bit Lit” 177n28 Fullerton, Susannah: Jane Austen: Antipodean Views 49–50, 53n50 Galperin, William H. 145, 146–147, 168; The Historical Austen 159n1 game theory 80

Garofalo, Daniela 12, 28, 30, 77, 85, 88; “Doating on Faults in Jane Austen’s Emma” 34n67; Manly Leaders in Nineteenth-Century British Literature 106n18 Gaull, Marilyn 211n1 gay marriage 162 Geertz, Clifford 220 gender identity 162–245; in Emma 171–172, 174; in Mansfield Park 172; and sexuality 164, 165; singular “I” 175–176; son-to-come 166–171; structural and bodily vulnerabilities of Fanny Price, in Mansfield Park 114–115; subordination in childhood 113 gender politics 47 gendered narrative problem: beliefs about female nature 182; in biography 23–27; men’s lives viewed as representative 23; patriarchal structure 31, 57–58; “proper lady” term 182, 184; stereotypes 29, 137, 182; see also feminism/feminist theory; nonbinary perspective Gisborne, Thomas 57 globalization of Austen 49–50, 51 God: love of 128; trust in 136 Godwin, William: Memoirs 237 Goldberg, Samuel 42 Goldsmith, Andrea 51, 59; “Austen and the Imagination” 53n52; Invented Lives 50 Gonsalez, Marcos 15n42 Goodrich, Peter 233 Gooneratne, Yasmine 42, 49; “Historical ‘Truths’ and Literary Fictions” 52n22; Jane Austen 43, 52n21 Gorbman, Claudia 211n3 Gospels 133, 136 Gramsci, Antonio 220 Green, Gayle 68 Grey, Jane 58 Griffiths, Gareth: The Empire Writes Back 39, 40, 43, 47, 51n3 Gunn, Daniel 190, 194n55 Habermas, Jürgen 109, 110, 112, 113 Hadlow, Janice: “Why We Turn to Jane Austen in Dark Times” 10, 15n45 hagiography 34n29 Halberstam, Jack 166; Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variability 176n16 Hall, Stanley G.: Adolescence 181, 192n7

254 Index

Halperin, John 25, 26; The Life of Jane Austen 34n34 Harbers, Anne: Jane Austen: Antipodean Views 49–50, 53n50 Harman, Claire: Jane’s Fame 33n6 Harman, Graham 147, 148, 149 Harris, Jocelyn: Jane Austen and the Art of Memory 49; A Revolution almost beyond Expression 49; Satire, Celebrity, and Politics in Jane Austen 49, 129, 139n24 Hatch, Edwin: “Sophia” 140n34 Hays, Mary 61; Appeal to the Men of Great Britain 70n34 Hebrew scripture 133 Heckerling, Amy: Clueless 192n4, 200 Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich 94, 95, 99, 100; “Lordship and Bondage” 118; “The Unhappy Consciousness” 118 hegemonic masculinity 215–216 hegemonic/subordinate masculine dichotomy 216, 228 Heidegger, Martin 113 Heilbrun, Carolyn G. 26, 27, 32; Writing a Woman’s Life 24, 33n24 heritage drama 56 heritage-inflation 200 heroines: displacement 207; Gothic 180; legal personhood 234; modern 209; nineteenth-century 32; outspoken 117; point-of-view 205; sentimental 191; spirited 48; traditional 108; uncertain 208; see also Austen’s heroines; writings of Jane Austen heterosexuality 165, 177n31, 237 Heydt-Stevenson, Jill 106n27; Austen’s Unbecoming Conjunctions 35n82 Higson, Andrew 200; English Heritage, English Cinema 69n2, 211n6 Hilliard, Christopher 43–44; English as a Vocation 52n15 Himmelfarb, G.: The Moral Imagination 122n16 historicism, omnipresence of 8 Hodges, Devon 68; Nostalgia and Sexual Difference 71n62 Homer 138; Odyssey 133 homosexuality 164, 165, 177n31 Honan, Park 25, 26; Jane Austen: Her Life 34n32, 177n31 Hook, Derek 78, 89n9, 95; Six Moments in Lacan 106n14 House of Commons 243, 244 Hudelet, Ariane 201–202

Hull, Cecil F. 48 humanities and efficacy of Austen 7–8, 9, 13 Hume, David 147; A Treatise of Human Nature 156, 159n27 Hunter, Rosemary 236, 244n13 Hutcheon, Linda 200 Hyde, Robin, “Women Have No Star” 53n44 “I” perspective 171–176 identity: female authors transcending ordinary identity 25; male 24; and power 12; theories of 23 impure autonomy 109, 112–113, 117 independence: and autonomy 108–109, 110, 111; of will 111 Ingrassia, Catherine E. 13; “Emma, Slavery, and Cultures of Captivity” 15n50 intersubjectivity 80, 88, 109, 112, 116, 150; spaces 119–120; and time 77, 78, 80, 81, 87 intertextuality 60, 136, 199, 210 intimacy 120, 210, 218; in Emma 68; establishing 201; ethics of 155; and fact 82; family 207; physical 226; responsive 149; shared 147; social 226; of style 6 introspection 79 Iribarne, Macarena 233; “Imagined Legal Subjects and the Regulation of Female Genital Surgery” 244n4 James, Henry 5, 28, 42 James, P. D.: Death Comes to Pemberley 221, 228 Jane Austen Societies 49 Janeites/Janeitism 3–4 Jensen, Frances E. 185, 188; The Teenage Brain 193n28 Jerome, Helen 44 Jesus Christ 133 Johnson, Claudia L. 3, 4, 106n19, 108, 109, 163, 209, 212n28; “Austen Cults and Cultures” 13n8; Equivocal Beings 29, 35n70; Jane Austen: Women, Politics and the Novel 14n24, 28, 34n61, 121n4; Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures 8; “This is Mansfield Park” 15n40 Johnson, Elizabeth A. 126, 132, 133 Johnson, Samuel: A Dictionary of the English Language 114, 122n23, 140n29 Johnson Kindred, Sheila: Jane Austen’s Trans-Atlantic Sister 129, 139n21

