Jane Austen was never one for heroes and heroines. Her most beloved character, Elizabeth Bennet, is a decent pianist, but no prodigy; attractive, but not a beauty; more likely to crack a joke than heave a sigh. This series proposes that we see Jane Austen’s literary contemporaries in the same way that she saw her characters, with a special interest in the typical rather than the extraordinary. These writers, comfortably in the period’s mainstream, often show us more of Austen’s world – its tastes and trends, its debates and dogmas — than revolutionary greats like Wordsworth and Coleridge.
Forgotten Contemporaries of Jane Austen recovers some of the minor writers of Austen’s day. Each volume features a neglected work that is both worth reading on its own and directly relevant to Austen’s own writing. In addition to a richly annotated text, readers will find a wealth of critical resources that situate the work in relation to Austen’s life and career.
Volume 1: Bath. An Adumbration in Rhyme. A Critical Edition for Readers of Jane Austen. (out now!)