as enthusiastic and dedicated readers of Jane Austen’s works, the members of the Jane Austen Society of North America seek to be more informed about her novels, her life, and her times. It is the mission of Persuasions to bring you articles that open up Jane Austen’s novels, that explore the ideas of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and that bring to light facts about the Austen family.
Each essay included here in Persuasions On-Line Volume 24, No. 1 focuses in significant ways on the variety of critical approaches readers use to explore in depth not only Jane Austen’s works but the prevailing ideas of the time in which she lived. In her interdisciplinary essay “A New View of Austen’s Persuasion,” Lenore Macomber applies graphic and quantitative methods of inquiry to the study of the novel. Macomber dissects Persuasion and incorporates into her discussion some very complex graphic representations of the chapter patterns in the novel. In “The Creation of Rhetorical Conversation,” Tammy Powley focuses on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and on the novels of the Brontë sisters; she examines questions concerning why women in particular are drawn to the novel form. Michiko Soya, who has translated Lady Susan into Japanese, has now translated for publication here her article “Lady Susan: A Game of Capturing the Last Word from Lady Susan to Jane Austen, and Then . . . ” This article appeared first in Studies in English Literature, which is published by the English Literary Society of Japan. William Duckworth in “Comic Irony, the Follies of Janeites, and Hermeneutic Mastery” analyzes the critical methods used by some of the most popular Austen scholars. In “‘Such a dead silence’: Cultural Evil, Challenge, Deliberate Evil, and Metanoia in Mansfield Park,” Gracia Fay Ellwood offers an interdisciplinary analysis of the conception of evil. Along with a brief ethical and theological overview, Ellwood focuses on how subconscious evil permeates Mansfield Park. Finally, Barry Roth’s invaluable and informative “Jane Austen Works and Studies 2002” completes this issue.
The extended format of our website permits publication of papers whose topics—the structure of a novel, for example, or irony, or evil—demand space. We hope you enjoy the probing nature of these essays.
Before I sign off, I want to encourage our on-line readers either to renew their memberships or to become new members of the Jane Austen Society of North America. Join the Persuasions dialogue!