Caroline Criado-Perez reviews a new book about Jane Austen. It’s not about the sweet, quaint, diminutive lady that so many people think Austen was – as illustrated by the new banknote that CCP herself campaigned for but that she calls
yet another representation of Austen that fed the beast that enables presumably intelligent people to describe Austen with a straight face as “the 19th-century version of Barbara Cartland”.
A fluffy pink romance-writer Austen wasn’t.
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It is this beast that [Helena] Kelly tackles in a meticulously researched book that is, at its heart, a stern telling-off of us as readers. “We’re perfectly willing to accept that writers like Wordsworth were fully engaged with everything that was happening and to