Synopses & Reviews
In Jane Austenand#8217;s works, a name is never just a name. In fact, the names Austen gives her characters and places are as rich in subtle meaning as her prose itself. Wiltshire, for example, the home county of Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey
, is a clue that this heroine is not as stupid as she seems: according to legend, cunning Wiltshire residents caught hiding contraband in a pond capitalized on a reputation for ignorance by claiming they were digging up a and#147;big cheeseand#8221;and#151;the moonand#8217;s reflection on the waterand#8217;s surface. It worked.
In Jane Austenand#8217;s Names, Margaret Doody offers a fascinating and comprehensive study of all the names of people and placesand#151;real and imaginaryand#151;in Austenand#8217;s fiction. Austenand#8217;s creative choice of names reveals not only her virtuosic talent for riddles and puns. Her names also pick up deep stories from English history, especially the various civil wars, and the blood-tinged differences that played out in the reign of Henry VIII, a period to which she often returns. Considering the major novels alongside unfinished works and juvenilia, Doody shows how Austenand#8217;s names signal class tensions as well as regional, ethnic, and religious differences. We gain a new understanding of Austenand#8217;s technique of creative anachronism, which plays with and against her skillfully deployed realismand#151;in her books, the conflicts of the past swirl into the tensions of the present, transporting readers beyond the Regency.
Full of insight and surprises for even the most devoted Janeite, Jane Austenand#8217;s Names will revolutionize how we read Austenand#8217;s fiction.
andldquo;A brilliant, provocative, and important book. Doody has marshaled a truly unprecedented array of material about names, places, and plotting culled from a dazzlingly expansive reading of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century novelsandmdash;as well as books on local history and the English countryside. The result is an illuminating and enjoyable book that teaches us to think about Austenandrsquo;s artistry in a fundamentally new way.andrdquo;
andldquo;Doody brings the insights of a lifetime of reading, teaching, and writing about Austen to this book. I admire howand#160;Jane Austenandrsquo;s Namesand#160;brings to view the riddling and punning play that Austen indulged in her naming practices. Doody reveals an author who positively relishes the comic resonances of the names she encountered in the social world around her.andrdquo;
andldquo;This is a remarkable bookandmdash;profuse, forensic, vividly imagined. To say that it enriches our experience of Austenandrsquo;s fiction hardly does justice to the way Doody brings all its people and places to life through their names. In this erudite etymological adventure she excavates the deep text of Austenandrsquo;s England, its embedded meanings and hidden histories.andrdquo;
andldquo;Doody draws on a prodigious array of literary, geographical, historical, and linguistic information to figure out what the names of people and places in Jane Austen actually mean. With characteristic energy and curiosity, she links Austenandrsquo;s riddling allusions to larger worlds, even to the movements of time itself.andrdquo;
andldquo;Doody makes a convincing argument that Jane Austen (1775andndash;1817) imbued most, if not all, of her character and place names with historical, geographical, or social significance, and provides the historical and cultural context necessary to understand the import of each of these careful naming choices. . . . A delightful, edifying read for both scholars and lay Austen fans.andrdquo;
andldquo;This is rich material, and Janites will love the code-cracking. . . . [A] playful and exuberant book.andrdquo;and#160;
andldquo;Jane Austenandrsquo;s Names
is a treasure chest.andrdquo;
andldquo;No one, with the possible exception of Jane Austen herself, knows the fiction of Jane Austen and her time more intimately than Margaret Doody, and the depth and breadth of this knowledge is richly deployed here. . . . An erudite, provocative, and original book.andrdquo;
Long before "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," Quirk published this guide to life in Regency England to the delight of Austen fans everywhere. Newly published with a revised cover, "The Jane Austen Handbook" offers step-by-step instructions for proper comportment in the early 19th century. Readers will discover:
- How to Indicate Interest in a Gentleman Without Seeming Forward
- How to Ensure a Good Yearly Income
- How to Ride Sidesaddle
- How to Behave at a Dinner Party
Full of practical directions for navigating the travails of Regency life, this charming illustrated book also serves as a companion for present-day readers, explaining the English class system, currency, dress, and the nuances of graceful living.
Jane Austen took a particular delight in the resonance of names, and in her novels she used the names of people and places as a potential source of meaning, satirical or historical. Margaret Doodyand#8217;s book is a learned and enjoyable investigation of this aspect of Austenand#8217;s art. Doody tells us that Austen preferred first names in common and traditional English use, though these sometimes acquire a subtly new flavor in her works. Austen also favored the names of saints and of royalty, but she did use some classically derived and#147;paganand#8221; names, always with a purpose. And Austen would signal political loyalties and allegiances in her novels through the use of names, both first names and last names, as well as place names. In exploring Austenand#8217;s names and their connotations, Doody has a larger point to make. By uncovering the riddling and punning in Austenand#8217;s names, as well as Austenand#8217;s interest in history, Doody casts Austen as a and#147;decidedly earthyand#8221; writer steeped in the particulars of place and time, rather than a timeless novelist writing in an abstemious style. From this attention to names in her work emerges a picture of Austen that is both fuller than weand#8217;ve had before, and controversial.
About the Author
Margaret Doody is the John and Barbara Glynn Family Professor of Literature at the University of Notre Dame. In addition to her Aristotle mysteries, she has published books on eighteenth-century literature, the Renaissance, ancient and modern fiction, and the significance of Venice.
Table of Contents
List of Figures
A Note on Texts
Part I. England
Chapter 1. Words, Names, Persons, and Places
Chapter 2. Names as History: Invasion, Migration, War, and Conflict
Chapter 3. Civil War, Ruins, and the Conscience of the Rich
Part II. Names
Chapter 4. Naming People: First Names, Nicknames, Titles, and Rank
Chapter 5. Titles, Status, and Surnames: Austenand#8217;s Great Surname Matrix
Chapter 6. Personal Names (First Names and Surnames) in the and#8220;Steventonand#8221; Novels
Chapter 7. Personal Names in the and#8220;Chawtonand#8221; Novels
Part III. Places
Chapter 8. Humans Making and Naming a Landscape
Chapter 9. Placing the Places
Chapter 10. Counties, Towns, Villages, Estates: Real and Imaginary Places in the and#8220;Steventonand#8221; Novels
Chapter 11. Real and Imaginary Places in the and#8220;Chawtonand#8221; Novels