Jane Austen’s Philosophy of the Virtues

  • Authors
  • Sarah Emsley

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Sarah Emsley
    Pages 1-16
  3. Sarah Emsley
    Pages 107-128
  4. Sarah Emsley
    Pages 129-144
  5. Sarah Emsley
    Pages 145-158
  6. Sarah Emsley
    Pages 159-168
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 169-202

About this book


This book examines Austen's novels in relation to her philosophical and religious context, demonstrating that the combination of the classical and theological traditions of the virtues is central to her work. Austen's heroines learn to confront the fundamental ethical question of how to live their lives. Instead of defining virtue only in the narrow sense of female sexual virtue, Austen opens up questions about a plurality of virtues. In fresh readings of the six completed novels, plus Lady Susan, Emsley shows how Austen's complex imaginative representations of the tensions among the virtues engage with and expand on classical and Christian ethical thought.


Aristotle ethics female sex Jane Austen novel philosophy sensibility tradition

Bibliographic information