Screening Jane Austen: Austen, adaptation, and life at a distance
Before the 2020 global pandemic consigned Americans to their homes, the last thing I did in public was go to the movies. The film I chose was Autumn De Wilde’s Emma. (2020), a relatively faithful—if conspicuously stylized—adaptation of Jane Austen’s 1815 novel, which Janeites regularly hail as her masterpiece. On a weekday of my first ever faculty research leave and, after finishing a draft of a book introduction the day before, I was “rewarding” myself as academics often do with a leisure activity related to my field. During that afternoon showing in late winter, the theater seats were already socially distanced before this idea became a directive in everyday life. We in the audience put away our phones (no doubt some were trying to keep on top of the developing public health situation) and attended to the larger screen in front of us. Quiet and separated by several rows each, we were ready to view an adaptation of a novel concerned almost entirely with social relationships or perhaps even with the sociological, how people in proximity to one another behave, form institutions, and carry on historical memory and traumas.
Sociologists who witnessed us afternoon filmgoers participating in English Regency society through the flickering screen might have called the experience “parasocial.” By that I mean an experience in which you establish a (typically) one-sided, non-reciprocal relationship with a figure or group represented in media. [open endnotes in new window] The parasocial situation is an inorganic one, as viewers must select and curate their interactions with representations. Part of its appeal is the temporary suspension of the presence of the screen through which the interaction occurs, the momentary dissolving of mediating technology, a disintegration that allows the affective currents between viewer and virtual society to flow freely. Just before Emma. started, we were tethered to the small screens on our phones, operating them, I suspect, with some measure of intention; we were flipping between weather apps, news updates, and text messages. The big screen made things different. For a couple of hours at least, it suspended our reciprocal relation with these devices and absorbed us into Austen’s fictional village of Highbury and the lives of its inhabitants.
Yet, in anticipation of the parasocial moment, one that would temporarily melt away the walls of the theater, as soon as the film began I became aware of how many screens, media devices, and socializing technologies were implied within De Wilde’s adaptation. Austen’s “handsome, clever, and rich” heroine, Emma, as De Wilde interprets her, regularly gazes into mirrors—less a sign perhaps of narcissism than Emma’s overconfidence in her own perception, and she gazes out of windows where natural light illuminates her face like the perfect Instagram filter. In fact, social media seems to be one of the clearest design influences on the film. The result is that in a film/novel all about rumor, misapprehension, and little acts of provincial espionage, such references to the social media screen could be an example of what John L. Sullivan calls the “lateral surveillance” of Internet sociality, where friends and acquaintances look “out” to monitor one another, even as they fail to monitor “up,” checking the corporate power of the platform.
A first-time director, De Wilde already had a long career as an indie rock pop photographer, staging musicians and L.A. luminaries in eccentric “curated candids,” the very kind of image that proliferates across Twitter and Instagram. The actor Anya Taylor-Joy, who plays Emma with a doe-eyed insouciance, remarked that in our own age Emma "would make a perfect social media influencer.” Because she is, in Taylor-Joy’s words, a “dictator of taste,” Emma also defines the images of others, something literalized in the film’s treatment of a famous sequence in which Emma poses and draws a (comically average) portrait of her naïve friend Harriet Smith. And, in a moment only referenced briefly by Austen in the original text, De Wilde devotes a scene to the portrait’s ridiculous frame, one chosen by the smarmy Mr. Elton to flatter Emma. For a novel so concerned with people living in close vicinity to one another—and with their face-to-face interactions, however misinterpreted—De Wilde’s Emma is filled with objects that virtualize the subject and mediate it away from direct contact: still images, reflective screens of light, and the limiting borders of a frame.
