Books: Jane Extended

THE WATSONS (318 pp.)—Jane Austen (and John Coates)—Crowell ($4).

"The true lovers of Jane Austen are those who do not advertise their devotion, but are content to whisper 'Dear Jane' as they pause at the grave in the ancient aisle of Winchester Cathedral." This remark (from the Concise Cambridge History of English Literature) shows precisely the position Jane Austen holds in English literature, for would anyone whisper "Dear Alfred" at Tennyson's grave or "Dear Charles" at Dickens'—still less be urged to do so by an academic history? The fact is that though no two "Janeites" can ever agree on what words to...

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