Fame in the family: Jane Austen's political legacy

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This essay considers the impact of Jane Austen's collateral descendants on the novelist's posthumous image and growing fame. First, it describes the extensive network of family writers among whom Austen lived and worked, reconsidering the early story of her writing process, from her death to 1920. Next, it considers the political activities of Lord Brabourne and Florence Emma Austen-Leigh, each an anti-women's suffrage conservative, a fact long unnoticed in Austen scholarship. What is argued is that their views not only shaped their interpretations of Austen's life and fiction but influenced how contemporary readers and critics read Austen politically. Opposing political viewpoints on the author were not only forged but prompted by her Victorian familial descendants' accounts of her.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-23
Number of pages17
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Conservatism
  • Family
  • Feminism
  • Jane Austen
  • Lord Brabourne
  • Reception
  • Suffrage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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