I have thought about this adaptation regularly as a kind of harbinger for the screened, hypermediated socialization that has come to characterize the last few months. Many of our lives, professional and personal, now take place through a display of some kind, whether it’s the smartphone, computer monitor, or home theater. Given the fact that I regularly feature Austen in my courses—and since, along with many other things, Emma is itself about tutelage and guidance, of both the good and bad varieties—I have also considered De Wilde’s adaptation as a premonition of how we spend our time teaching now. True, there are no references to Zoom or collaborative “team” apps among the village gentry of the English Regency. But Austen’s novels feature countless scenes in which characters relate to and obsess over the mediations of others, their handwriting, portrait, or a circulating rumor. (And the rumor is one of the barest, oldest forms of media, in so far as the rumor-spreader acts as the medias, the mere middle layer of a communication.) The media object pervades Austen, as do scenes of subjects interpreting mere representations of others, trying to form social bonds at a distance. We might recognize all this evidence, but what might be pedagogical tactics that vivify it for students? How to show them that the novels are just as much about mediated interactions—relationships established across space through nineteenth-century aesthetic technologies—as they are about direct, human-to-human contact? How do we screen Jane Austen?
One obvious answer would be “have students watch the adaptations.” As De Wilde’s stylish film suggests, Austen films can be very self-referential about the media in which they’re conveyed. For example, Amy Heckerling’s Clueless (1995), the exuberant SoCal adaptation of Emma, is filled with references to film and television. At one point, Cher Horowitz—who embodies Emma as a 90s valley girl—attempts to seduce her classmate Christian by sharing a movie with him. (Christian brings over Spartacus  and Some Like it Hot , because he “ha[s] a thing for Tony Curtis,” an indication of his sexuality that Cher fails to notice.) Other adaptations highlight media objects that were more familiar to Austen herself, such as the print novel.The BBC’s 2007 version of Northanger Abbey features a pivotal scene in which two principle characters bond over their appreciation of Walter Scott and the scandalous Lord Byron. This moment gestures to one of the moral lessons in Austen’s original, the tenuousness of associations established through fiction and mutual fantasies.
But while these examples may highlight for students Austen’s relation to the media form—images, books, theatrical performance—they do not always convey that one-sided parasocial experience. Rather, they tend to show social bonds formed through media consumption, with the object acting as a conduit for socialization, not with media consumption, attachments to a thing that stand-in for another subject entirely. Put in the idiom of media studies, these examples from Austen may transmit a kind of parasociality more akin to broad fandom or fan-culture than, in the words of one scholar, the “presumed intimacy” that can arise between a person and the representation of another, distant subject, so-called “empty apparitions.” This is not always a bad thing. Students who are newer to Austen’s prose may need help recognizing how the novelist conveys the subtle drama of human relations in mere small talk or everyday encounters, in situations where closeness and familiarity and not distance are sources of tension and intrigue.
In the past, one of my Austen classroom activities highlighted the awkwardness of mass group socialization (prohibition #1 in a pandemic) under a strict regime of manners and etiquette. We’ll start by reading through a scene that takes place in a Regency ballroom or other large gathering space. While students point out the small details that advance the narrative or deepen a character, they tend to overlook the small, customary gestures and the routines of deference or authority. On first read-through, they find this conduct to be completely natural, just part of the fabric of the world displayed in the text. Then, I ask students to stand up and perform the scene. We’ll assign parts for dialogue, distribute props (the empire waist gown; the cards for the whist table), and I’ll read the narrator’s part as stage directions.
Grouped together in various cliques, obliged to shift their affect when encountering denizens of different economic classes, students begin to realize that Austen’s prose conveys a much different message about manners: how awkward and prohibiting they are. The idea, say, that women are obliged to play pianoforte in public upon request can thus strike them as simultaneously normal and, given the subtle revelations delivered by Austen’s prose when it is performed with other people, totally odd. With more advanced students, I’ll finish the activity by bringing up the late-eighteenth-century “war of ideas,” as literary critic Marilyn Butler puts it, in which Austen was forming her literary mind. For the novelist, manners are second nature, exchanges that according to Edmund Burke, bind society together. At the same time, Austen also interprets manners as strange impositions upon personal liberty, a critique that she may have derived from Mary Wollstonecraft.
This performance activity may be one way to “screen” Austen, to use a media form (in this case, impromptu theater) as a conduit for broader insight about the world represented in a novel. Moreover, as it recreates interactions in the quiet drawing room, raucous ball, or town garment shop, the activity may also double as a miniaturized experience of the formation of a public-sphere. And the idea of the public sphere, with its classic expression in late eighteenth-century forums and circulating material, has been critical to studies of the formation of literary publics, as well as the development of the media concept of the mass audience, whether it is considered the dangerous “crowd” or the rational “people.”
