This volume of international research provides a wide-ranging account of Jane Austen's reception across the length and breadth of Europe, from Russia and Finland in the North to Italy and Spain in the South. In historical terms, the survey ranges from the near-contemporary - since Austen's novels were available in French very soon after their original publication - to modern times, in those countries which for various reasons, linguistic, historical or ideological, have taken up the novels only in recent years. For many, Austen's novels are valued for their romantic content, as love stories, but increasingly they are being perceived as sophisticated, ironic narratives. In this, the quality of translation has been a significant factor and the many film and television adaptations have played an important part in establishing Austen's reputation amongst the public at large. It will be seen from this that across Europe Austen's 'reception history' is far from uniform and has been shaped by a complex of extra-literary forces.
Anthony Mandal is Lecturer in English Literature at Cardiff University. Brian Southam is former Chairman of the Jane Austen Society. Among his many books are the two volumes of Jane Austen: The Critical Heritage (1968, 1987).