Jane Austen Questions and Answers

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What was the reception of Jane Austen's work at time it was written? For example, did people understand she was writing a satire?  Are there good sources to study the change in time?

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Jane Austen lived and wrote during an age when women’s roles in society continued – as would be the case for many more decades – to be constrained by antiquated notions of gender inequality, a situation that compelled her to publish her novels anonymously.  That, combined with the still-new concept of the fiction novel (despite well-known examples of such works of literature having been produced as far back as the 15th and 16th centuries), conspired to prevent Austen from receiving the acclaim she deserved and limited the exposure of her novels to only select audiences, principally, the same upper classes that she satirized.  In her chapter included in the volume Jane Austen: Her Life, Her Time, Her Novels (Janet Todd, editor), Mary Waldron places critical reception of Austen’s novels within the literary historical context of the time.  The novel as a form of nonfiction literature was still somewhat new and unconventional, so it could be expected that it would not be welcomed by...

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