But such a lesson plan is unavailable right now. And because it does not speak to the isolation and virtual environments with which students are living, even if it could be done online, this activity seems unsuited to the moment. Given the prohibition on physicalizing a group or crowd—that social formation integral to the concept of media audience and enlightenment modernity—we seem better suited currently to emphasize the novel’s scenes of solitary aesthetic consumption or analysis, moments when characters find themselves alone and compelled by art or letters, especially if those objects signify another person. Despite our impression that Austen’s fiction is relentlessly crowded—known for the packed carriage ride or the awkward holiday party with super-extended family—examples of this quiet, “distanced” contemplation abound in her fiction.
One of the most prominent instances of a lone media encounter occurs in Pride and Prejudice (1813), when the heroine Elizabeth Bennet visits Pemberley, the familial manor of Mr. Darcy, with whom, at this point in the novel, Elizabeth has an ambivalent relationship at best. Elizabeth is touring the grounds in Darcy’s absence and comes across his portrait in a picture gallery (162). Like our desire to seek out friendly or appealing media forms, Elizabeth browses the hall with some intention, “in quest of the only face whose features would be known to her,” and yet, when she encounter’s Darcy’s portrait, it takes command, “fix[ing] his eyes upon herself” (162). The image prompts Elizabeth to spend “several minutes…in earnest contemplation” leading her to “a more gentle sensation towards the original, than she had ever felt in the height of their acquaintance” (162). Here, Darcy’s portrait reverses the circuit of intention, “arrest[ing]” Elizabeth who originally chose to stop and look.
It is notable that Austen’s language about the power of art seems to dovetail with Kant’s contemporaneous remarks on aesthetic things that convey “purposiveness without purpose.” But the scene also gestures to the experience of media parasociality, inasmuch as the material quality of the portrait fades when Elizabeth gazes at it, leaving behind “a gentle sensation,” or lingering affect that produces a social cohesion with Darcy’s invisible presence (162). (Admittedly, Elizabeth has been primed to view the portrait favorably by Darcy’s housekeeper, who calls him “the best landlord, and the best master” ).
The Pemberley gallery scene is also a critical part of the narrative. Occurring almost exactly at the halfway point of the novel, it is one of the pivotal moments where Elizabeth starts to reassess her feelings for Darcy and, by extension, to reimagine the patrician ideology for which he stands. Liberal-minded and irreverent, Elizabeth may be one of nineteenth-century literature’s paragons of women’s liberation, but in this moment she seems to internalize the tenets of a conservative worldview. In that perspective, surface appearance is an indication of moral goodness, the sensations a barometer for virtue, and noblesse oblige a community’s organizing principle. Here, Elizabeth’s virtual encounter with Darcy leads to her broadening ideological horizons she had hitherto never attempted, or even resisted.
Given the centrality of this scene to the novel—and the commentary it offers on the power of visual media to “arrest” the viewer and provoke different social feelings—it is useful to observe how screen adaptations have handled Elizabeth’s encounter with Darcy’s image. Joe Wright’s 2005 film includes the tour of the Pemberley gallery, but replaces Darcy’s portrait with a plaster bust. Although it seizes Elizabeth’s attention, the three-dimensional object is more lifelike and thus less akin to the “flat” representations that characterize our current virtual environments. Another striking difference from Austen’s original—in which Elizabeth takes a patient, sensible account of her feelings towards the portrait—is the scene’s amatory mood: Wright has Elizabeth make her way through a series of partial nudes before encountering the bust, which prompts a crescendo in the film’s score.
The 1995 BBC miniseries is more or less faithful to the text, but the arresting image of Darcy for which this adaptation is known was wholly invented. Just after the gallery tour, Darcy emerges from a lake on his grounds wearing only undergarments, a moment that has become a signal example of the inverted male gaze and something of a career highlight for Colin Firth, who played the romantic lead. If both adaptations include the portrait scene, they also seem to convey the encounter as a primarily intimate—even sensual—experience, instead of one that also enlarges Elizabeth’s social horizons and sense of moral “gratitude.”
