Katie Halsey (Stirling) will be presenting her paper, ‘Reading Jane Austen’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 23 October 2012. The talk will take place in the Cardiff Humanities Building, Room 2.48.
I do not write for such dull Elves
As have not a great deal of Ingenuity themselves.
(Jane Austen, Letter to Cassandra Austen, 29 January 1813)
Beginning from the premise that Jane Austen’s novels demand a particular kind of close and careful reading, I will present a brief analysis of Austen’s style, before turning to look at the ways in which readers have responded to Austen’s works over time. My aim is to show not only how the responses of Austen’s readers can help to explicate Austen’s works, but also how their reactions to Austen’s works can illuminate her readers and their social, cultural and literary preoccupations for us. Focusing in particular on Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859), Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861), and Mary Russell Mitford (1787–1855), I will discuss the reading strategies generated by their encounters with Austen’s work, and will argue that the sublimated energies of Austen’s style resurface in unexpected ways in the responses of her readers.
About the speaker
Katie Halsey is Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century Literature at the University of Stirling. Her most recent publications include Jane Austen and her Readers, 1786–1945 (Anthem, 2012), The History of Reading (Routledge, 2011), edited with Shafquat Towheed and Rosalind Crone, and The History of Reading, vol. 2, Evidence from the British Isles c. 1750–1945 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), edited with W.R. Owens. She is also a member of the Management Group of the Reading Experience Database, 1450–1945.