Coming upon the town: whores and fallen women in the works of Jane Austen

2019-06-12T08:05:45Z (GMT) by Jacqueline Green
This thesis contributes to the body of recent critical works which have sought to reinterpret the novels of Jane Austen, by restoring their historical context to reveal the breadth of her achievement. Demonstrating her awareness of illicit sexual behaviour during the Georgian era and showing that she weaves allusions to this pervasive aspect of her society throughout her works, it debunks claims that her novels are a product of rural isolation and that she was disengaged from the wider currents of her turbulent world. This thesis argues that Austen employs these references to engage with contemporary gender debates on the position of females within Georgian society, by showing that courtship could be a threatening arena within a hostile social structure that can lead a naïve, vulnerable woman to her downfall. [Continues.]