There are a few ways we can get students to recognize the richer social feeling that Austen conveys in this scene and others. I suspect most wouldn’t have to be convinced that images can be targets of judgment and substitutes for interpersonal connection. The current popularity of apps such as Instagram and TikTok have shown younger social media users to be even more committed to navigating series of representations rather than text-based exchange, which is the major format for Facebook and Twitter, whose users now seem to skew older. Instead, the challenge may be to induce students to see the social media image—or the virtual persona or avatar—as a rich field of inquiry rather than as a consumable object or a momentary aesthetic stimulant. This isn’t to say that students don’t recognize social media’s profound impact on their lives, but they do not often consider how its influence is so pervasive that, like any institution, it seems to fade into the background of experience.
One approach would be to have them rewrite this scene using contemporary social media. Undergraduate members of a virtual Jane Austen class could be assigned roles—Darcy, Elizabeth, Darcy’s housekeeper, Mrs. Reynolds, and Elizabeth’s aunt and uncle, the Gardiners—akin to the original “manners” activity, where students perform one of the novel’s party sequences. After a classroom discussion about the relevance of the portrait in the novel and the idea of “socially distanced connection,” students could vote on the most appropriate digital space to represent the interaction, a detail that keeps the exercise current with online trends. While those who have taken on principal roles would create the visual content for their character—a virtual footprint of activities created through photos and video clips—others might be tasked with building each profile, either by setting up the principle accounts and adding key details, or by playing other, tertiary characters who respond in public or through private DMs and, thus, produce a backstory.
The space on which the assignment is developed would matter, too. Perhaps, because of the exclusivity and opulence of Darcy’s manor where the portrait encounter takes place, students would choose to situate his avatar behind a paywall or within a subscription site (for which the Gardiners had access). Additionally, students who ascertain the class registers of the various cliques in Austen’s world—the upwardly mobile professionals, landed gentry, and title-holders—would attach status to certain social media sites. Such an approach would be supported by the increasing capacity of these spaces to interface with one another—of course, not without the subtle indication of their original domains, another socioeconomic signal for which students would have to account.
Larger classes might expand the activity to include different scenes from the novel. Elizabeth’s careful parsing of Darcy’s letter could become an exercise in text-message scrutiny, with other friends weighing-in on the language and medium used to transmit them. The “off-screen” report of Mr. Bennet’s actions to track down his daughter Lydia—who has fled to Scotland to elope with the rakish Mr. Wickham—could be assembled through updates and peripheral sightings posted on various internet apps, as a chorus of voices weigh-in on their whereabouts. This activity enhance students’ awareness of the kind of Austenian codes of manners and behavioral norms that exist in today’s digital realms. In addition, their intentional construction of these exchanges could lead students to better theorize the process of judgment and public feeling that apply to their own social media engagements.
An advanced group of undergraduates allowed significantly more time could create their own Austen adaptations by filming these virtual encounters. Acting as a small film and television production, students could rewrite a scene and shoot it using a combination of live action and social media elements. I anticipate that, for today’s undergraduates, the synthesis of these two forms would be familiar. A bonanza of streaming shows created for young adults—such as Riverdale (2017-), American Vandal (2017-8), and On My Block (2018-)—have naturalized the use of Internet devices and applications, integrating them into the flow of narrative. Filming a social media adaptation of a scene from Austen would also mean reckoning with three “layers” of mediated interaction, three examples of personal connections made through aesthetic objects over 200 years. Students attend to the portraits, letters, and rumors in Austen’s novel, the image-based composition of film and television, and the complex lattice of information and iconography that comprise hypermedia.
One could even integrate this assignment into a graduate course, prompting grads to develop their pedagogy while familiarizing them with theoretical approaches to the novel, art and media, or the sociology of literature. Because of Austen’s applicability to literary periods and scholarly modes, college instructors often teach one of her novels in an undergraduate and graduate offering simultaneously. This presents a unique opportunity—even in a virtual setting—to have grad students advise and collaborate with undergrads on the same text. Each class could be arranged into units (perhaps “households” is the more appropriate Austenian term) comprised of several undergraduates and a grad adviser, who suggest adaptations of a scene’s subtle details, facilitate group interaction across digital platforms, and eventually situate their experience within a growing body of research on Austen and social networks. (I can imagine grads making cameos in the production as, say, town elders or important figures only referenced occasionally by the narrator.) The result is a shift away from the traditional TA discussion section and towards collaborative experience, one that reflects the expansive media environment through which today’s students access—and assess—culture.
