This full-length study of Lady Susan refutes the long-accepted, unchallenged critical view of this novella put forward by Austen scholars that largely deems the work to be unsatisfactory and marginal. Eschewing the idea that this novella is stylistically regressive, the study argues that Lady Susan was left unfinished for political and commercial reasons. This work Lady Susan establishes the co-centrality of Catherine Vernon with Lady Susan (hitherto, almost all accounts read every character other than Susan Vernon as 'supporting roles'), highlighting the clash of moral values that their interaction presents. And by establishing Susan and Catherine as figures representing Jacobin and anti-Jacobin ideals, respectively, it emphasises the broader political intent of Austen's novella, an essentially conservative call-to-arms against the social, moral and political threat facing traditional English society after the French Revolution.
Publisher: The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd