Home » Austen, Actresses and Accessories: Much Ado About Muffs by Laura Engel
Austen, Actresses and Accessories: Much Ado About Muffs Laura Engel

Austen, Actresses and Accessories: Much Ado About Muffs

Laura Engel

Published November 28th 2014
ISBN : 9781137427922
Hardcover
88 pages
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 About the Book 

When Jane Austen was a teenager in the late 1780s several portraits of well-known actresses holding muffs were painted by a variety of famous artists. Looking at these paintings along with satiric prints of muffs that appeared simultaneously in theMoreWhen Jane Austen was a teenager in the late 1780s several portraits of well-known actresses holding muffs were painted by a variety of famous artists. Looking at these paintings along with satiric prints of muffs that appeared simultaneously in the public realm, the author explores how the muff functions in these images as a sign of wealth and style and as a sign of crass accumulation and overt sexuality. Turning to Austen, she examines how this vexed cultural dynamic of female celebrity is reflected in Austens depictions of muffs in her novels. The final chapter considers James Stanier Clarkes unauthenticated sketch of Austen dressed in a stylish outfit and holding a muff. Austens connection to the muff is a provocative invitation to re-envision her awareness of actresses, celebrity culture, Regency style and accessories. Ultimately, this book demonstrates that traditional ways of imagining Austen may be vastly different from how she might have appeared to her contemporaries.