Jane Austen, Sex, and Romance

Jane Austen, Sex, and Romance

Engaging with Desire in the Novels and Beyond


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Are Jane Austen's novels sexy? For many Austen lovers, the answer is a resounding "Yes!" From the moment Colin Firth stripped down to his breeches and shirt in the 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice, screen adaptations inspired by Austen's novels have banked on their ability to depict sexual tension and romantic desire. Meanwhile, the success of spin-offs, sequels, and elaborations confirms that Austen's novels have become a potent aphrodisiac for everyday readers. Clearly, the fourteen million viewers who watched Firth's unveiling were onto something: Austen's novels turn people on.

Jane Austen, Sex, and Romance: Engaging with Desire in the Novels and Beyond brings together a range of voices-from literary scholars to video game designers-to explore how different types of readers experience the realm of desire and the erotic in all things Austen. In this timely collection, writers, critics, journalists, and authors of internet content weigh in on sex and romance in Austen's works and in the conversations and creations the novels inspire-from sequels to critical analyses to online role-playing games. Contributors examine what is at stake for each set of Austen enthusiasts when Eros is added to the equation, in so doing building on the long tradition of Austen criticism and enriching our appreciation of the novels.