Journal Article

Jane Austen's Past Lives

Freya Johnston

in The Cambridge Quarterly

Published on behalf of Cambridge Quarterly

Volume 39, issue 2, pages 103-121
Published in print June 2010 | ISSN: 0008-199X
Published online June 2010 | e-ISSN: 1471-6836 | DOI:
Jane Austen's Past Lives

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This article discusses Austen's teenage skit, The History of England from the reign of Henry the 4th to the death of Charles the 1st (1791): an energetic, farcical reworking of eighteenth-century historical narratives by Hume, Robertson and (above all) Goldsmith. Touching on Austen's education and letters, and on the competitive relationship between fiction and history, the article considers how the young novelist's unabashed partiality, prejudice, and ignorance anticipate her mature fiction's emphasis on matters of evidence and interpretation, authenticity, character, and selfhood.

Journal Article.  8323 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Art ; Film ; Music

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