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Jane's Fame

Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen conquered the world

Claire Harman

Jane’s Fame is a story of personal struggle, family intrigue, accident, advocacy and sometimes surprising neglect—as well as a history of changing public tastes and critical practices.

In a wide-ranging study aimed at the general reader, award-winning biographer and Oxford and Columbia University Professor Claire Harman traces the growth of Jane Austen’s fame, the changing status of her work and what it has stood for.

Starting with Austen’s early experience as an author (and addressing her difficulties getting published and her determination to succeed), Harman unfolds the story of how her estate was handled by her family. She goes on to explore the swell of public interest in Austen in the last two decades of the nineteenth century, her emergence as a classic English author in the twentieth century, the critical wars that erupted as a result and, lastly, her powerful influence on contemporary phenomena such as chick-lit, romantic comedy, the heritage industry and film.

Part biography and part cultural history, Jane’s Fame is more than a fascinating story—it is essential reading for anyone interested in Austen’s life, works and remarkably potent fame.

Claire Harman
About the Author

Claire Harman’s first book, a biography of the novelist Sylvia Townsend Warner, won the John Llewellyn Rhys prize for the best work of literature from Britain or the Commonwealth by a writer of 35 or under. Her subsequent biography, of the eighteenth-century novelist Fanny Burney, was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize. Her last book, Robert...

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Text publication date:
16 May 2010
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Praise for Claire Harman
andJane’s Fame

‘[an] extraordinary book, crammed with scholarship and glittering with trivia…Harman’s book offers so many delights…This is a fantastic compendium of absolutely everything relating to Austen, the tone calm and impartial despite severe provocation.’

‘Splendid…there is no doubt that Harman is the first to treat this fascinating subject in an accessible, lively manner unshackled by academic jargon. There is much to enjoy in this book…it’s the quality of the insights and the interpretations that make this book such a good read.’

‘[a] wonderful book…A shrewd but unstuffy critic, Harman[‘s]…prose rings with good sense, affection and humour, and she articulates very well indeed what’s good about Austen without descending into the camp either of drooling Janeites or literary-theoretical pseudery…[Jane’s Fame] manages to be not only scholarly, but indecently entertaining.’

‘Harman has taken a subject that in a previous generation would have been restricted to academia, and given it the treatment necessary to catch the attention of modern Austen fans…*Jane’s Fame *is a valuable and illuminating addition to the ranks of Austen mania.’

‘A deft, elegant exploration of the cult of all things Austen…a happy blend of critical insight and narrative bounce.’

‘An exhilarating look at the rise of Divine Jane’s worldwide influence. Harman charts its course with wit and style, as well as scholarly precision, making this a book that no Austen addict will want to resist.’