Index 255

Johnston, Freya: Teenage Writings 179, 183–184 Jones, Wendy: Jane on the Brain 193n24 jurisprudence, feminist 232, 233, 237, 239, 241 juvenilia 30, 44, 58, 179, 180, 189, 190 Juvenilia 70n26 Kant, Immanuel 136, 147 Kantor, Elizabeth: The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After 68, 71n63 Karbowski, Joseph: “Aristotle on the Deliberative Abilities of Women” 127, 139n10 Kean, Daunta 9; “Pride and Racial Prejudice—Why the Far Right Loves Jane Austen” 15n42 Kelly, Helena 9, 31; Jane Austen: The Secret Radical 5, 14n20, 26–27, 34n55, 244n32 Keneally, Thomas 40 Ker Wilson, Barbara 46; Antipodes Jane 38; Jane Austen in Australia 38–39 Kimmel, Michael 216, 220; Angry White Men 229n8; “Ask a Feminist” 229n5 Kincade, Kit 12 Kirkham, Margaret 57, 58; Jane Austen: Feminism and Fiction 70n12 Knight, Arthur 46 Knight, Edward 46 Knight, Fanny 58, 62 Knight, Henry Henderson 46 Knight, Richard 46 Kornbluh, Anna: The Order of Forms 11, 15n48 Kramp, Michael 27, 89, 163; “The Austen Concept, or Becoming Jane—Again and Again” 33n2, 90n33; “Austen and Deleuze” 21; “The Potency of Jane or the Disciplinary Function of Austen in America” 89n2 Kreisel, Deanna K. 29; “Where Does the Pleasure Come From?” 35n71 Lacan, Jacques 12, 77, 81–82, 83, 85, 89n3, 89n8, 99; on “force of doubt” 81; “Logical Time and the Assertion of Anticipated Certainty” 78–82, 86, 88–89; “On My Antecedents” 90n31; on objet petit a 88, 99; The Seminar of Jacques Lacan 90n25, 105n2; sexuation theory 92; theory 77; see also time, Lacan on lack: in Emma 88; in Persuasion 88; in Pride and Prejudice 93

Lacquer, Thomas 163; Making Sex 176n7 Lady Susan (1871): epistolary novel 63; posthumous publication 62–63 Lady Susan (characters): Lady de Coucy 63; Alicia Johnson 63; Lord Mainwaring 63; Catherine Vernon 63; Frederica Vernon 63 Later Manuscripts 70n33 Latour, Bruno: “An Attempt at a ‘Compositionist Manifesto” 7, 14n34; “Why Has Critique Run out of Steam? 7, 14n31 Law of Coverture 113, 114 Lawrence, D. H. 42 Lawson, Henry 40 Le Faye, Deidre 8, 35n85; The World of Jane Austen 177n24 Leavis, F.R. 4, 9; The Great Tradition 5, 14n12, 51n14; influence in postcolonial Australia/New Zealand 42–44 Lee, Hermione 23, 25–26, 31; Virginia Woolf’s Nose: Essays on Biography 33n14 Lefroy, Tom 25, 26 legal personhood 232–234, 240–242; and marriage 234, 239; and subjectivity 235 legal subjectivity 233 Leigh, Elizabeth 48; “Women’s Page” 52n43 Leonard, Robert Z. 49 Lesley Castle (1793) 622 letters 61, 62; of Jane Austen 26, 31, 44, 58–59; male tradition 4; see also Austen, Jane; Brabourne, Edward (Lord, and great-nephew of Austen); Le Faye, Deidre Letters of Jane Austen 3 Levine, Caroline 7–8; Forms 14n37 Lewis, Matthew “Monk” 25 LGBTQ persons 162, 236 liberalism 232, 234, 235, 236 Licona, Adela C.: “Together, Working: Relational Matters” 122n22 limbic system 185, 186 literary criticism 31, 40, 41, 49 Locke, John 136 Looser, Devoney 4, 9, 47; The Making of Jane Austen 8, 33n1, 44 Lorde, Audre 116–117; Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches 122n28 Lost in Austen (TV program) 68 love 28, 63, 128, 131; Burke on 127, 128; complacent 128; in Emma 28, 30, 112; and friendship 57, 71n47; of God 128;