For Austen scholars, whether they are new or experienced, this activity presents an opportunity to rethink the very concept of media and aesthetic encounter within the novels and broader life in the Regency. One way to begin linking the novels to what media scholars call the “common cultural currency” of spectatorship would be to revisit the long affiliation between Austen and the philosophy of sociality. In the novels, encounters with art objects—or experiences with art that creates some sort of social cohesion—have been considered generally through two theories related to the construction of public consciousness. These moments may indicate examples of cultural capital, or a character’s participation in a definitive aesthetic regime that signals their place in the social hierarchy. Or scholars may see them as gestures to Kantian disinterestedness, an ability to step outside of the self momentarily and render a universal judgment about the beautiful that will hold true for everyone—no small thing in Austen, given her use of free indirect discourse and its formal mesh of subjectivity, voices that often seem to be totally encased within their own perspective. Of course, various other approaches to art and spectatorship in Austen criticism are premised on historical contexts, like the concept of the picturesque, a ubiquitous style of composition and “mode of seeing” made popular in late-eighteenth-century essays and guidebooks or the fashionable practice of the gallery visit.
To exemplify these first two approaches—and a third one reflecting our contemporary media ecosystem—let’s return to the portrait scene in Emma. Just before Emma decides to draw Harriet—in the hopes that this will nurture the infatuation that Emma believes Mr. Elton has for her friend—she reflects on the “merit in every [one of her] drawing[s]” (27). Although she is self-aware enough to recognize that “her reputation for accomplishment [was] often higher than it deserved,” Emma realizes that her acquaintances will respond to all of her portraits optimistically. “A likeness pleases everybody,” says the narrator, adopting Emma’s inner perspective (27). Initially, this comment could be read as an indication of how Emma understands cultural capital. A skill practiced by “proper ladies,” painting and drawing demonstrated cultivated taste and were meant in part to please those whose approbation could mean acceptance into a certain class. However, because Emma is, for the most part, the chief arbiter of taste in her village, the comment is deliciously recursive, an indictment of the very structure of social classification: not even as the most admired arbiter of taste can she depart from the codes of judgment foisted upon her.
Another way of reading the comment is to see it as a Kantian gesture. This momentary suspension of personal self-interest leads Emma to recognize the universal judgment that art inspires, that likenesses “[please] everybody” (27). Again, such a reading may be undercut by other contextualizing remarks. Just before this axiom, Emma’s companions are said to be “in ecstasies” viewing her other work, not the kind of sober disinterestedness usually affiliated with Kantian judgment (27).
However, in light of her attempt to encourage “raptures for Harriet's face” through a portrait exchange with Mr. Elton, Emma’s commentary here could evoke a more contemporary interpretation of the media object as a parasocial device. Consider that, like the amorous miniatures occasionally carried by Austen’s characters, the portrait acts as a stand-in, or avatar, for Harriet. But, unlike those miniatures, the portrait does not validate any real bond between Mr. Elton and Harriet. On the contrary, Elton wants the portrait because Emma has created it. And because Emma is unaware of Mr. Elton’s “raptures” for her, his desire for the object she has created becomes a one-sided interaction, an unreciprocated connection to a content designer, one of the definitive qualities in contemporary parasocial relationships. In fact, Mr. Elton even offers to go to London to have the portrait framed, improving the hardware on which the image will be displayed.
