Eighteenth Century Influences on Jane Austen's Early Fiction

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This text examines how the Gothic writing of Ann Radcliffe and the eighteenth-century novels of Fanny Barney helped to shape and hone Jane Austen’s own eighteenth century literary endeavors. It specifically focuses on Austen’s early works Northanger Abbey, Lady Susan, and Sense and Sensibility, all of which were conceived and shaped during the last decade of the 1700’s. It closely follows the manner in which Austen eschewed the popular epistolary genre in favour of the novel-form, how she mastered the parodic-Gothic form, and created characters that while uniquely hers owed a great deal to the late-eighteenth century English milieu of which they have become major cultural elements.


“Jane Austen’s novels are timelessly appealing – witness their ongoing publication and the recent commercial box office success of Sense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice. This book is a first-rate exposition of the literary, historical, and social influences that inform the novels. Readers have long enjoyed Austen’s works but, to some degree, have shied away from the backdrop against which they were written. Mujahid eases students into this milieu by showing how Austen, in some cases, embraced and in other cases departed from the literary canons of her day.”
-Prof. David Grandy,
Brigham Young University

“Mujahid has made life for undergraduates smoother because of this book. The connections between Jane Austen and her forbearers, Burney and Radcliffe, are important, and this highly accessible analysis examines them in a readable and yet critically informative manner. This book should appeal to young scholars on a global level and would be an asset to any university or college library.”
-Prof. Saiyad Nizamuddin Ahmad,
The American University in Cairo

“I am honored and enthusiastic about this book. It is certainly a perfect example of a New Historicist work that partly analyzes the modern reception of, and obsession with, Jane Austen. Mujahid beautifully traces the literary influence of women writers such as Ann Radcliffe and Fanny Burney on Austen.”
-Prof. Eman El-Meligi,
Damanhur University

Table of Contents

Section I: The Emotional Damsel’s Dreamscape in Ann Radcliffe’s The Romance of the Forest

Section II: Jane Austen’s Eighteenth-Century Heroines: Comparisons, Contrasts, and Clarifications in Sense and Sensibility

Section III: Parodic Gothic and Comic Evil: Austen’s Eighteenth-Century Attempts at Satirical Humour


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