Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9780226157832 Will Publish March 2015
An e-book edition will be published.

Jane Austen's Names

Riddles, Persons, Places

Margaret Doody

Jane Austen's Names
Bookmark and Share

Margaret Doody

472 pages | 25 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2015
Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9780226157832 Will Publish March 2015
E-book $21.00 ISBN: 9780226196022 Will Publish March 2015
In Jane Austen’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 “big cheese”—the moon’s reflection on the water’s surface. It worked.

In Jane Austen’s Names, Margaret Doody offers a fascinating and comprehensive study of all the names of people and places—real and imaginary—in Austen’s fiction. Austen’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 Austen’s names signal class tensions as well as regional, ethnic, and religious differences. We gain a new understanding of Austen’s technique of creative anachronism, which plays with and against her skillfully deployed realism—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 Austen’s Names will revolutionize how we read Austen’s fiction.
Claudia L. Johnson, author of Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures
“A brilliant, provocative, and important book. Doody has marshaled a truly unprecedented array of narrative material regarding names, places, and plotting culled from a dazzlingly expansive reading of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century novels—as well as books on aesthetics, local history, and the English countryside. The result is a uniquely illuminating and enjoyable book that teaches us to think about Austen’s artistry in a fundamentally new way.”
Deidre Shauna Lynch, author of Loving Literature: A Cultural History
“Doody brings the insights of a lifetime of reading, teaching, and writing about Austen to this book, which reveals a seldom-noted dimension of Austen’s practice as a novelist. I admire how Jane Austen’s Names brings to view the riddling and punning play that Austen indulged in her onomastic practices. Doody’s discussions of Austen’s letters reveal an author who positively relishes the comic resonances of the names she encountered in the social world around her.”
Contents
List of Figures
Acknowledgments
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: Austen’s Great Surname Matrix
Chapter 6. Personal Names (First Names and Surnames) in the “Steventon” Novels
Chapter 7. Personal Names in the “Chawton” 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 “Steventon” Novels
Chapter 11. Real and Imaginary Places in the “Chawton” Novels
Conclusion
Notes
Index
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
Google preview here

Chicago Manual of Style |

Keep Informed

JOURNALs