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A Reading of Jane Austen (first published by Peter Owen in 1975) has established itself with critics and readers as an outstanding contribution to the growing literature on this author, full of fresh and stimulating perceptions. Central to the work is Barbara Hardy's view of Jane Austen as the originator of the modern novel, largely through her creation of a new and flexible medium enabling her to move easily from sympathy to detachment, from one mind to many minds, from solitary scenes to social gatherings.
Barbara Hardy is a poet, autobiographer and novelist, as well as a critic whose books include three on George Eliot and three on Dickens. She is Emeritus Professor at Birkbeck, University of London, Honorary Professor of the University of Wales, Swansea, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the British Academy.