256 Index

heterosexual 165, 177n31, 237; in Mansfield Park 50, 117, 120, 150; and marriage 22, 239; in Persuasion 63, 87, 126, 131, 134, 135, 137, 149; physical 61; possessive 4; in Pride and Prejudice 97, 105, 207, 219, 222, 239, 240; queer 150; self-love 27, 79, 128; in Sense and Sensibility 191; sibling 154; thwarted 25; unrequited 50; of wisdom 125, 127, 131 Love, Heather 162, 163; “Queer” 176n2 Lynch, Deidre 3, 4; “Introduction: Sharing with Our Neighbours” 13n9 McAdam, C. Jane (“Constance Clyde”) 47–48 Macaulay, Catharine: History of England 58, 59; Letters on Education 57 McGrath, Douglas: adaptation of Emma 201 MacKinnon, Catharine 236 McKittrick, Casey 211n1 McMaster, Juliet: “Teaching ‘Love and Friendship’” 194n52; “Young Jane Austen: Author” 194n49 McNamara, Margaret: Elizabeth Refuses 48 McRobbie, Angela: The Aftermath of Feminism 69n5 Malabou, Catherine 148 Malatino, Hil 166; Trans Care 177n23 male authority: edited by Austen 58, 59 Manne, Kate 24; Down Girl 33n20 MAN-ness 172–174 Mansfield, Katherine 46 Mansfield Park (1814) 70n24; adaptation by Rozema 8, 56–57, 69n1, 158, 201; autonomy in 12, 109, 115, 117, 119, 120; changes in Fanny 145–146, 152; characters see Mansfield Park (characters); claustrophobia in 115; compared with Sense and Sensibility 149; desire in 115, 118; ending 110; fear in 115; filmic adaptation 8; gender switching in 172; love in 50, 117, 120, 150; Lovers’ Vows appearing in 146, 147, 152; marriage in 110; masochism of Fanny Price 145; opening 43; precarity in 109, 114; Said’s essay on 39; sexuality in 169; slavery in 43, 64, 146, 152; structural and bodily vulnerabilities of Fanny Price in 114–115; survival and capitulation in early chapters 119; theatricals at Mansfield 115–116; transformation of Fanny Price from an object to a subject

148, 149, 152, 155, 158; unrequited love theme 50; withdrawnness of Fanny Price 147–148, 152, 158 Mansfield Park (characters): Edmund Bertram 61, 65, 115, 117, 119, 149, 151, 153, 167, 172–175; Julia Bertram 58; Maria Bertram (Lady) 58, 60, 113, 148, 149, 154, 157; Sir Thomas Bertram (senior) 39, 43, 61, 66, 113, 115–116, 117, 152, 154, 156; Thomas Bertram (junior) 116, 148, 158, 167; Henry Crawford 116, 149–151, 153–154, 156, 157, 158; Mary Crawford 56, 148, 149, 172, 173, 174, 177n31, 204; Mrs Norris 145, 146, 149; Fanny Price 12, 43, 50, 59–61, 65, 68, 109–111, 113–120, 145–158, 172, 175; Susan Price 154, 155; William Price 150, 151, 152, 154; Mrs Rushworth 59, 64 Ma-ori people, New Zealand 39, 40, 51 Marcus, Laura 23, 24, 27, 32; Auto/ biographical Discourses 33n16 Marianelli, Dario 202, 212n21 marriage 22, 24, 27; companionate union ideal 58, 66, 237, 240–241; and desubjectivizing of characters, in Persuasion 80; disequilibrium 93–94; in Emma 29; happy, as desired end of courtship novels 182; legal personhood 234; liberation of women within 58; and love 22, 239; in Mansfield Park 110; marriage plot in Emma 28; marriage plot in Persuasion 81, 82; nonbinaristic 175; in Pride and Prejudice 97, 102, 105; rejection by Austen 31, 32, 38, 46, 57; slavery, seen as 66; subjectum and subjectus 234; system of, in Pride and Prejudice 93; women valued only in terms of marriageability 22 Married Women’s Property Act 243 Mathias, Thomas 57 Matthew, Patricia A. 146; “Jane Austen and the Abolitionist Turn” 159n3; “On Teaching, but Not Loving, Jane Austen” 13, 15n51 Mattu, Ayesha 9 Maurer, Shawn Lisa 12; “Lydia Still” 194n44; “At Seventeen” 193n10 May, Vivian M.: “Together, Working: Relational Matters” 122n22 Mayhead, Robin 43; “General Preface” 52n20 Maznavi, Nura 9

Index 257

Mbembe, Achille: Necropolitics 154, 159n26 Mellor, Anne K. 130, 152, 237; “Austen’s Fanny Price, Grateful Negroes, and the Stockholm Syndrome” 121n12; “The Politics of Fiction” 139n27; Romanticism and Gender 244n23 memes 21 Meredith, Gwen: Blue Hills 46; The Lawsons 46 Michalski, Isabelle 12 Miller, D.A. 7, 162, 163, 169; Jane Austen, or the Secret of Style 6, 14n29 Milne, A. A. 44 Milsom, Alexandra 152; “Austen’s Fanny Price, Grateful Negroes, and the Stockholm Syndrome” 121n12 mise-en-abyme 203, 212n23 mise-en-scène 199, 200, 209, 210; see also screen adaptations of Austen misogyny 24 Mitchell, John Cameron: Hedwig and the Angry Inch 165, 176n17 Moggach, Deborah 212n20 Moi, Toril 7; Revolution of the Ordinary 11, 15n49 monographs, single-author 5 Montagu, Elizabeth 57 Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley 132 More, Hannah: Coelebs in Search of a Wife 57; Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education 70n11 Morris, Paula 50; “Premises” 51, 53n53 Morton, Timothy 147; “All Objects Are Deviant: Feminism and Ecological Intimacy” 159n6 motherhood theme 68 Mudrick, Marvin 28 multiculturalism 8 Murdoch, Keith 50 Murdoch, Rupert 50; “Foreword” 53n51 Murdock, Walter, 50; “Life and Letters: On Whiskers and Eternity” 52n30; “Professor Murdoch’s Answers” 45 Murphy, Olivia 9 Nagle, Christopher C. 12, 82; Sexuality and the Culture of Sensibility in the British Romantic Era 90n19 narcissism 79 narrative: ambition 31; Austen’s techniques 63, 71n46, 126, 134, 179–180, 181, 184, 188, 190, 210; authority 188; cinematic 202, 203, 208, 210; closure 89; control

