Jane Austen and the Price of Happiness
Forthcoming in June 2024 with
Johns Hopkins University Press
I'm happy to announce that my new book, Jane Austen and the Price of Happiness, is coming out with Johns Hopkins University Press in June 2024! I'm delighted that I finally had a full sabbatical year and time to write a book solely on Austen. It is the first full-length study of Austen's endings--both in the novels and adaptations. It is also an extended rumination on her own relationship to the marriage plot.
Jane Austen and the Price of Happiness examines the ambivalence embedded in Jane Austen's 'happy endings,' arguing that the novelist was resisting platitudes about marriage and favoring a more discerning, individualized understanding of happiness. Brodey writes with verve and clarity and draws judiciously on Austen criticism. Her book is savvy and insightful.
―Paula Marantz Cohen, author of Talking Cure: An Essay on the Civilizing Power of Conversation
This accessible and lively book quizzes the seemingly tidy happily-ever-afters of Jane Austen's stories. Brodey's smart observations slide effortlessly back and forth between Austen's era and our own. Recommended for newly enlisted Janeites as well as perennial re-readers!
―Janine Barchas, author of The Lost Books of Jane Austen
In this thoughtful and lively exploration of Austen's novels and their afterlives, Brodey is the first to investigate how the books' dismissive endings are self-conscious innovations―both artful and instructive. Brodey's nuanced readings illuminate the Janeite universe, teaching us to see a more complex (if imperfect) felicity.
―Susan Ford, editor of Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal On-Line
From closely reading Jane Austen's marriage plots and their conclusions, Brodey radiates outward to consider literary antecedents, biographical contexts, and present-day adaptations. Never before have the social significances, emotional resonances, moral meanings, and philosophical underpinnings of Austen's notoriously problematic endings been so incisively explored and so convincingly explained.
―Peter W. Graham, author of Jane Austen & Charles Darwin, Naturalists and Novelists
Jane Austen and the Price of Happiness explores how her enduring novels offer both characters and readers alike far more than clichéd happy endings in marriage. By putting Austen's original plots and today's film adaptations in sparkling conversation, Brodey has given us a learned, allusive, provocative, and delightfully readable book.
―Devoney Looser, author of The Making of Jane Austen
Brodey shows that Jane Austen was that rare writer: a romantic novelist without romantic illusions. This is a subtle vindication of Austen's happy endings, demonstrating the artistry and tough-mindedness with which they are arranged. Like any really good book about Austen's fiction, it is also itself a delight to read.
―John Mullan, author of What Matters in Jane Austen? Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved