Cultural Icons and Cultural Leadership
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Cultural Icons and Cultural Leadership

Edited by Peter Iver Kaufman and Kristin M.S. Bezio

Contributions to this book probe the contexts–both social and spiritual–from which select iconic figures emerge and discover how to present themselves as innovators and cultural leaders as well as draw material into forms that subsequent generations consider innovative or emblematic. The overall import of the book is to locate producers of culture such as authors, poets, singers, and artists as leaders both in their respective genres and of culture and society more broadly through the influence exerted by their works.
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Chapter 2: Jane Austen bowls a googly: the juvenilia

Joseph Wiesenfarth


The second chapter focuses on the youthful works—the juvenilia—of Jane Austen, iconic novelist of society and manners in the long eighteenth century. It suggests that the young Austen’s literary work contains a radically critical attitude toward the prescriptiveness of her era. Austen’s Juvenilia contain extreme behaviors and suggestions, including murder, heresy, fraud and drunken debauchery. The chapter argues that this radical early content paves the way for Austen’s later novels and illustrates her unchanging penchant for rejecting a society she believed to be fundamentally irrational.

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