Jane Austen was fascinated by theater from her childhood, but the myth remains that she was anti-theatrical. Contemporary film and television have shown how naturally dramatic her stories are. Penny Gay's book describes for the first time the rich theatrical context of Austen's writing, and the intersections between her novels and contemporary drama. Gay relates Austen's mature novels to the various genres of eighteenth-century drama--laughing comedy, sentimental comedy and tragedy, Gothic theatre, early melodrama. She demonstrates the complexity of Austen's analysis of the pervasive theatricality of her society.
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