65; dominant style 190; in Emma 29–30; erotic 31; forced displacement 113; gender identity see gendered narrative problem; hybrid 190; innovative nature of Austen’s narrative 179, 181, 190; patriarchal 66; pleasure 208; psychonarration 190; romance narrative biographers 25–26; standard, of women 24, 31; suspense 203; third-person structure 173, 181, 190, 210; time 77; traditional 23; writing-asconsolation-prize narrative 26, 27 necropolitics 153, 154 Nelson, Cary: Higher Education under Fire 14n33 neo-conservative online venues 9 neuroplasticity 184 neuroscience 185 neurotransmitters 185 Neutrality of Austen Style 162, 164 New Historicism 108 New Testament theology 133 New Zealand see Australia and New Zealand, impact of Austen’s fiction in Newman, Karen 237 News Corp 50 Ngu-gi Wa- Thiong’o: Decolonising the Mind 43; Writers in Politics 43 Niall, Brenda: “Writing from Home” 52n38 Nokes, David 25, 26; Jane Austen: A Life 34n34 nonbinary perspective 12, 162–245; Austen Style 163–166, 173; cross-dressing 170; homosexuality 164, 165, 177n31; “I” perspective 171–176; LGBTQ persons 162, 236; MAN-ness 172–174; queerness 150, 162, 163; transgender issues 162, 170, 171, 175 North, Joseph: Literary Criticism 11, 15n47 Northanger Abbey (1817) 70n27, 146; celebration of women’s writing 64; female thought in 60; intertextual dialogues 60; metafictional commentary 60; picaresque in 164; sisters and brothers 60 Northanger Abbey (characters): Catherine Morland 59, 64; John Thorpe 154 nostalgia 8; and feminism 56–62 novels: challenges to novelistic trajectory, in Emma 27–31; comic form 31; realist 105, 155; social world of 92; stories of the protagonist and the novelist 28; see also female writers; fiction; writings of Jane Austen

258 Index

Oakes, Dallin H. 230n48 objectification of women 146, 149 object-libido 79, 85 O’Brien, Sharon 24, 32; “Feminist Theory and Literary Biography” 33n21 Oliphant, Margaret 34n29 ontology, object-oriented 146, 147, 150, 152 oppression 110, 115; discursive 151; racial 11; sexual 12 Other, the: in Mansfield Park 114, 119–120; in Pride and Prejudice 95, 97, 99, 104; recognition as the Other of destruction 119 Palmer, Alan 83 Park, You-me: The Post-colonial Jane Austen 6 parody/parodic imitation 190 participation 115; civic 233, 235, 236, 239, 241; compulsory 149; economic 237, 241; political 233, 235, 237, 242, 243; voting rights 242 Pascal, Roy: The Dual Voice 106n16 Pascoe, C. J.: Exploring Masculinities 229n1 passion 180, 184 Pateman, Carole 236; “Contributing to Democracy” 244n21; The Disorder of Women 244n20 paternalism 61 Paterson, A. B. “Banjo” 40 patriarchal dividend 215 patriarchy 31, 57–58, 163; economic condition of unmarried women 93; male authority, edited by Austen 58, 59; women’s role 61 pauses 173, 204; in conversation 85; interpreting 88; measured 78; in thought 84; in time 78, 82, 83, 85, 86, 88; see also Lacan, Jacques; Persuasion (1817); thought; time Pennington, Montague: Memoirs of the Life of Mrs. Elizabeth Carter 138n2 Perrot, James Leigh (Mrs. Austen’s brother) 38, 39 Perry, Ruth 28, 29–30, 31; “Interrupted Friendships in Jane Austen’s Emma” 34n64; Novel Relations 183, 193n14 Persuasion (1817) 1, 69n7, 125–141; absence and presence 88; allegory in 131; Austen’s heroines 127, 191, 201; characters see Persuasion (characters); dash (interval) 84; desire in 80, 83–84, 86; desubjectivizing of characters 78, 80;

ending 110; endurance in 134–135; feminism in 129–130; “her-story” versus “history” 59; jealousy in 86, 88; Kellynch Hall setting 88, 130, 131, 132; on lack 88; love in 63, 87, 126, 131, 134, 135, 137, 149; nothingness, within Anne 87, 88; Octagon Room setting 78, 85, 86; physical appearance of Sophia 135; rationality in 129, 136, 137; religious significance of the term “sophia” 126; repetition in 78–79, 81, 82; self-knowledge in 79, 87; shrewdness of Sophia Croft 127, 131–132, 138; sick-room of young Charles Musgrove 82, 83, 84, 85; sisters and brothers 60; Sophia Croft as a personification of female wisdom 126; theory of mind 81; time, function of 77–91; triangulated scenes 83–84; uselessness, feelings of 83; wisdom theme 125, 126, 127, 129 Persuasion (characters): James Benwick 61, 87; Penelope Clay 85; Admiral Croft 126, 129, 131, 132, 135, 137, 138, 150, 152; Sophia Croft 12, 61, 65, 68, 125–141; Lady Dalrymple 85; Anne Elliot 48–49, 59–61, 67, 78–80, 82–88, 110, 126–130, 132–135, 137, 138, 156, 192, 238; Elizabeth Elliot 49; Sir Walter Elliot 59, 79, 83–84, 85, 128–130; William Elliot 78, 82, 137, 154; Captain Harville 110, 134; Charles Musgrove, Jr 82–85; Charles Musgrove, Sr 78, 82, 83, 85; Louisa Musgrove 87, 187; Mary Musgrove 78, 82, 83, 129; Lady Russell 127, 131; Mr Shepherd 130, 131; Mrs Smith 82, 138; Frederick Wentworth (Captain) 60, 61, 78–82, 84–88, 125, 126, 130–132, 135, 137, 138, 192, 238 Phillips, A. A.: “The Cultural Cringe” 40, 51n6 philo-sophia (love of wisdom) 125, 127 “Plan of a Novel” (1816) 59 Plato 128; Republic 127; The Symposium 165, 176n18 political participation 233, 235, 237, 242, 243 Polwhele, Richard 57, 58; The Unsex’d Females 70n10 Poovey, Mary 163, 182, 238; The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer 176n8, 193n12, 244n27 Port Jackson (Sydney) settlement 38 possessive love 4

