First published in 1984, John Hardy's important interpretation of Jane Austen's heroines breaks through the accepted tradition of viewing the author as merely a rational comedienne of manners. He argues instead that Jane Austen's greatness lies in her exploration of human relationships through the subtle and original portrayal of her heroines.
Jane Austen's heroines come to enjoy a distinctive relationship with the men they eventually marry. Between her lovers the potential exists for the kind of intimacy that leads to a shared privacy. Austen's recognition of this represents her special insight into what is of central importance in human relationships. Her belief that love and friendship are our only hope of triumphing over solitude, and the character and integrity of her heroines, are the major elements which make Jane Austen's novels so satisfying.
'Very thoughtfully and delicately done, with a refreshing lack of critical clichés … takes Austen criticism on several important steps' - Birmingham Post
'Illuminating' - Financial Times
'Hardy writes about Austen with feeling and understanding.' - Women's Review of Books
1. Catherine Morland 2. Elinor Dashwood 3. Elizabeth Bennet 4. Fanny Price 5. Emma Woodhouse 6. Anne Elliot