In Satire, Celebrity, and Politics in Jane Austen, exciting new discoveries reveal Austen’s opinions on the state of the nation, Captain Cook’s death, and women’s right to comment on politics, including the slave-trade, while allusions to celebrities demonstrate her worldliness, fascination with politics, and relish of rumor.
In Satire, Celebrity, and Politics in Jane Austen, Jocelyn Harris argues that Jane Austen was a satirist, a celebrity-watcher, and a keen political observer. In Mansfield Park, she appears to base Fanny Price on Fanny Burney, criticize the royal heir as unfit to rule, and expose Susan Burney’s cruel husband through Mr. Price. In Northanger Abbey, she satirizes the young Prince of Wales as the vulgar John Thorpe; in Persuasion, she attacks both the regent’s failure to retrench, and his dangerous desire to become another Sun King. For Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, Austen may draw on the actress Dorothy Jordan, mistress of the pro-slavery Duke of Clarence, while her West Indian heiress in Sanditon may allude to Sara Baartman, who was exhibited in Paris and London as “The Hottentot Venus,” and adopted as a test case by the abolitionists. Thoroughly researched and elegantly written, this new book by Jocelyn Harris contributes significantly to the growing literature about Austen’s worldiness by presenting a highly particularized web of facts, people, texts, and issues vital to her historical moment.
Chapter 1: “Ungossiping authority”: Fanny Burney, Cassandra Cooke, and Jane Austen
Chapter 2: “He swore and he drank”: Lieutenant Price and Lieutenant Phillips
Chapter 3: “Everybody is cross and teasing”: The Mansfield Theatricals
Chapter 4: “Censure in common use”: Women, Satire, and Politics
Chapter 5: “Carried home, dead drunk”: Satires on the Royal Family
Chapter 6: “Hair so untidy, so blowsy!” Elizabeth Bennet, Dorothy Jordan, and the Duke of
Chapter 7: “Half Mulatto, chilly & tender”: Sanditon, the Duke of Clarence, and Sara Baartman,
the “Hottentot Venus”
Conclusion Jane Austen’s Belated Celebrity
Appendix A: Mr. Joseph Nutting, Army Button Maker of Covent-Garden
Appendix B: The Woman of Colour and “Wowski”
Appendix C: Lady Caroline Lamb and Lord
About the Author