Index 259

postcolonialism 6, 9, 39 postcritique 10–11 post-feminism 56, 57, 67, 68 postmodernism 12, 56, 67, 110 post-structural theory 6 power: and autonomy 109, 110; conforming to 114; economic 241; female 30; Foucault on 109, 110; Habermas on 110; and identity 12; political 242 precarity 109, 114, 120; in Mansfield Park 120 pre-frontal cortex 185, 186 Price, Amanda 68 Pride and Prejudice (1813) 32, 70n29, 92–107, 111; adaptation by Andrew Davies 56, 64, 67, 200, 201; Austen’s heroines 48, 117, 136, 201–203, 207, 208; big Other theme 95, 97, 99, 104; comedy in 92, 94, 96, 97, 98; cross-dressing in 170; cultural legacy of Davies’ adaptation 56; Darcy as a failed gentleman 99; “Darcyness” 101, 102; Darcy’s (Firth’s) emergence from the lake in Davies’ adaptation 65; Darcy’s first marriage proposal 97, 205; Darcy’s second marriage proposal 102; dialogue, use of 110; dramatizations 44, 49; on economic condition of unmarried women 93; “Elizabeth effect” 101, 103, 105; exceptionalism of Darcy 93, 100; fantasy 94; feminist jurisprudence 232; feminist theory 234; gentlemanliness 98; ideal of marriage 138, 240–241; lack in 93; Lizzie’s lack of feminine “accomplishments” 204; Lizzie’s role as uncertain heroine 209; logic of exception in 92, 94; love in 97, 105, 207, 219, 222, 239, 240; manners 98; marriage proposals 97, 102, 105, 205; Meryton community 93; misreading by Lizzie of Darcy and Wickham 182; Netherfield setting 95, 112, 240; pedophile, portrayal of Wickham as 221; Pemberley setting 59, 65, 68, 101–105, 115, 155, 190, 203, 206–208, 212n20, 221–222, 228, 240; play with types 98; portrayal of Elizabeth on screen 202–203; prejudice in 98; pride of Darcy 93, 95, 96, 97, 102, 105; primogeniture 234; reason in 136; Rosings piano-playing scene 203, 204, 207; self-consciousness/self-reconciliation of

Darcy 102, 103; sexuation theory 92, 93, 96, 99, 100; the universal (the “All”) 92–93, 96–97, 99, 100; “vicious propensities” of Wickham 216, 219 Pride and Prejudice (characters): Elizabeth Bennet (Lizzie) 48, 59, 68, 110–112, 117, 136, 137, 155, 169, 182, 188, 190–191, 201, 202–209, 217, 218, 238–241; Jane Bennet 69, 112, 169; Kitty Bennet 170, 187; Lydia Bennet 169, 170, 182, 187, 188, 192, 194n45, 216, 219, 221–222, 224, 238, 239; Mary Bennet 59; l Mr Bennet 59, 167, 168; Mrs Bennet 60, 168; Charles Bingley 62, 93, 94, 112, 168, 218, 240; Caroline Bingley 95–97, 240; Lady Catherine de Bourgh 104, 110, 117, 167, 203, 224; Chamberlayne 170, 171; Charlotte Collins 48; William Collins 136, 167, 204; Fitzwilliam Darcy 59–60, 62, 64, 65, 93, 94, 95, 96, 112, 155, 171, 190, 202–204, 206–208, 216, 218, 238–241; Georgiana Darcy 202, 207, 218; Mark Darcy 218; Captain Denny 222; Colonel Fitzwilliam 218; Harriet Forster 187, 219; the Gardiners 62, 190, 203, 206, 219, 223; Mary King 219; Charlotte Lucas 204; Mrs Reynolds 59, 64, 101, 216; George Wickham 12, 67, 170, 215–-231, 238 Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy 226, 230n47 Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (film) 108, 121n3, 224, 228 primogeniture 234 prisoner’s dilemma, intersubjective 80 prose 50, 199, 210 Providence 131 prudence 62, 125, 127, 130–131, 183 Psalms 133 psychoanalysis 78, 80, 92 psychonarration 190 Puar, Jasbir: “Precarity Talk” 122n21 public/private dichotomy 234, 235, 237, 240 public writings on Austen 8, 9, 11 pure autonomy 116 queerness 150, 162, 163 Radcliffe, Ann 180 Rajan, Rajeswari Sunder: “Austen in the World” 14n25; The Post-colonial Jane Austen 6

