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Making Austen mad: Benjamin Crosby and the non-publication of 'Susan'

Mandal, Anthony 2006. Making Austen mad: Benjamin Crosby and the non-publication of 'Susan'. The Review of English Studies 57 (231) , pp. 507-525. 10.1093/res/hgl070

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In 1803, Jane Austen sold the copyright of Susan, a work that would later appear as Northanger Abbey, to the London firm Crosby and Co. The novel was never published by Crosby, leading to a brief but acrimonious exchange between author and publisher in 1809. Although this episode has been mentioned frequently by Austen scholars, little attention has been paid to Crosby and Co., resulting in a number of mistaken assumptions about both the firm itself and its reasons for not publishing Susan. Commentators have argued that Crosby and Co. was not particularly significant for its publication of fiction; however, it was actually the fourth most prolific publisher of novels during the 1800s, suggesting a reason for Austen's approach. Additionally, the general reason given for Crosby's not publishing Austen's Gothic satire is the firm's commitment to Gothic: in fact, the non-publication was owing to economic factors rather than generic concerns. Finally, Austen mysteriously left 6 years before contacting the firm, although it would seem that this is explicable by her problematical personal circumstances during the 1800s.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0034-6551
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 01:51

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