Jane Austen, the Secret Radical

Author(s): Helena Kelly

Biography | Featured Titles | Staff Picks | Literary theory

In this fascinating, revelatory work, Helena Kelly looks past the grand houses, drawing-room dramas, and witty dialogue that have long been seen as hallmarks of Jane Austen's work to bring to light the serious, ambitious, subversive concerns of this beloved writer. Kelly illuminates the radical views-on such subjects as slavery, poverty, feminism, marriage, and the church-that Austen deftly and carefully explored in her six novels, at a time when open criticism was considered treason. Kelly shows us that Austen was fully aware of what was going on in the world during the turbulent times she lived in, and sure of what she thought of it. Above all, Austen understood that the novel-until then dismissed as mindless and frivolous-could be a meaningful art form, one that in her hands reached unprecedented heights of greatness. Book jacket.


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If you’re a Janeite (and I know there are a lot of you out there!) then this book is a fabulous find. Even though by today’s standards Austen’s works might seem quite demure and tame, it’s amazing to learn the extent to which she was considered a subversive force for her time. I can guarantee that the next time you reread your favourite Austen novel you’ll see it in a different light after this fascinating biography.

- Greer, The Book Grocer

General Fields

  • : 9781524732103
  • : 0.635029
  • : May 2017
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Helena Kelly
  • : Hardback
  • : 336