Persuasions #18, 1996                                                                                                                                            Pages 159-170


Jane Austen “Responds” to the Men’s Movement



Department of English, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN


In light of Austen’s popularity today, it seems crucial to discuss her relevance to our own lives.  There is a well-established critical tradition for doing so through the interpretive lens of the women’s movement, which has brought us rich understanding of Austen’s texts.  Many of us are comfortable with and accustomed to hearing feminism discussed in relation to the novels, despite the fact Austen’s life had been over for more than forty years before the term “feminism” came into common parlance.  Much has been made of Jane Austen’s female characters in the last decades, and these portraits quite frequently clash.  Austen’s Emmas, Elizabeths, and Elinors have been labeled sneaky feminists, unapologetic elitists, covert lesbians, and blissful heterosexuals.  Austen’s women may be attractive to many today for their ability to represent a kind of exemplary femininity.  Austen’s female heroines retain propriety without prudery.  They exhibit independence without the accompanying stridency that many—even after the second wave of the women’s movement—find so downright unfeminine.  Austen’s women would seem to offer even skeptics of feminism a palatable cultural compromise between doormat and feminazi: Elinor, Emma, and Elizabeth (not to mention Catherine, Anne, and Fanny) are women who can say “no” and mean it but who will—it can be counted on—at one time or another say “yes.”

If Austen’s women strike a chord with some for their ability to reconcile the contradictions of being strong-willed and interesting while participating in self-effacing courtship rituals, what of Austen’s men?  If feminism has broadened our insights into women’s rights and roles in Austen’s novels, what of the men’s movement?  A great deal less scholarly work has been done to assimilate that more recent gender studies movement into Austen’s milieu.  How would Austen’s men measure up as precursors to today’s “New Man”?  Can Austen’s heroes be said to recognize and struggle against stereotypically masculine behaviors, then or now?  Or are they to be considered well within the mainstream of male behavior in Austen’s day or in our own?  Readers and critics have measured Austen’s heroines for their negotiation of traditional female roles or for their degrees of “feminism.”  I would like to evaluate Austen’s heroes in light of new theories of masculinity.  Asking how Austen might have viewed her own productions in light of today’s men’s movement helps us to speculate about what her men might mean to today’s newfound audiences.

We have tended to think of Austen’s novels as female-centered, and certainly the women characters (especially the heroines) get and keep our attention much more readily.  However, Austen uses male-associated words far more often than female-associated ones in her prose (De Rose and McGuire).  Men, man, and gentleman (and their variations) are used with twice the frequency of equivalent female terms.1  Men are very much at the center of Austen’s prose.  It is surprising, then, that her men have not received more scholarly attention, though Austen has in no way been singled out for that critical oversight.  It is simply that, until recently, fictional men were not seen as terribly worthy of comment for their maleness.  That factor was usually left to speak for itself, until the study of men (that is, the self-conscious study of masculinities, the study of men as men) came to the critical fore with the emergence of men’s studies (August xiv).2

Most men’s studies scholarship to date has focused on contemporary rather than historical masculinities.  The use of the term “masculinities” in men’s studies signals “the widespread conviction that gender roles are constructed, at least in part, by cultures” (August xviii).  The plural form suggests that the term is a dynamic one, and that “rather than there being one, commonly accepted view of masculinity in any country, there are many different masculinities” (Harris 181).3  Some studies have suggested that the changes in masculinities we now face are merely a shift from “old” to “new” behaviors.  Traditional, patriarchal, or “classical” male roles, which have been “characterized by physical strength, impulsive behavior, display of angry emotions, and strong male bonding,” are competing with newer ideologies of masculinity that would replace these qualities with “intellectual and interpersonal skills, emotional intimacy with women, prohibition of anger, rational control of behavior, and weak male bonding” (Harris 19).  This divide, while it rings true today, rides roughshod over historical change.  We must, along with Michael Roper and John Tosh, agree that “masculinity has a history: that it is subject to change and varied in its forms” (1).  As Roper and Tosh note, “Making men visible as gendered subjects has major implications for all the historian’s established themes: for family, labour, and business, class and national identities, religion, [and] education” (1).  This is true for “imagined and lived masculine identities” (Roper and Tosh 19).