In other words, Harriet’s image is not just a focal point for the misplaced intimacy that permeates the novel, but a representation of a virtual self that, when circulated among a public, encodes within it a range of possible outcomes, not least of which is the adoration for its creator, who, like the social media influencer, is a kind of village celebrity. Another analogy for Mr. Elton here would be someone who appreciates a film because of its director, not necessarily because of its technical or narrative qualities.The comment that “a likeness pleases everybody” could thus stand as Emma’s insight, however unintentional, that virtual personas—“likeness[es]” of faces—circulate among a public whose social ties are derived chiefly through mediating representations, the portrait, the letter, or the word game (27). That those devices do not guarantee a felicitous connection between creator and consumer has confirmed for some critics Austen’s place as a proto-linguistic philosopher, someone whose fiction dramatizes the misunderstandings and misplaced intentions that define so much human interaction. But it may also show her to be an early theorist of screen-based media and the bonds we form through them.
In her 2015 study on the affective connections that people make with their books, Deidre Lynch claims that the
“emergence of fictional literature bec[ame] available to readers first and foremost as private, passional persons, rather than as members of a rational, civic-minded public.”
Austen appears in Lynch’s argument as a central figure, someone whose characters (and whose own reading habits) reveal books to be personal, therapeutic items, quiet friends with whom one commiserates on the regular. However, as our moment makes all too clear, Austen additionally uncovers the social necessity of a whole range of silent media objects—from images, still or sequential, to virtual applications, those techne that may come to characterize adaptations of her novels in the twenty-first century. In so doing, Austen registers the intimacy that audiences continue to feel for mass cultural phenomena. Her novels inculcate “passable empathy for others,” even as objects of pop culture allure. As my afternoon escape to De Wilde’s Emma. confirms, our ardent dedication to the Austen industry continues to be one of the best illustrations of that modern experience. But, at times like these, the novelist also accounts for the vital and very public infrastructure built on these mediating platforms, the avatars and images that produce a world at a distance, in whose light we have all attempted to remain close.
1. See, for example, Christopher Rojeck, Presumed Intimacy: Parasocial Interaction in Media, Society and Celebrity Culture (Hoboken: Wiley, 2015), 1-22. Rojek calls parasocial interactions “relationships of presumed intimacy between media figures and network spectators” (13). In light of the massive expansion of communication technology in the 2000s, Rojeck expands the idea beyond its original purview, where “ordinary people” merely identified with “the lives of the famous and the glamorous” (16). See also Elizabeth M. Perse and Rebecca B. Rubin, “Attribution in Social and Parasocial Relationships,” Communication Research 16.1 (February 1989): 59-77; David Giles, “Parasocial Interaction: A Review of the Literature and a Model for Future Research,” Media Psychology 4.3 (August 2002): 279-305.
Mass media parasociality is more often affiliated with television, its regular, serialized medium providing viewers better opportunity to build relationships with representations. See, for example, Rubin, A. M., Perse, E. M., & Powell, R. A.. “Loneliness, Para-Social interaction, and Local Television News Viewing,” Human Communication Research 12.2 (…1985): 155–180; Edward Schiappa, Mike Allen, and Peter Gregg, “Parasocial Relationships and Television: A Meta-Analysis of the Effects,” In Mass Media Effects Research: Advances Through Meta-Analysis, Raymond W. Preiss, Barbara Mae Gayle, Nancy Burrell, Mike Allen, and Jennings Bryant (eds) (London: Routledge, 2007): 301–314. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers. [return to text]
2. All citations of Austen’s novels derive from Jane Austen, Emma (New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 2000); Pride and Prejudice (New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 2001).
3. See John L. Sullivan, Media Audiences: Effects, Users, Institutions, and Power (Newbury Park: Sage Publications), 231-2.
4. Taylor-Joy is quoted in Vincent Dowd, "Why Austen's Emma would be 'queen of social media,'" BBC News (February 14, 2020), https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-51458345.
6. Clueless, directed by Amy Heckerling (1995; Los Angeles, CA: Paramount Pictures).
7. Northanger Abbey, directed by Jon Jones (2007; London, UK: ITV Studios).
8. There is an ongoing debate as to whether true parasocial exchanges can include instances with a likelihood of reciprocation (in which case, some researchers say, the interaction is not really parasocial, merely “distanced”). However, with the current dominance of social media—and the way it can license regular communications between celebrities and their fans through comments and recorded messages—the lines here are blurry. Rojeck notes that this uncertainty about the protocol for reciprocal exchanges is a paradigmatic condition of late liberal society:
“Consecutive to the autonomy to act however I please, so long as it does not damage the interests and wellbeing of others, is now a freedom to record the intention of others to communicate with me without my taking any action whatsoever to reciprocate” (8).
