‘The Yawns of Lady Bertram’: Sleep, Subjectivity and Sociability in Jane Austen

  • Michael Greaney


This chapter considers the position of sleep in the work of the novelist of wakefulness par excellence. First, it explores the recurring disciplinary fantasy in Austen of a girl being sent to bed, banished from the world of adult sociability by an unsleeping patriarchal authority. Second, it examines the figure of the ‘sociable sleeper’ in Austen—the somnolent married and/or older person nodding complacently on the fringes of her social worlds whose slumber personifies a status quo that could scarcely be more at ease with itself. Both privileged and peripheral, the sociable sleeper can be understood as a paradoxical embodiment of the disembodiment of Austen’s narrator.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Greaney
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of English and Creative WritingLancaster UniversityLancasterUK

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