Those who have studied Western masculinities as historically constructed have seen the modern gender order as one that has arisen in the last four centuries, from the Renaissance and its increasingly secular societies to the rise of capitalism and industrialism—both of which brought great changes to men’s and women’s roles and self-understandings.  The emphasis on the conjugal household, new cultural concepts of autonomous selfhood, the growth of cities, and the creation of overseas empires all served to bring about changes in masculinities (Connell 186-87).  R. W. Connell notes that:


With the eighteenth century, in seaboard Europe and North America at least, we can speak of a gender order in which masculinity in the modern sense—gendered individual character, defined through an opposition with femininity and institutionalized in economy and state—had been produced and stabilized.  For this period we can even define a hegemonic type of masculinity and describe some of its relations to subordinated and marginalized forms.  (189)


This hegemonic (or dominant) type, according to Connell, is best labeled “gentry masculinity,” which he deems emphatic, violent, and closely integrated with the state.  The duel serves as one of gentry masculinity’s key tests.  This masculinity involved a brutal relationship with the agricultural workforce and included domestic authority over women, though, as Connell notes, “the women were actively involved in making and maintaining the network of alliances that tied the gentry together—the strategies lovingly dissected in Jane Austen’s novels” (191).

Given Connell’s reference to Austen, it would seem that she was indeed central to the examination of—if not also the formation of—modern masculinities.  But Austen’s association with these behaviors does not necessarily reflect well on her or on the influence of her writings.  If Connell is right, Austen would seem to be part of the problem.  She would be one of the cultural forces that allowed violent and brutal gentry masculinities to flourish by making them appear elegant and appealing.  This version of Austen, despite her best intentions, would hardly seem palatable today to anyone but the Promise Keepers.

It may serve us well, however, to spend some more time looking at the groundbreaking recent work interrogating masculinities in Austen’s writings, before handing her over to the religious right.  Those of you who attended JASNA ’94 in New Orleans may have heard Joseph Kestner’s fine essay “Jane Austen: Revolutionizing Masculinities.”  In that talk, later published in Persuasions, he argues that Austen constructed “a new masculinity to correspond with the new politics of revolutionary and post-revolutionary Britain” (147).  Calling this a “new valence of significance” for Austen’s novels, Kestner outlines how Austen refashioned masculine discourses by setting up her male characters along an English versus French continuum of maleness.  The reason for this dichotomy was, as Kestner sees it, the “trauma of the revolutionary and Napoleonic wars” (Kestner 151).  The “French” version of manhood, typified by characters such as Frank Churchill, shows men to be “self-indulgent, scheming, and lascivious” (Kestner 157).  These less-than-ideal male characters are “enervated [and] desiccated” (Kestner 158), or “trifling [and] silly” (Kestner 149)—in other words, French aristocratic fops.  The ideal Englishman whom Austen opposes to the faulty version is “a man of sense” (Kestner 149), who is “daring, physical, and arduous,” in some cases associated with the Navy, and overwhelmingly influenced by the models of Admiral Horatio Nelson or St. George, according to Kestner.  Kestner uses Emma, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion to make his argument for Austen’s “crucial ... construction of ... a new masculinity in a nationalistic context” (158).

Like Kestner, Claudia Johnson argues in the afterword to her 1995 book, Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender, and Sentimentality in the 1790s, that Austen “remakes English manhood.”  In what we might wish were a longer and much more comprehensive argument about Austen’s writings, Johnson writes that Austen diminishes “the authority of male sentimentality” (191), typified by Edmund Burke’s tearful written effusions over the splendor of Marie Antoinette.  Johnson’s argument about Austen focuses on just one novel, Emma, to show that the text makes Burke’s sentiments seem “archaic” and “a joke” (199) rather than manly, as they formerly have been seen.  Johnson concentrates on Emma Woodhouse’s appropriation of traditionally masculine qualities, suggesting, “Where [the novel Emma] is concerned with gender transgression, it is from the masculine, not the feminine side” (196).  According to Johnson, courtly behaviors like gallantry, sensitivity, and civility are not given much respect in that novel, as we might conclude from the characterization of Mr. Woodhouse, whose “sensitivity, tenderness, ‘benevolent nerves,’ allegiance to the good old ways, courtesies to the fair sex, endearing irrationality, and even slowness, frailty, and ineptitude itself” are fondly indulged but hardly revered (199).

