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Literature & Criticism / Biography / British Studies / Women's Studies


Searching for Jane Austen
Emily Auerbach

"The Austen sketched here is an ambitious novelist, confident in her superior talent, with a subversive and biting sense of humor.  . . . Readers who enjoyed the novel The Jane Austen Book Club will find similar pleasures here."Publishers Weekly

In this revolutionary study of Jane Austen's life and writings, Emily Auerbach
surveys two centuries of editing, censorship, and fiction that created a pious, wistful, romantically pining, and frustrated Austen, and serves up an antidote to that icon—a dynamic, brave, and buoyant writer—by examining subtle self-portraits in the author's works.

"[Auerbach's] detailed knowledge of Austen's sources [gives] us a more complete impression of Austen's wide and eclectic interests."—New York Review of Books

"Emily Auerbach's approach to Jane Austen is lively, engaging, and thoroughly modern. Like Austen, Auerbach wears her wide learning lightly and imparts a great deal of information in a most enjoyable manner. A witty, approachable introduction to Jane Austen for today's readers, using modern analytical techniques to reveal new aspects of a great writer."—Margaret Drabble, editor of the Oxford Companion to English Literature

"This 'search' for Jane Austen finds the playfulness and irreverence of her early writings present, to varying degrees, in all of the novels, but also finds a daring and powerful artist polishing her craft. Novel by novel, Auerbach overturns patronizing concepts about Austen's tiny canvas and limited view."—Booklist

Emily Auerbach is professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, cohost of Wisconsin Public Radio's University of the Air, and director of the Courage to Write series of radio documentaries on brave women writers. She has won numerous teaching, broadcasting, and arts awards and has published books, guides, and articles on nineteenth-century literature. Auerbach holds a lifetime membership in the Jane Austen Society of North America.

Reviews from the cloth edition

"Innovative, indeed revolutionary. A major new study of Austen's work." —Joseph Wiesenfarth, author of Gothic Manners and the Classic English Novel

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)

Of Related Interest

Sor Juana's Love Poems
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
Translated by Joan Larkin and Jaime Manrique
ISBN 0-299-18704-7 Paper

cover of Auerbach's book is beige, with four colorized portraits of Jane Austen some with whimsical  additions, like a top hat and ballons

April 2006
LC: 2004005252 PR
358 pp. 6 x 9 32 b/w photos

Book icon
Paper $21.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-20184-5
  Cloth $35.00 t
ISBN 978-0-299-20180-7
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Updated March 28, 2011

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