9. For the distinct sociality of fan culture, see Andy Ruddock, Understanding Audiences: Theory and Method (Newbury Park: Sage Publications), 155-6.For the “presumed intimacy” of people towards “empty apparitions,” see Rojeck 1-3.
10. Marilyn Butler, Jane Austen and the War of Ideas (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975).
11. Beyond Habermas’s classic definition, for consideration of the “enlightened” public sphere as a circulating media environment, see Clifford Siskin and William Warner (eds.), This is Enlightenment (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010), esp. 1-36. On the social and political differentiation between the audience as “crowd” or the audience as “people,” see Sullivan 14.
12. See Janice A. Radway, Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991). In her study of the reading audiences of romance novels, Radway claims that readers of Austen participated in a similar act of solitary consumption to the novelist’s characters—because the novels were difficult, contemporary women readers “could read her only…if they were alone” (197).
13. Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment, trans. J.H. Bernard (Mineola: Dover Publications Inc., 2012), 46-54.
14. Pride and Prejudice, directed by Joe Wright( 2005; Paris: StudioCanal).
15. Pride and Prejudice, directed by Simon Langton (1995; London, UK: BBC1). Caption citation from Jillian Heydt-Stevenson, "‘Slipping into the Ha-Ha’": Bawdy Humor and Body Politics in Jane Austen's Novels,” Nineteenth-Century Literature 55.3 (December 2000): 309-39.
16. Riverdale, created by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (2017-; Los Angeles, CA: Warner Bros. Television); American Vandal, created by Dan Perrault and Tony Yacenda (2017-8; Los Gatos, CA: Netflix); On My Block, created by Lauren Lungerich, Eddie Gonzalez, and Jeremy Haft (2018-; Los Gatos, CA: Netflix).
17. See Stephanie Russo, “Austen Approved: Pemberley Digital and the Transmedia Commodification of Jane Austen,” Women’s Writing 25.4 (August 2018): 512-24; Misty Krueger, “Handles, Hashtags, and Austen Social Media,” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 61.4 (Winter 2019), 378-96; Alexandra Samuel, “Is Jane Austen the Antidote to Social Media Overload?” JSTOR Daily (January 21, 2020), https://daily.jstor.org/is-jane-austen-the-antidote-to-social-media-overload/. For a discussion of “The Republic of Pemberly,” one of the original Austen community websites, see Judy Simons, “Jane Austen and Popular Culture,” A Companion to Jane Austen, eds. Claudia L. Johnson and Clara Tuite (West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 471-2.
18. Ruddock 8.
19. On the relationship between Austen and Regency-era visual culture, see Jeffrey Nigro, “Visualizing Jane Austen and Jane Austen Visualizing,” Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal Online 29.1 (Winter 2008), http://jasna.org/persuasions/on-line/vol29no1/nigro.html?; “Reading Portraits at Pemberley,” Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal Online 34.1 (Winter 2013), http://jasna.org/persuasions/on-line/vol34no1/nigro.html?. For the subsequent depictions of Austen and her novels, see Devoney Looser’s initial section “Jane Austen, Illustrated” in her The Making of Jane Austen (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2017), 13-74.
20. Caption citation from Claudia L. Johnson, “Emma: ‘Woman, Lovely Woman, Reigns Alone,” in Emma, ed. Stephen M. Parrish (New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 2000): 400-13.
21. For the relationship between Austen and linguistic philosophy (especially pragmatics and “felicitous” communication), see Stanley Cavell, Philosophy the Day After Tomorrow (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2005), 111-91; Candace Nolan-Grant, “Jane Austen's Speech Acts and Language-Based Societies,” S.E.L. 49.4 (Autumn 2009): 863-78; Eric Lindstrom, “Austen and Austin,” European Romantic Review 22.4 (July 2011): 501-20.
22. Deidre Shauna Lynch, Loving Literature: A Cultural History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015), 6-7.
23. Rojeck 2.