Mr. Woodhouse’s version of manhood is being phased out, and being “humane” with a virtue that is neither sentimentalized nor sexualized gains approbation for men and women alike, Johnson argues.  George Knightley is described as “not a gallant man, but ... a humane one” (qtd. in Johnson 200).  For Johnson, like Kestner, Austen revolutionizes masculinity against the cultural influences of the French revolution, “redefining English manhood instead as brisk, energetic, downright, ‘natural,’ unaffected, reserved, businesslike, plain-speaking; gentlemanly ... but not courtly” (201-02).  Johnson sees Knightley as to some degree a “new man,” but she also argues that Austen returns to masculinities available before the vogue of male sentimentality in the 1790s in order to create her seemingly “new” versions of English manhood.  According to Johnson, Austen’s “old-fashioned” masculinity becomes new-fangled when it is taken up by Emma, showing us that both men’s effeminacy and women’s femininity are shown to be in need of remaking (202).

Johnson and Kestner give us important hypotheses to build upon and to test in Austen’s writings.  Despite their insights, however, there remains a great deal of work to be done on the subject of Austen and masculinities.  Johnson’s theories about Emma’s usurpation of masculinity and Johnson’s and Kestner’s views about French versus English masculine stereotypes are certain to be pushed further.  Their arguments may or may not be borne out in all of Austen’s writings.  Austen, seen in the context of other contemporary writers, may or may not be deemed “revolutionary” (or politically progressive) in her depiction of masculinities.  As my earlier discussion of R. W. Connell’s work suggested, established scholars in men’s studies have disagreed with Johnson’s and Kestner’s arguments about Austen’s revolutionary qualities when it comes to manhood, seeing the Enlightenment as an era when masculinities shifted, largely for the worse, and seeing Austen as kowtowing to rather than struggling against that shift.

Victor Seidler, for one, has argued that the eighteenth century was a decisive period in the formation of modern masculinities, viewing this as the time when men learned “to disparage their ‘inclinations’ and to act from the inner voice of reason” which allowed them to become “estranged from experience and invisible from themselves” (Roper and Tosh 6-7; see Seidler 14-21).  It has been argued that the Enlightenment was a time when “Reason and Feeling were pulled asunder in a way which had baneful consequences for both men and women” (Roper and Tosh 6-7; see Seidler 14-21).  Interpreted in this way, the qualities Austen often celebrates in her male and female characters—their sense and reason—might not be judged particularly laudable.  If we agree with the likes of Seidler, Austen’s “revolution” in masculinities was not a terribly helpful change, when seen from the vantage point of the late twentieth century, as it led to men’s alienation from their own feelings and to a lack of self-knowledge.

It is also possible that Austen may not have contributed to any sort of “revolution” in masculinities at all—progressive or regressive.  It is possible that she merely followed the masculine status quo in creating her heroes.  As Susan Morgan and Susan Kneedler have argued, “Until all, or even a few, of us manage to process all the cultural facets of Austen’s cultural context, our approaches to her work must be limited to those aspects of her world we try to reconstruct it from” (19).  Reconstructions of masculinity in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century are at such a fledgling state that the best we can hope for is “partial truths” (Morgan and Kneedler 19).  Many men’s studies scholars view the Victorian era as a far more important moment than the Romantic, as extensive shifts in masculinities occurred later in the nineteenth century (Roper and Tosh 3).  But even if we agree that the Victorian period provided what would become the most “modern” versions of manhood, isn’t it possible that Austen, who has been so influential in our histories of women, is also an important voice in the histories of men, masculinities, and the novel?  I do not have an authoritative answer to this question, but I would suggest that “All signs point to yes,” particularly when we consider the outcome: Austen’s re-emergence on the cultural scene today.

Speculations abound about the ideological forces that have propelled today’s Austen phenomenon.  Perhaps we should respond to these theories as one contributor to the Internet discussion group AUSTEN-L did, arguing that “You don’t have to be running or recoiling from something else to feel delight upon discovering Jane Austen” (Karen P. n. pag.).  Surely, however, we can believe in Austen’s near universal ability to delight, while also recognizing that there is something culturally significant about Austen’s status today as someone “hotter than Quentin Tarantino” (Amis 31) or as “a literary supermodel” and “Girl of the Year” (O’Hagan 2)?

