Introduction: Jane and Will, the Love Story

  • Marina Cano
  • Rosa García-Periago


Today William Shakespeare and Jane Austen are found everywhere: from fridge magnets and plastic dolls to university syllabi and academic papers. The present chapter explores the recurrent association in processes of reading, re-reading and re-invention that has made Austen and Shakespeare two staples of British literature. We begin by surveying how understandings of the connection between Austen and Shakespeare have evolved throughout history, how fragmentation and deformation of the authors’ works have contributed to their success and how, culturally, the two authors have come to collaborate with each other. We then outline the new contributions that each chapter makes, and conclude by pointing to the possible futures of what we have called the long-standing “love affair” between William Shakespeare and Jane Austen.

This chapter explores this type recurrent association in processes of reading and re-invention that has made of Austen and Shakespeare two staples of British literature. The study of these dynamics is the subject of our introduction, and of our whole collection. The introduction outlines the new contributions that each chapter makes. We interrogate why certain works by Shakespeare and Austen have drawn more scholarly attention than others in our collection, and why Austen scholars seem keener to study the connections between Austen and Shakespeare than do Shakespeare scholars. We also address the potential implications of these circumstances.


  1. Adams, Jennifer. Pride and Prejudice. Layton, Utah: BabyLit Series, Gibbs Smith, 2011.Google Scholar
  2. ———. Romeo and Juliet. Layton, Utah: BabyLit Series, Gibbs Smith, 2011.Google Scholar
  3. ———. Sense and Sensibility. Layton, Utah: BabyLit Series, Gibbs Smith, 2013.Google Scholar
  4. ———. Emma. Layton, Utah: BabyLit Series, Gibbs Smith, 2015.Google Scholar
  5. ———. A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Layton, Utah: BabyLit Series, Gibbs Smith, 2016.Google Scholar
  6. Atwood, Margaret. Hag-Seed: The Tempest Retold. London: Hogarth, 2016.Google Scholar
  7. Auerbach, Nina. ‘O Brave New World: Evolution and Revolution in Persuasion’. ELH 39 (1972): 112–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Barchas, Janine and Kristina Straub. ‘Curating Will & Jane’. Eighteenth Century Life 40.2 (April 2016): 1–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bates, Laura. Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard. Naperville, Illinois: Sourcebooks, 2013.Google Scholar
  10. Bloom, Harold. The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages. New York: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1994.Google Scholar
  11. ———. ‘Foreword’. In A Truth Universally Acknowledged: 33 Great Writers on Why We Read Jane Austen. Edited by Susannah Carson. New York: Random House, 2009, v–vi.Google Scholar
  12. Calvo, Clara. ‘Rewriting Lear’s Untender Daughter: Fanny Price as a Regency Cordelia in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park’. Shakespeare Survey 58 (2005): 83–94.Google Scholar
  13. Cano, Marina. Jane Austen and Performance. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cano, Marina and Rosa García-Periago. ‘Becoming Shakespeare and Jane Austen in Love: An Intertextual Dialogue between Two Biopics’. Persuasions On-Line 29 (2008).Google Scholar
  15. Carlyle, Thomas. Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History. London: John Fraser, 1841.Google Scholar
  16. ‘Celebrated Authoresses and their Works: III. Jane Austen’. The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine, 1 May 1878, 267–72.Google Scholar
  17. Chevalier, Tracy. New Boy. London: Hogarth, 2017.Google Scholar
  18. Derry, Stephen. ‘Jane Austen’s Use of Measure for Measure in Sense and Sensibility’. Persuasions 15 (1993): 37–41.Google Scholar
  19. ‘Finding and Training German Teachers’, The Scotsman, 11 Feb. 1946, 4.Google Scholar
  20. Folsom, Marcia McClintock. ‘Part of an Englishwoman’s Constitution: The Presence of Shakespeare in Mansfield Park’. Persuasions 28 (2006): 65–80.Google Scholar
  21. Ford, Susan Allen. ‘“Intimate by Instinct”: Mansfield Park and the Comedy of King Lear’. Persuasions 24 (2002): 177–97.Google Scholar
  22. Garber, Marjorie. Quotation Marks. New York and London: Routledge, 2003.Google Scholar
  23. Gay, Penny. Jane Austen and the Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.Google Scholar
  24. Harlan, Susan. ‘“Talking” and Reading Shakespeare in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park’. WC 39, 1–2 (Winter/Spring 2008): 43–6.Google Scholar
