Jane Austen: An Anthology of Recent Criticism
Edited by Harish Trivedi
Of all the English novelists, Jane Austen is perhaps the most securely and snugly great. She is a ‘delight’ to read, she is constantly compared to Shakespeare, and seems equally above all criticism. At the same time, she has always attracted critics of the greatest ability and of all ideological persuasions.

In this volume are collected twelve essays representing the major critical approaches currently prevalent, after the explosion of Theory. Nearly half the volume is concerned in one way or another with feminist issues relating to Austen, the Post-colonial view of Austen is well represented, two of the essays look at Austen in the light of deconstruction, and there are fresh readings of Austen through Literary history as well as socio-economic history. Aptly for a writer whose formal perfection is highly acclaimed, there are new studies here of her irony, the structure of her novels, and of her use of point-of-view or ‘focalization.’

The volume opens with three general discussions of Jane Austen. Each of the six novels by her is then discussed individually, with two essays each on Pride and Prejudice and on Emma. In conclusion, a sample is offered of six Indian reader-responses, by students and a teacher, to ‘Jane Austen in the Class-room.’

Harish Trivedi, Professor of English at the University of Delhi, has earlier taught at the University of Allahabad and at St Stephen’s College, Delhi. He was a Commonwealth Scholar at the University of Wales (where he wrote his Ph.D. thesis on Virginia Woolf), and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham.

He is the author of Colonial Transactions: English Literature and India (Calcutta 1993; Manchester and New York, 1995). He has edited Hardy’s Tess of the d’Ubervilles (OUP, 1988), and co-edited Interrogating Post-colonialism: Theory, Text and Context (Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, 1995).

Contributors : Sharmila Bhatt, Delhi, Julia Prewitt Brown, Boston, Peter Conrad, Oxford, David Lodge, Birmingham, Oliver MacDonagh, Canberra, Meenakshi Mukherjee, Delhi, Edward Neill, London, Nicholas E. Preus, Wisconsin, Edward W. Said, New York, Amy Elizabeth Smith, Pennsylvania, Robyn R. Warhol, Vermont.
ISBN 81-85753-08-3            2006           254 pp           Rs.400 (hb)

It is indispensible reading if one wants to understand the implications of recent theoretical developments on Jane Austen.
The Book Review, New Delhi