In her article, “Look out Michael Crichton: Jane Austen is Becoming Filmdom’s Favorite Novelist,” Laura Miller quotes at length from Austen’s Persuasion.  The section that Miller marks out as being worthy of note is Austen’s description of Frederick Wentworth, where his character is detailed as “steady, observant, moderate, candid; never run away with by spirits or selfishness which fancied itself strong feeling; and yet, with a sensibility to what was amiable and lovely, and a value for all the felicities of domestic life” (n. pag.).  Miller concludes that with this description, Austen “dares us to find [Wentworth’s] equal in our own public and private spheres” (n. pag.).  Where is this equal, Miller asks?  Can we find the legacy of Wentworth in “Bill Clinton? Ross Perot? Brad Pitt? Kurt Cobain?” (n. pag.).  Like it or not, Austen’s men are now in the public eye, and we should not be surprised if her characters are being used by men and by women to measure today’s models of manhood.

We should also not be surprised if the men’s movement is impinging on our expectations of Austen’s heroes.  What qualities of behaviors do we value in Austen’s heroes, and how do these mesh with our sense of today’s ideal man?  Are Austen’s heroes appealing because they are in some sense “new” to us; because they harken back to older versions of masculinity; or because they are—like her women—some sort of hybrid of the two?  In other words, do Austen’s men strike a chord in our own day, similar to the process that Johnson outlines for the 1790s?  How would Jane Austen respond to the men’s movement?

Important places to turn for evidence to answer these questions are the recent stage and screen adaptations of Austen’s novels.  I’d like to focus on the novel and film versions of Sense and Sensibility and their men. The new versions of masculinity in the film adaptation alone provide ample material to illustrate how today’s Austenian heroes have (or have not) been influenced by the political contributions of the men’s movement, but interanimating these portrayals with those in the novel allows us to draw some interesting conclusions.

Many aspects of Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility deserve comment, but Hugh Grant’s Edward Ferrars presents us with some significant changes from the original.  I’m sure many of you have varying opinions about Grant’s suitability for that role, as well as his execution of it.  Emma Thompson claims in the diaries she kept during the filming of Sense and Sensibility that someone from the Jane Austen Society phoned to complain to the production company that Grant was too good looking to play Edward (244).4  Grant got a rave review from Time (Schickel 72) and was vilified in The New Yorker (Rafferty 126).  I am less interested in Grant’s abilities as an actor, however, than in the changes in the role itself.

One of the most striking changes from novel to film is Edward’s frequently displayed love for children.  Edward’s filmic relationship with Elinor’s younger sister, Margaret, is a completely new addition, in no way hinted at by the novel.  In the film version, Edward discovers Margaret hiding under a table in the library with her atlas in tow.  Edward shows Elinor to the spot, and he coaxes Margaret out from under her table with his bogus query about whether or not the Nile is located in South America.  As the screenplay notes tell us, in this scene between Edward and Margaret, “a connection [is] made” (Thompson 44).  According to Elinor, Margaret is “a changed girl” since Edward Ferrars’ arrival (Thompson 45).  We later see Edward fencing with Margaret in the yard, and it is Margaret who serves as the pretense for Edward’s would-be journey to Barton Cottage.  He tells Margaret that he will bring her the atlas when he comes to visit the family.  When the atlas arrives without Edward, we know there is trouble for Edward and Elinor’s romance.

Men’s love of children is very much at issue in general in the film.  Brandon, too, wins Margaret over upon first meeting her.  The screenplay notes that “Colonel Brandon knows what Margaret wants to hear” when he tells her that in the East Indies, “The air is full of spices” (Thompson 72).  As Margaret was to have said, “I like Colonel Brandon, too.  He’s been to places” (Thompson 74).  Further evidence of Brandon’s parental inclinations is found in the story of Brandon’s ward “Beth” (renamed from the Eliza of the novel).  In a scene that was eventually cut from the film, Brandon visited the squalid flat where Beth was staying in London, only to discover her pregnant with Willoughby’s child.  This scene, though a new addition to the story, is implicit in the novel.  Its being retained in the film version would have furthered the portrait of Brandon as a parental figure.  Finally, evidence of Brandon’s nurturing (and arguably parental) qualities can be found in his attentions to Marianne on her sickbed and during her recovery.  In the novel Brandon is certainly present during Marianne’s fever, but Mrs. Jennings seems much closer to the action; Brandon hovers with propriety in the background.  In the film Brandon hovers, but he has enough contact with Marianne for her to express her thanks to him.  This moment marks the beginning of their filmic courtship.