260 Index

Rama, R. P.: “A Conversation with Yasmine Gooneratne” 52n23 rationality 109, 112, 118, 129, 237, 238; Enlightenment feminism 62; and feeling 57; and female learning 57–58; game theory 80; in Persuasion 129, 136, 137; strategic choice 80; women as “rational creatures” 57, 59, 64, 68, 69, 136, 137 Redgrave, Jemma 63 Rees, Leslie 46 Reiff, Marija 116, 117; “The ‘Fanny Price Wars” 122n26 “reminiscence bump” 185 Rendall, Jane: The Origins of Modern Feminism 69n9 repetition: in Persuasion 78–79, 82–83 repronarrativity 6 reverence 45, 128 Richardson, Samuel: “Pamela” and “Clarissa” 180 Ridout, Alice: “Lost in Austen” 71n53 Riley Snorton, C.: Black on Both Sides 176n4 Roberts, David 217–218, 229n13 Robinson, Mary 57, 58, 60, 68 Roche, David 212n23 Rohrbach, Emily 77; Modernity’s Mist 89n5 Romantic era 232, 233, 237, 241 Rosenberg, Jordy: Confessions of the Fox 168 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques 63 Rozema, Patricia 158; adaptation of Mansfield Park 8, 56–57, 69n1, 201 Ruda, Frank 84; The Dash—The Other Side of Absolute Knowing 90n22 Rutherford, Ernest 46 Said, Edward 43, 152; Culture and Imperialism 39; “Jane Austen and Empire” 51n2, 159n21 Sanchez-Vegara, Maria: My First Jane Austen 68, 71n57 Sanditon (unfinished novel, 1817) 46, 71n44; adaptation by Andrew Davies 57, 63, 64, 69n3; camerawork 65; incest 65 Sanditon (characters): Lord Babington 66; Clara Brereton 65, 66; Sir Edward Denham 64–65; Esther Denham 64, 65, 66; Dr Fuchs 65; Reverend Hankins 65; Charlotte Heywood 56, 64, 65, 66; Georgiana Lambe (Black woman) 64–65, 66; Sidney Parker 56, 64, 65, 66–67; Old Stringer 64

Sawyer, Wayne: “Literature at School in N.S.W.” 51n11 Schaeffer, Pierre 201 Schroer, Sylvia 127 Scott, Mary 64; “The Female Advocate” 57 screen adaptations of Austen 8, 56, 199–214; in the 1990s 22; audio-viewers 201–203, 205–210; audio-visual translation 199; Bride and Prejudice 225, 230n45; Bridget Jones’s Diary 224, 225, 228; Charlotte and Sidney: I Am My Best Self 66–67, 71n49; cinematic temporality 209; Emma and Knightley: Stay, Stay, Stay 67; Emma Approved 67, 71n55; intimate close-ups 202; The Lizzie 67; Lizzie and Darcy: Kiss Me 67; The Lizzie Bennet Diaries 225, 230n46; mise-en-scène 199; modern adaptations of George Wickham 227–228; POV shots 202; Pride & Prejudice 199, 202–203, 227–228; Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy 226, 230n47; Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (film) 108, 121n3, 224, 228; Sidney and Charlotte: Adore You 66, 771n48; Sidney and Charlotte: Falling in Love 67, 71n50; visual aspects 199; voyeuristic gaze 203, 207; see also Davies, Andrew Sedgewick, Eve Kosofsky 5, 6, 22, 150; “Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl” 14n22, 33n8, 176n1 self-control 187 self-regulation 182, 186 self-trust 136 Sense and Sensibility (1811) 32; compared with Mansfield Park 149; feminist theory 234; love in 191; primogeniture 234; see also Sense and Sensibility (characters) Sense and Sensibility (characters): Colonel Brandon 49; Elinor Dashwood 61, 146, 155, 162, 167, 168, 188, 191; Fanny Dashwood 190; Marianne Dashwood 48, 49, 64, 112, 146, 162, 182, 187, 188, 191; Mrs Dashwood 112; Edward Ferrars 61, 167, 168; Lady Middleton 62, 63; Lucy Steele 61, 62, 155; Eliza Williams 187; John Willoughby 112, 167, 187, 188 Seuffert, Nan 233; “Imagined Legal Subjects and the Regulation of Female Genital Surgery” 244n4 sexism: in biography writing 24 sexist ideology 24; in Emma 28

