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Sociability

Russell, Gillian

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The primary definition of sociability in the Oxford English Dictionary is 'the character or quality of being sociable, friendly disposition or intercourse'. Jane Austen's fiction represents one of the most sophisticated analyses we have of the elusive 'character or quality' of sociable human interaction - its joys as well as its pains. Yet the importance of this topic in her work, indeed how it is constitutive of her greatest achievement, has rarely been fore-grounded in Austen studies. The...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorRussell, Gillian
dc.contributor.editorEdward Copeland
dc.contributor.editorJuliet McMaster
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-10T22:34:54Z
dc.identifier.isbn9780521763080
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/56061
dc.description.abstractThe primary definition of sociability in the Oxford English Dictionary is 'the character or quality of being sociable, friendly disposition or intercourse'. Jane Austen's fiction represents one of the most sophisticated analyses we have of the elusive 'character or quality' of sociable human interaction - its joys as well as its pains. Yet the importance of this topic in her work, indeed how it is constitutive of her greatest achievement, has rarely been fore-grounded in Austen studies. The tendency has been to treat the many references to social activity in the novels, such as balls, visits, walks, shopping, concerts or theatricals, as part of the customs or pastimes of the age which the fiction merely reflects rather than deliberately analyses. This approach is apparent in R. W. Chapman's seminal edition with appendices on customs such as dancing, a practice of annotation which continues in some editions of the novels today. It is also evident in the numerous book and website guides to Austen's regency world which detail the niceties of Georgian social etiquette. The sense of the sociable rituals of Austen's fiction as reflecting a world which we in the twenty-first century have lost and wistfully hanker for is crucial to explorations of the contemporary cult of Austen in The Jane Austen Book Club or the television drama Lost in Austen. It manifests itself most strikingly in the current fashion for Austen regency balls, in which, like British and US civil war re-enactments, men and women dance out fantasies of 'becoming Jane' or Mr Darcy. Such occasions, taking place across the world, from Cheltenham to Canberra, register a nostalgic alienation from Jane's world and its irrevocable pastness.
dc.publisherCambridge University Press
dc.relation.ispartofThe Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen (2nd ed)
dc.relation.isversionof2nd Edition
dc.source.urihttp://www.worldcat.org/oclc/943398632
dc.titleSociability
dc.typeBook chapter
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
dc.date.issued2011
local.identifier.absfor200503 - British and Irish Literature
local.identifier.ariespublicationu9313329xPUB349
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationRussell, Gillian, College of Arts and Social Sciences, ANU
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage176
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage191
local.identifier.doi/10.1017/CCO9780521763080.012
local.identifier.absseo970120 - Expanding Knowledge in Languages, Communication and Culture
dc.date.updated2020-12-27T07:43:39Z
local.bibliographicCitation.placeofpublicationNew York, United States of America
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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