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The Lost Books of Jane Austen

Janine Barchas

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Hardcore bibliography meets Antiques Roadshow in an illustrated exploration of the role that cheap reprints played in Jane Austen's literary celebrity—and in changing the larger book world itself.

Winner of the Foreword INDIES Award - History by the FOREWORD Reviews

In the nineteenth century, inexpensive editions of Jane Austen's novels targeted to Britain's working classes were sold at railway stations, traded for soap wrappers, and awarded as school prizes. At just pennies a copy, these reprints were some of the earliest mass-market paperbacks, with Austen's beloved stories squeezed into tight…

Hardcore bibliography meets Antiques Roadshow in an illustrated exploration of the role that cheap reprints played in Jane Austen's literary celebrity—and in changing the larger book world itself.

Winner of the Foreword INDIES Award - History by the FOREWORD Reviews

In the nineteenth century, inexpensive editions of Jane Austen's novels targeted to Britain's working classes were sold at railway stations, traded for soap wrappers, and awarded as school prizes. At just pennies a copy, these reprints were some of the earliest mass-market paperbacks, with Austen's beloved stories squeezed into tight columns on thin, cheap paper. Few of these hard-lived bargain books survive, yet they made a substantial difference to Austen's early readership. These were the books bought and read by ordinary people.

Packed with nearly 100 full-color photographs of dazzling, sometimes gaudy, sometimes tasteless covers, The Lost Books of Jane Austen is a unique history of these rare and forgotten Austen volumes. Such shoddy editions, Janine Barchas argues, were instrumental in bringing Austen's work and reputation before the general public. Only by examining them can we grasp the chaotic range of Austen's popular reach among working-class readers.

Informed by the author's years of unconventional book hunting, The Lost Books of Jane Austen will surprise even the most ardent Janeite with glimpses of scruffy survivors that challenge the prevailing story of the author's steady and genteel rise. Thoroughly innovative and occasionally irreverent, this book will appeal in equal measure to book historians, Austen fans, and scholars of literary celebrity.

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The Lost Books of Jane Austen

Janine Barchas

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Reviews

Reviews

Barchas is indeed the ultimate Austen book hunter, and we are the grateful recipients of her obsession.

Over the last 25 years, amid the releases of various screen adaptations imagining new lives for her novels, the critical conversation around Jane Austen has been much occupied with the diverse responses of her diverse reading communities: academic and popular, elite and fan-based. Janine Barchas's exuberantly illustrated study, The Lost Books of Jane Austen, rides this wave with panache.

For all the Janeites on your list, reach for The Lost Books of Jane Austen... it's a fascinating, richly illustrated study of what we can learn from the numerous popular editions of Austen's novels that appeared during the 19th and 20th centuries.

In addition to the vivid reproductions and Barchas' careful narrative of Austen's publishing history, The Lost Books of Jane Austen connects surviving cheap editions with their owners, and Barchas shares what she's found of their histories. It makes for an unexpectedly personal touch in this scholarly tome – one that makes you feel that any copy of Austen's work you have has value to history, and by extension, you do, too.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
8.5
x
9.5
Pages
304
ISBN
9781421431598
Illustration Description
96 color photos
Table of Contents

Preface
Vignette I. Marianne & Gertrude
Introduction. Austen on the Cheap
Vignette II. Emma at the Seaside
Chapter 1. Paperback Fighter: Austen for the People
Vignette III. The Old Sea Captain &

Preface
Vignette I. Marianne & Gertrude
Introduction. Austen on the Cheap
Vignette II. Emma at the Seaside
Chapter 1. Paperback Fighter: Austen for the People
Vignette III. The Old Sea Captain & William Price
Chapter 2. Sense, Sensibility, and Soap: Lever Promotions in the 1890s
Vignette IV. Charlotte & a Real Castle
Chapter 3. Looking Divine: Wrapping Austen in the Religious
Vignette V. Young Heman's Summer in Paris
Chapter 4. Selling with Paintings: A Curious History of the Cheap Prestige Reprint
Vignette VI. Lady Isabella's Mansfield Park
Chapter 5. Pinking Jane Austen: The Turn to "Chick Lit"
Vignette VII. Annie's Prized Gift
Coda
Acknowledgments
Notes
Selected Works Cited
Index

Author Bio
Janine Barchas
Featured Contributor

Janine Barchas

Janine Barchas is a professor of English at the University of Texas, Austin. She is the author of Graphic Design, Print Culture, and the Eighteenth-Century Novel and the creator of the What Jane Saw website: www.whatjanesaw.org.