"Jane Austen's Novels" by Roger Gard

Jane Austen's Novels The Art of Clarity Roger Gard

Publication date:
10 Sep 1994
Yale University Press
272 pages: 241 x 159mm
160 b/w illus.

Although Jane Austen has long been England's best-loved novelist, much current criticism tends to ignore the appeal and accessibility of her novels and instead treats them as mere material—the preserve of academics, feminists, historical specialists, and would-be radical theorists. This book by Roger Gard is at once a thoughtful and detailed discussion of Jane Austen's oeuvre and a provocative and witty commentary that will stimulate all readers.
Gard offers lively and perceptive discussions of the six major novels, together with the early Lady Susan and the unfinished Sanditon. The precise nature and scope of Jane Austen's realism, her particularly English approach to the world, and the characteristic blend in her work of a sharp skepticism about human nature and its banality with an idealism about human virtue are themes that recur throughout Gard's study. The book is moreover notable for the original and striking links it makes between Jane Austen and other authors ranging from Shakespeare to Flaubert, Lawrence, George Eliot, and Barbara Pym. Gard has something new to say in every chapter, and he says it with authority and style.

"An extremely fine and elegantly written study of Jane Austen's novels. It should appeal to a wide range of readers and will provoke intelligent debate."?Kate Fullbrook

"Careful, sensitive and illuminating studies of Jane Austen's novels. . . . [Gard's] discussions are equally important to Austen scholars and those whose only knowledge of Austen and her time comes from that artist's pages themselves. . . . Gard's handling of the novels . . . is brilliant and fresh."?Jill Lenett Keller, Essays in Criticism

"The discussion of Jane Austen is sharp and exciting. It is brilliant in the best sense."?Leonee Ormond

"A very well informed close reading of Austen's work. . . . [Gard shows] the consistency of the world created in discrete works . . . [and] offers careful and often brilliant insights into characterization and thematic development specifically through that characterization. . . . His own writing is engaging and clear."?John C. Hawley, Christianity and Literature

"Gard has something new to say of all the novels, and his narrative is elegant, amusing and jargon-free. His confrontation with the specialists is conducted in detail in the sparky and sparkling footnotes, where his own scholarship is brilliantly evident, and amply specific, while at the same time generous."?Judith Marshall, The Tablet