From Library Journal
Austen is occasionally criticized for being unconscious of the social history and politics of her own times. MacDonagh ably demonstrates the contrary; in fact, Austen's writings may themselves be used as historical illustrations for Georgian and Regency England. He discusses religion, economics, education, family life, and county society within the framework of Austen's life and writings as well as contemporary British history and politics. His bibliographical references are especially useful. MacDonagh is a historian, retired from Australian National University in Canberra, and the author of several works on British and Irish history, including the well-received two-volume biography of Daniel O'Connell ( The Hereditary Bondsman , St. Martin's, 1988, and The Emancipist , St. Martin's, 1989); he is also an avowed Austenite, who quotes as readily from Lady Susan as from Mansfield Park . This book should interest both students of English social history and students of Austen.- Mary Margaret Benson, Linfield Coll. Lib., McMinnville, Ore.
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