Not all of the film’s or the novel’s commentary on male nurturing is positive, of course.  Mr. Palmer provides a case in point.  Though he is shown to have other redeeming qualities in the film, Mr. Palmer’s awkward holding of his son, Thomas, serves as evidence that his curmudgeonly masculinity is far from ideal.  This scene also has its origins in the novel, where the narrator tells us that:


Mr. Palmer maintained the common, but unfatherly opinion among his sex, of all infants being alike; and though [Mrs. Palmer] could plainly perceive at different times, the most striking resemblance between this baby and every one of his relations on both sides, there was no convincing his father of it; no persuading him to believe that it was not exactly like every other baby of the same age; nor could he even be brought to acknowledge the simple proposition of its being the finest child in the world.  (248)


Though this section is clearly a vehicle to establish once again Charlotte Palmer’s silly, motherly hubris and cant, it also shows us Mr. Palmer as “unfatherly” and as representative of his sex in the opinion that all infants are alike—an opinion we might find more horrifying in a father today than then.  The novel’s narrator later comments that Mr. Palmer has “no traits unusual in his sex and time of life.  He was nice in his eating, uncertain in his hours; fond of his child, though affecting to slight it; and idled away the mornings at billiards, which ought to have been devoted to business” (304-05).  The film version suggests that Mr. Palmer, rather than being such a caricatured version of “everyman,” seems himself to stand in for the lamentable rarity.  In the film Edward and Colonel Brandon have overshadowed the likes of Mr. Palmer and have made him seem, by extension, even less acceptable for his lack of parental tenderness with his own (albeit crying) son.

Edward’s behavior throughout the film is far more in keeping with today’s model “new man.”  This filmic Edward is also far more easily forgiven than the man we might picture from the novel (which, as you will recall, dubs him “highly blameable” [140], a sentiment nowhere expressed in the film).  Both Edward and Colonel Brandon are notable not only for their “pleasing manner” and adherence to principles and promises but for their nurturing qualities.  In this day of cultural fantasies of Mr. Mom and of what Nancy Chodorow has called equal parenting (218), is it any surprise to see these heroes so updated?

In the novel, women’s relationships with children generally serve as commentary on femininity rather than as a test of masculinity.  Lucy Steele’s indulgence of the Middletons’ children is what wins over Lady Middleton.  Lady Middleton is to be disliked for raising spoiled children.  Mrs. Jennings’ influence on Margaret becomes worrisome to Mrs. Dashwood when Margaret makes inappropriate comments about Elinor’s beau in both the novel and the film.  But the film often uses children as a vehicle to reveal male character, while the novel uses children almost exclusively as a vehicle to reflect on female character.

I do not mean to suggest that the film has given us an entirely new Edward.  The seeds of the Edward we see in the film are to some degree located in the novel.  For instance, the novel’s Edward is said to be fond of family life.  Edward is described by Austen’s narrator as having “wishes centered in domestic comfort and the quiet of private life.”  The film, then, merely fleshes out this portrait to what we might see in a feminist-friendly man today, though the film eschews the word “domestic” for “private” (Thompson 48).  Colonel Brandon, as a military man who fights a duel with Willoughby, displays many more of the trappings of “classical” manhood, but even he is shown to have a “softer side” that is less fully revealed in the novel.  This difference between the novel and the film suggests that for these men to be “heroes” in the late twentieth century, they must also be demonstrably more nurturing, caretaking, or in some sense parentally inclined, as well as respectful of the inclinations and opinions of the women in whom they take romantic interest.

If we take the film Sense and Sensibility as an accurate updating of Austen for the 1990s, it would seem that the men’s movement must play a part in our interpretations.  The changes that Emma Thompson’s screenplay makes to the male characters, if anything, allow them to be less culpable, more likeable, and certainly less sexist or patriarchal.  Sense and Sensibility as it is rewritten (and as it now compels us to reread) is revealed as a text that allows men to reconcile the contradictory demands of manhood—that allows them models for creating more just relationships with women and more complete understandings of themselves and their own emotions.  In other words, the heroes as well as the heroines are shown to meld the best of sensibility with the bedrock of sense, to combine the so-called masculine and feminine qualities to good effect.  The men’s movement would expect no less, though this leaves aside many issues of importance to men’s studies scholars now, including sexual preference, class, race, and nationality.

