My book Jane Austen’s Men: Rewriting Masculinity in the Romantic Era (Routledge, 2020) explores how Jane Austen scrutinises, satirises, censures and ultimately rewrites masculinity in the socially, politically and culturally turbulent Romantic era.
Austen pioneers and celebrates a new vision of masculinity that could complement the Romantic desire for agency, individualism and selfhood embodied in her heroines.
Reviews for Jane Austen’s Men
“In Jane Austen’s Men: Rewriting Masculinity for the Romantic Era, Sarah Ailwood demolishes once and for all the notion that Jane Austen did not understand men. In this engaging, deeply perceptive book, she argues that Austen undertook the inherently risky task of re-creating a psychologically complex masculinity to complement women’s individual agency and subjectivity. Companionate marriage, in Austen’s reworking of the romantic courtship novel, looks both attractive and startlingly modern.”
– Jocelyn Harris, Professor Emerita, University of Otago
Jane Austen’s Men isn’t just about Austen – I also reveal in new ways the depth of her engagement with her predecessors and contemporaries, including Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane West and Jane Porter, on critical questions of masculinity and its relationship to femininity and narrative form.
Austen’s ambitions for the novel, and the political power of the courtship romance genre in the Romantic era, have secured her legacy in the 21st century.
My other writing on Jane Austen’s men:
Sarah Ailwood, “What are men to rocks and mountains?” Romanticism in Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice“, Persuasions On-Line 27(2) (2007)
Sarah Ailwood, ‘”Too much in the common Novel style”: Reforming Masculinities in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility‘, Women Constructing Men: Female Novelists and their Male Characters, ed. Sarah S. G. Frantz and Katharine Rennhak (Lexington: Lanham, Maryland, 2010) 67-82