Index 261

sexuality 28, 63, 64, 216, 227; cisheterosexuality 166; deflection of 79; erotic female gaze 65, 68; forbidden 61; and gender 164, 165; heterosexuality 165, 177n31, 237; in Lady Susan 62; sea, link with nudity in Austen’s novels 65; sexual choice 61–62 sexuation theory 92, 93, 96, 99, 100 Shaviro, Steven: Post Cinematic Affect 212n30 Shaw, David W.: A History of Wisdom from Zeno to Yeats 22; Secrets of the Oracle 33n7 Shelley, Percy 165 Shields, Carol 26; Jane Austen 34n52 Sigler, David 12 Simons, Judy: “Jane Austen and Popular Culture” 211n2 Singer, Kate 12 Sittenfeld, Curtis: Eligible 227–228, 230n49 slavery: Austen’s notions of enslavement 152; gendered 57; in Mansfield Park 43, 64, 146, 152; marriage seen as 66; metaphoric of 153; objectification of 146; “transubstantiation” of personality into property 153 Snorton, C. Riley: Black on Both Sides 163 socialization 109 Socrates 127; Socratic dialogue 129 Solinger, Jason 22; “Virginia Woolf and the Gentlemen Janeites, or the Origins of Modern Austen Criticism, 1870–1929,” 33n11 “sophia” (wisdom) 125, 126, 133 sound, in filmic adaptation: acousmatic 201, 206; audio-rich scenes 205; auditory ambivalence 202, 208; diegetic and/or non-diegetic 199, 201, 202, 203, 206, 208; listening/hearing 201, 207; materiality of 210; meta-diegetic use of 203–204; sound object 201; soundscape in film 201; suspension of time 207; trans-diegetic use of 203, 206, 208 Spade, Dean 162, 163 Spence, Jon 26; Becoming Jane Austen 25, 34n38 Spencer, Jane: “Narrative Technique” 194n54 “spin-offs” 67 spinsterhood theme 31, 32, 69; Austen’s rejection of marriage 31, 32, 38, 46, 57; economic condition of unmarried women 93; in Emma 27, 29

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty 43; An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization 52n24 Squire, J. C. 44 Stampone, Christopher: “‘Obliged to Yield’: The Language of Patriarchy and the System of Mental Slavery in Mansfield Park” 122n29 Starr, G. Gabrielle: Lyric Generations 160n29 Steers, Burr 121n3 Steinberg, Laurence 180, 182, 185, 187, 188; Age of Opportunity 192n5, 193n8 Steinbock, Eliza 166 Steiner, Enit Karafili 12; Jane Austen’s Civilized Women 122n24; “Overcoming Perpetual Estrangement in Persuasion’s Heterotopia” 121n11 Stephen, Leslie 132; Alexander Pope 140n32 Stephens, A. G. 40, 47; “The Bookfellow” 52n39 Stetz, Margaret Diane 52n30 Stillman, Whit 66; Love and Friendship 56, 63 Stockholm Syndrome 110, 118, 121n12 Strachey, Ray: The Cause 48 Strong, James: “Wisdom” 140n35 Stuart, Mary 58 subjectivity: in Austen’s novels 108; and autonomy 110–111; and critical theory 109; desubjectivization 78, 80; legal 233, 242; and legal personhood 235–236; and time 80, 81, 88; white, privilege of 146 subjectum and subjectus 233, 234 submission, female 27, 30, 118 subordinated masculinity 216 subordination of women 113–114, 117–119, 120, 236; in childhood 113; and social recognition 119 substance 95, 103 Sulloway, Allison: Jane Austen and the Province of Womanhood 129–130, 139n25 Sutherland, Kathryn 32, 200; “Jane Austen on Screen” 211n5; A Memoir of Jane Austen and Other Family Recollections 34n29; Teenage Writings 179, 183–184 Swift, Jonathan 136 teenagers see adolescence Telscombe, Anne 64, 71n44 temperance 135–136 theology 133 theory: and biography writing 24; of change 145–161; efficacy of 1; feminist

262 Index

24; identity, theories of 23; Lacanian 77; nature of 2; post-structural 6; theorizing adolescence in Austen’s novels 181, 182; of transformation 145–161; see also critical theory; feminism/feminist theory third-person narration 173, 181, 190, 210 Thomism 130 thought 78, 88; theory of mind 81; thought experiment 80 Tiffin, Helen: The Empire Writes Back 39, 40, 43, 47, 51n3 time: chronological 205; and desire 80, 83–84, 86; and intersubjectivity 77, 78, 80, 81, 87; intervals of 84, 86–87; in Persuasion 77–91; pervasiveness 80; subjective evidence of lag-time 82; suspension of 207; temporal instability 208 time, Lacan on: logical time 78–82, 84, 86; “time of lagging behind the other” 87; two scansions, time operating through 86 Tissari, Helen 184; “Current Emotion Research in English Linguistics” 193n17 Tomalin, Claire 25, 26; Jane Austen: A Life 34n33 Tovey, Josephine 68; “Sense and Social Distancing” 71n60 toxic masculinity: portrayal in Pride and Prejudice 12, 215–-231 transformation, Austen’s theory of 145–161; in Mansfield Park 148, 149, 152, 155, 158 transgender issues 162, 170, 171, 175 Trilling, Lionel 30, 32, 108; “Emma and the Legend of Jane Austen” 27, 34n58; The Opposing Self 121n1 Trollope, Anthony: Austen compared with 45 Tsui-James, Eric: The Blackwell Companion to Philosophy 109, 111, 112, 113, 121n5 Tuck, Eve: “Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor” 152, 159n24 Tuite, Clara 4, 209, 212n28; Romantic Austen 6, 14n18 Turner Ethel 46–47; Mother’s Little Girl 47; Seven Little Australians 47 Twain, Mark 26 the universal (the “All”) 92–93, 96–97, 99, 100 Upfal, Annette: “Are We Ready for New Directions? Jane Austen’s The History of

