Jane Austen and Crime by Susannah Fullerton

Jane Austen’s elegant society novels are rife with crime and transgression—if you know where to look. In Jane Austen and Crime, Susannah Fullerton reveals layers of drama that could easily be invisible to modern readers. For instance, Harriet’s mortal terror at being accosted by gypsies in Emma is understandable when you know that, in Jane Austen’s time, speaking with gypsies for any reason was a hanging offense! Fullerton teases out the finer criminal subtext as well. If half the tea in Austen’s time was smuggled into England, for example, how much of all that tea that her characters were continually taking could possibly be legally obtained? Scandal! This handy guide to Austen’s shadowy side is required reading for any “Janeite.” (BB of Bas Bleu)

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