In December of last year, People magazine asked: “If Jane Austen were alive today, would she provide husband-hunting tips on Good Morning America?  Perform a Stupid Human Trick for Letterman?  Or remain discreetly at home, surrounded by a small gossipy circle, sipping—as her heroines sometimes do—a soothing glass of Madeira wine?” (“Jane Austen” 73).  To rephrase these questions for an investigation into Austen’s men, we might ask, “If Jane Austen were alive today, would she protest the Defense of Marriage Act?  Do a guest appearance on Men Behaving Badly?  Or remain discreetly in her study, surrounded by a small group of intelligent and witty companions, lamenting the media coverage of JFK Jr.’s ended bachelor reign and wishing for lists of the Most Eligible Bachelorettes and the qualities they might demand in their ideal men?”

There are many facets to Austen’s male characters that seem perfectly in keeping with the tenets of the feminist branch of the men’s movement, and others that simply can’t translate or can’t translate positively.  But finally, Austen’s intentions—or our imaginations of Austen’s late twentieth-century views—are not the central point.  It seems to me that her “new” women and her “new” men are being rediscovered today, precisely because we find ourselves in a climate that is as confused about “proper” gender roles as Austen’s novels appear convincing about them.  The real work ahead of us is twofold: 1) to continue to ask questions about the historical contexts and implications of Austen’s portrayals of men and women—in her own time and in our own—and 2) to educate ourselves about the myriad of possibilities for femininities and masculinities, in which reading Austen’s novels can certainly play a role.





1 In Austen’s novels, male-designating terms (men, men’s, man, man’s, male, gentleman, gentleman’s, gentlemanlike, gentlemen, gentlemen’s, and gentlemenlike) are used 1495 times.  The female terms (woman, woman’s, womanish, womanly, women, women’s gentlewoman, female, females) are used 691 times.  Interestingly, this usage shifts when we compare boys and girls.  Girl-related terms (girl, girl’s, girlish, girls) are used 387 times, while the words for boys (boy, boy’s, boyish, boys, boys’) are used 102 times.  Clearly, in Austen’s novels, boys are far less interesting than men, while girls and women receive attention that is much more on a par.  Men, however, are far more often spoken of as a class.  See De Rose and McGuire, volume 3.


2 Of course, work on Austen’s men has a much longer history, though it might not be deemed men’s studies by the aforementioned definition.  See Alfred P. Ollivier’s 1950 M.A. thesis on Jane Austen’s male characters for one early example.  In the version of this essay that was delivered at JASNA in Richmond, I gave a much more detailed history of the men’s movement of men’s studies, delineating its various branches and aims.  The men’s movement discussed in this essay is not that of Robert Bly and Sam Keen, proponents of the “mythopoetic” men’s movement (for responses to this branch of the movement, see Hagan).  Rather, it is the men’s movement that is much more “feminist friendly” that I prefer to bring to bear on Austen’s writings.  Most trace the origins of the modern “men’s movement” to the late 1970s (Hearn 202).  By the mid-1980s, men’s studies as a discipline had been formed, with its own courses and textbooks (Kimmel 10), and from 1984 to 1993, the number of men’s studies courses offered at U.S. universities ballooned from 30 to 300 (August xi).  The arm of the men’s movement that became the impetus for men’s studies grew directly out of the women’s and gay rights’ movements.  Most of those involved with men’s studies identify themselves as anti-sexist or profeminist men—men who discuss ways to work for justice and equality in men’s as well as women’s lives.  These men strive to make men’s lives more emotionally open and anti-hierarchical (and encourage men to share power with other men and with women rather than hoarding it and wielding it at will or at whim).  They have been linked with the stereotype of the “New Man”—that is, the anti-macho man, the sharing, caring, sensitive man, the man who is in touch with his feelings or with what has been traditionally seen as a “feminine” side.