  25. Harris, Jocelyn. Jane Austen and the Art of Memory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hertz, Alan. ‘Dancing, Romeo and Juliet, and Pride and Prejudice’. Notes and Queries, ns 29 (1982): 206–8.Google Scholar
  27. Howells, W. D. ‘The Heroines’, 1900–1. In Jane Austen: The Critical Heritage, 1870–1940, vol. 2. Edited by B.C. Southam. London, New York: Routledge, 1987, 223–8.Google Scholar
  28. Hutchinson, Charles. ‘Shakespeare meets Jane Austen in Regency Staging of Two Noble Kinsmen’. [accessed 14 June 2018].
  29. Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA). ‘Memorial Book: Jane Austen 1775–1817’ (12 June 2017), [accessed 21 April 2018].
  30. ‘Jane Austen Statue Unveiled in Basingstoke’, BBC News, 18 July 2017, [accessed 22 April 2018].
  31. Johnson, Andrew. ‘Emma Thompson: How Jane Austen Saved me from Going Under’. The Independent (28 March 2010), [accessed 21 April 2018].
  32. Johnson, Claudia L. Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kubal, David. The Consoling Intelligence: Responses to Literary Modernism. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1982, 33–51.Google Scholar
  34. Lewes, G. H. ‘G. H. Lewes on Jane Austen: from “Recent Novels: French and English”’, December 1847. In Jane Austen: The Critical Heritage, 1870–1940, vol. 1. Edited by B.C. Southam. London, New York: Routledge, 1987, 137–8.Google Scholar
  35. Macaulay, Thomas. ‘Macaulay on Jane Austen: from “The Diary and Letters of Mme D’Arblay”’, January 1843. In Jane Austen: The Critical Heritage, 1870–1940, vol 1. Edited by B.C. Southam. London, New York: Routledge, 1987, 135–6.Google Scholar
  36. MacKaye, Percy. ‘To Jane Austen: An Open Letter’. In Emma: A Play. New York: Macmillan, 1941, vii–xiii.Google Scholar
  37. McDermid, Val. Northanger Abbey. London: The Borough Press, 2014.Google Scholar
  38. McMaster, Juliet. ‘Love and Pedagogy’. In Jane Austen Today. Edited by Joel Weinsheimer. Athens, Ga: University of Georgia Press, 1975.Google Scholar
  39. Murphy, Dervla. ‘In Search of Jane Austen’. The Irish Times, 20 January 1973, 10.Google Scholar
  40. Rampton, Roberta and Sarah Young, ‘Obama takes in Hamlet at the Globe on Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary’. Reuters, 23 April 2016, [accessed 21 April 2018].
  41. ‘Review of Pride and Prejudice’, Critical Review, 4th series (3 March 1813), 318-24.Google Scholar
  42. Sawer, Patrick. ‘New Portrait of William Shakespeare as ‘Flesh and Blood’ Man You Might See down the Pub’. The Telegraph, 21 February 2016, [accessed 22 April 2018].
  43. Simpson, Richard. ‘Jane Austen’. North British Review 52 (1870), 144.Google Scholar
  44. Spurgeon, C. F. E. ‘Jane Austen’ (Read 23 Feb. 1927). Essays by Divers Hands: Being the Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature. Edited by M.L. Woods. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press for the Society, 1928, 81–104.Google Scholar
  45. Stevens, Paul. ‘Hamlet, Henry VIII, and the Question of Religion’. In Shakespeare and Early Modern Religion. Edited by David Loewenstein and Michael Witmore. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014, 231–57.Google Scholar
  46. Summers, Rev Montague. ‘Jane Austen: an Appreciation. Centenary Lecture’ (Read 24 Oct. 1917), Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, second series, vol. XXXVI. London: Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press, 1918, 1–33.Google Scholar
  47. Trollope, Joanna. Sense and Sensibility. London: The Borough Press, 2013.Google Scholar
  48. ‘Your Shakespeare Stories: Featured Videos, #MySHX400 at the Folger’, Folger Shakespeare Library, [accessed 21 April 2018].
  49. Verderame, Michael. ‘Austen Unbound: Teaching Persuasion in Prison’, [accessed 11 June 2018]
  50. Wells, Juliette. Everybody’s Jane: Jane Austen in the Popular Imagination. New York: Continuum, 2012.Google Scholar
  51. Whately, Richard. ‘Whately on Jane Austen: Unsigned review of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion’, January 1821. In Jane Austen: The Critical Heritage, 1811–1870, vol. 1. Edited by B.C. Southam. London, New York: Routledge, 1979, 97–112.Google Scholar
  52. Wiltshire, John. Recreating Jane Austen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Winterson, Jeannette. The Gap of Time. London: Hogarth, 2016.Google Scholar
  54. Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One’s Own; and Three Guineas. Edited by Morag Shiach. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marina Cano
    • 1
  • Rosa García-Periago
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.University of LimerickLimerickIreland
  2. 2.University of MurciaMurciaSpain
  3. 3.Queen’s University BelfastBelfastUK

Personalised recommendations