England and Cassandra’s Portraits” 23, 33n13 vibrancy 7, 148–154, 156, 158 virtue ethics 139n20 “virtue in distress” model, challenging 180 vivophilia 148 voting rights, participation 242 Wade, Lisa: “Ask a Feminist” 229n5 Wakefield, Stephanie 157; Anthropocene Back Loop 160n30 Warhol, Robyn 77–78, 88; “The Look, the Body and the Heroine of Persuasion” 89n6 Warner, Michael 6 Warren, Calvin L. 153; “Black Nihilism and the Politics of Hope” 159n25 Washington, Chris: “Jane Austen’s Angry Inch” 12 Watson, Zak 89; “Logical Time and the Romantic Sublime” 90n32 The Watsons (1803–1805, abandoned novel by Austen) 60–61 Watt, Ian 100 Wayne Yang, K.: “Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor” 152, 159n24 Weininger, Otto 23–24; Sex and Character 23, 33n18 Wentworth, D’Arcy 38, 51n1 West, Cornell 4, 9; “Power and Freedom in Jane Austen’s Novels” 14n16 West, Jane: Letters to a Young Lady 70n38 White, Patrick 40, 41 White, Rebecca 12 Wiesenfarth, Joseph, The Errand of Form 122n17 de Wilde, Autumn 66; Emma 49, 63 Wilkes, Joanne 12 Wilkinson, Iris (“Robin Hyde”) 48 Wilson, Mona: Jane Austen and Some Contemporaries 48 Wiltshire, John 23, 25, 27, 42, 43, 49, 52n17; Jane Austen and the Body 211n12; Recreating Jane Austen 33n15 wisdom: allegory 134; Book of Wisdom 133; exclusion of women from authoritative wisdom 129; feminine 126, 132, 133–134; higher 130; love of 125, 127, 131; masculine, classical assumption of 127; in Persuasion 125, 126, 127, 129 Wollstonecraft, Mary 48, 56, 57–58, 62, 152, 238; compared with Austen 61;

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rebuttal of Burke 126, 127, 128; A Vindication of the Rights of Woman 57, 60, 63, 70n13, 70n21, 126, 232, 237, 244n2; virtue ethics 139n20; The Works of Mary Wollstonecraft 139n16; The Wrongs of Woman 116 Woloch, Alex 93; The One vs. the Many 106n7, 177n32 women: and biography 23–27; challenges to novelistic trajectory, in Emma 27–31; female power 30; fictional heroines see Austen’s heroines; heroines; liberation within marriage 58; objectification of 146, 149; as “rational creatures” 57, 59, 64, 68, 69, 136, 137; standard narrative of life of 24; stereotypes 29, 137, 182; subordination of 113–114, 117, 118, 119, 236; unmarried 26, 93; valued only in terms of marriageability 22; wisdom of 126, 132, 133–134; see also Enlightenment feminism; female writers; feminism/feminist theory; spinsterhood theme women’s movement 41 Woodworth, Megan 12 Woolf, Thoby 134 Woolf, Virginia 1, 4, 9, 22, 23, 134; Greek language, exposing lack of formal training in 125; “Jane Austen” 1, 13n1; “On Not Knowing Greek” 125, 138n1; “Virginia Woolf on Jane Austen: A Review of the Publication of R.W. Chapman’s Edition of the Novels of Jane Austen, in Five Volumes” 33n12 Wootton, Sarah: Becoming Jane 68–69; “Revisiting Jane Austen as a Romantic Author in Literary Biopics” 71n65 Worsley, Lucy: Jane Austen at Home 26, 34n53 Wright, Joe 205, 208–209, 210; Pride & Prejudice 199, 202–203 Wright, Nicole M.: “Alt-Right June Austen” 9, 15n41 writing style 2, 3, 5, 8, 162, 210; Austen Style 163–166, 173; first-person narration 164, 181, 210; hyperbolic language 191; intimacy 6; linguistic interrelatedness 126; past tense 190; in Pride and Prejudice 169; prose 50, 199, 210; third-person narration 173, 181, 190, 210; see also writings of Jane Austen

writing-as-consolation-prize narrative 26, 27 writings of Jane Austen: challenges to novelistic trajectory, in Emma 27–31; challenging of gender narrative in 25; critical bias 28; dialogue, use of 110; early work 190; and eighteenth-century female writers 25; free indirect speech/ indirect discourse (FID) 181, 190, 191; on human nature 44, 45, 46; influence on Australian and New Zealand fiction 50; innovative nature of narrative 179, 181, 190; juvenilia 30, 44, 58, 179, 180, 189, 190; learning of craft by Austen 189; letters 26, 31, 44, 58–59; on marriage see marriage; mature work 190; on motherhood 68; narrative techniques 63, 71n46, 126, 134, 179–180, 181, 184, 188, 190, 210; new editions 44; Oxford edition 45; part of British canonical literature 3, 4, 7, 9, 10, 40, 46, 50; realism of 100; redefining the past, theme of 64; sea, link with nudity 65; and sexuality 61–62, 65; on slavery 43, 64; stories of the protagonist and the novelist 28; subjectivity 108; universal relevance 44, 45; see also Austen, Jane; “The Beautifull Cassandra” (1788); Emma; female writers; Juvenilia; Lady Susan (characters); Later Manuscripts; Mansfield Park; Northanger Abbey; Persuasion; Pride and Prejudice; Sanditon; Sense and Sensibility; writing style Yiannakis, John: “An Overview of the ALIAS Data Findings” 51n10 Young, Kay 84–85; “Feeling Embodied” 90n23 Young, Margot 235 YouTube 12 Zagzebski, Linda 136; “Trust, Anti-Trust, and Reasons for Religious Belief” 140n41 Zizek, Slavoj 94, 99; Less than Nothing 106n9 Zunshine, Lisa: “Why Jane Austen Was Different, and Why We May Need Cognitive Science to See It” 90n15 Zupancic, Alenka 92–93, 95, 98, 99, 101, 105; The Odd One In 94, 106n10; What is Sex? 105n3