You can read an excerpt from the new biography/cultural history Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World online at theage.com. The new book written by award-winning biograper and Oxford and Columbia University Professor Claire Harman traces the growth of Jane Austen’s fame starting with her first experiences as an author to her rise in world wide popularity in the 1990’s. The article entitled, For the Love Austen, focuses how “the acknowledged mother of the genre” influenced the modern romance novel.
The main reason, however, for Austen's mass popularity is the one from which critics tend to avert their eyes: the love stories. The Mills & Boon formula of girl meets boy, both meet obstacles but come together triumphantly in the end, owes its neatness and directness to Austen and her streamlining of the romance plot she inherited.
We all enjoy Austen for different reasons, but romance is a big one. When men claim they read Playboy for the articles, women can counter and say they read Austen for the historical references to the Napoleonic wars! ;-)
Jane's Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World is a must read for Janeites and available for purchase online at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.
Cheers, Laurel Ann, Austenprose