3 For a critique of the terms masculinity/masculinities in men’s studies, see Hearn.


4 Thompson has repeatedly come out in print joking that she expects she will be “assassinated by the Jane Austen Society” (Thompson 244) or that she will receive “death threats” and face “picket lines” for the (eventually cut) kiss between Edward and Elinor (“Emma Thompson” 57).  See also her comment: “I fully expect there to be pickets outside the theaters” (Sessums 143).  One hopes by now that she has been assured that JASNA is not a terrorist group.





Amis, Martin.  “Jane’s World.”  New Yorker Jan. 8, 1996: 31-35.


August, Eugene R.  The New Men’s Studies: A Selected and Annotated Interdisciplinary Bibliography.  Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, 1994.


Austen, Jane.  Sense and Sensibility.  Ed. R. W. Chapman. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1933.


Bly, Robert.  Iron John: A Book About Men.  Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1990.


Butler, Marilyn.  Jane Austen and the War of Ideas.  Oxford: Clarendon P, 1975.


Chodorow, Nancy.  The Reproduction of Mothering: Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender.  Berkeley: U of California P, 1978.


Connell, R. W.  Masculinities.  Cambridge: Polity, 1995.


De Rose, Peter L., and S. W. McGuire.  A Concordance to the Works of Jane Austen.  New York: Garland, 1982.


“Emma Thompson: A Close Reading.”  New Yorker Nov. 15, 1993: 46-48.


Hagan, Kay Leigh, ed.  Women Respond to the Men’s Movement.  San Francisco: Pandora, 1992.


Harris, Ian M.  Messages Men Hear: Constructing Masculinities.  London: Taylor and Francis, 1995.


Hearn, Jeff.  “Is Masculinity Dead?: A Critique of the Concept of Masculinity/Masculinities.”  Understanding Masculinities: Social Relations and Cultural Arenas.  Ed. Mairtin Mac An Ghaill.  Buckingham: Open UP, 1996.  202-17.


“Jane Austen: Nearly Two Centuries After the British Novelist’s Death, Directors Got Some Sense and Embraced Her Sensiblity.”  People Weekly Dec. 25, 1995-Jan. 1, 1996: 73.


Johnson, Claudia.  Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender, and Sentimentality in the 1790s.  Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1995.


Keen, Sam.  Fire in the Belly: On Being A Man.  New York: Bantam, 1991.


Kestner, Joseph A.  “Jane Austen:  Revolutionizing Masculinities.”  Persuasions 16 (1994): 147-60.


Kimmel, Michael S.  “Rethinking ‘Masculinity’: New Directions in Research.”  Changing Men: New Directions in Research on Men and Masculinity.  Ed. Michael S. Kimmel.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1987.  9-24.


Miller, Laura.  “Look out Michael Crichton: Jane Austen is becoming filmdom’s favorite novelist.”  Dec. 2, 1995.  Jane Austen Info Page, World Wide Web [] 9 October 1996.


Morgan, Susan, and Susan Kneedler.  “Austen’s Sexual Politics.”  Persuasions 12 (1990): 19-23.


Murphy, Peter F., ed.  Fictions of Masculinity: Crossing Cultures, Crossing Sexualities.  New York: New York UP, 1994.


O’Hagan, Andrew.  “Fame Games.”  The Guardian August 12, 1996: 2-3.


Ollivier, Alfred P.  “Jane Austen’s Male Characters.”  M.A. Thesis.  Boston University, 1950.


P., Karen.  Epigraph to “Jane Austen’s Writings.”  Jane Austen Info Page, World Wide Web [] 9 October 1996.


Rafferty, Terrence.  “Fidelity and Infidelity: A Charming Adaptation of Jane Austen and a Muddled ‘Othello.’”  New Yorker Dec. 18, 1995: 124-26.


Roper, Michael, and John Tosh, ed.  Manful Assertions: Masculinities in Britain Since 1800.  London: Routledge, 1991.


Schickel, Richard.  “Kissing Cousins: Two New Films Go For the Heart, and Jane Austen Shows Hollywood a Thing or Two.”  Time Dec. 18, 1995: 72-73.


Seidler, Victor J.  Rediscovering Masculinity: Reason, Language, and Sexuality.  London: Routledge, 1989.


Sessums, Kevin.  “Never Look Back.”  Vanity Fair Feb. 1996: 80-87+.


Thompson, Emma.  The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries.  New York: Newmarket, 1995.

JASNA Home Page