Halsey K (2020) Jane Austen And Her Publishers: Northanger Abbey and the Publishing Context of the Early Nineteenth Century. In: Poplawski P (ed.) Studying English Literature in Context: Critical Readings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
In this essay, I consider the publication context of Northanger Abbey, focussing in particular on the pressures exerted by the literary marketplace, and Austen’s alertness to it, on that novel. Beginning with a discussion of Austen’s interactions with the two publishing firms which failed to publish her works, Cadell & Davies and Crosby & Co, I then consider the changes in places, manners, books and opinions that occurred between the novel’s first conception in 1797-8, and its final publication in December of 1817. Placing Northanger Abbey’s literary allusions in the context of the changes in the literary marketplace through the three decades of its production, I suggest that some of the novel’s tonal oddities, and its relative unpopularity with its contemporary readers and reviewers are a direct result of Benjamin Crosby’s decision not to publish the novel then known as ‘Susan’ in 1803.
Output Status: Forthcoming