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Janine Barchas

ProfessorPh.D., 1995, University of Chicago

Janine Barchas



Eighteenth-century literature and culture; digital humanities; the British novel; book history; textual studies; Jane Austen; early fiction by women.


Janine Barchas (Stanford B.A. and Chicago Ph.D.) joined the University of Texas at Austin in 2002, after teaching at the University of Auckland for five years.

Barchas’ first book, Graphic Design, Print Culture, and the Eighteenth-Century Novel (Cambridge UP, 2003), won the SHARP book prize for best work in the field of book history.  In addition to several editing projects, Barchas has published articles on writers from “the long eighteenth century” in journals such as ELHReview of English StudiesEighteenth-Century LifeEighteenth-Century Fiction,Nineteenth-Century Literature, and Persuasions.  Her most recent book is Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity (Johns Hopkins University Press, August 2012). 

Cover for Pride and Prejudice

Ongoing projects include an investigation into the marketing of Jane Austen by means of book covers—cataloguing two centuries of cover art that packaged Austen’s work from 1833 to the present.  Prof. Barchas recently published a sample from that research in an essay for the New York Times, "The 200-Year Jane Austen Book Club."

Her latest project is a website entitled “What Jane Saw.”  This website ( offers a virtual reconstruction of a museum exhibit attended by Jane Austen in 1813.  “What Jane Saw” launched on 24 May 2013, 200 years to the day that the Austens attended.

If you would like to “see” Professor Barchas talk briefly about these projects, you can also find her in a series of short UT-sponsored “Knowledge Matters” videos on YouTube.  In these videos she explains celebrity culture in Austen’s time, shows samples of outrageous and influential book covers of Austen, and talks about the making of her new “What Jane Saw” website.

What Jane Saw Interactive Exhibit

Please visit the What Jane Saw project page.



T C 302 • Jane Austen On Page And Screen

42840 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CRD 007A

Description:This interdisciplinary single-author course is devoted to the six major novels of Jane Austen and also considers the manner in which Austen’s work has recently been refashioned into major motion pictures and popular BBC television series. While this class concerns literature, history, and film, the primary emphasis will be on the study of Austen in her historical context. Thus, the class will ask how Austen fits into the novel genre’s development and how her stories touch upon issues of gender, economics, art, and the law of her time. In order to augment our investigations into Austen’s original context, the class will include a few sessions in the HRC where we will look at original editions of the novels (including sister Cassandra Austen’s copy of Mansfield Park) and ask questions about the impact of her books’ original printed presentation. From our attempts to reconstruct Austen’s “original reader” we will then proceed into discussion of the recent re-workings of the novels for the screen, including “adaptations” such as Clueless, Bridget Jones’ Diary, and Bride & Prejudice, which recast Emma and Pride and Prejudice into a modern mold.

Texts/Readings:Literature:Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility (1811); Pride and Prejudice (1813); Mansfield Park (1814); Emma (1815); Northanger Abbey (1817); Persuasion (1817).Films:Sense & Sensibility: film directed by Ang Lee (1995)Pride & Prejudice: excerpts from the film directed by Robert Leonard (1940)Pride & Prejudice: BBC mini-series directed by Simon Langton (1996)Pride & Prejudice: film directed by Joe Wright (2005)Clueless: film directed by Amy Heckerling (1995)Bridget Jones’s Diary: film directed by Sharon Maguire (2001)Bride & Prejudice: film directed by Gurinder Chadha (2004)Mansfield Park: film directed by Patricia Rozema (1999)Emma: film directed by Douglas McGrath (1996)Emma: excerpts from the BBC mini-series directed by Diarmuid Lawrence (1997)Northanger Abbey: BBC telefilm directed by Giles Foster (1987)Persuasion: BBC Film directed by Roger Mitchell (1995)


Three close-reading essays (3 pages each; 1 rewrite):        10% each

One research essay (7-8 pages):                    30%

Participation:                                20%

Class presentation:                            20%

About the Professor

Born in The Hague, The Netherlands, Professor Barchas did her undergraduate work at Stanford University (1989) and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (1995). She joined UT in 2002 after teaching for five years in Auckland, New Zealand. Her research interests focus on eighteenth-century literature and culture and include the British novel, book history, textual studies, modernism, and early fiction by women. Her book Graphic Design, Print Culture, and the Eighteenth-Century Novel, published by Cambridge University Press, won the SHARP Book History Prize for 2003. In 2004 Pickering & Chatto published her edited volume of 18th-century British erotica for its ECBE Part II series. In 2005, Professor Barchas won UT’s Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award. Non-work time is devoted to family, especially her daughter Madison, who is the proud owner of a cat named Black Paw.

Selected Publications

Books & Editions

Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity (Johns Hopkins University Press 2012).

Graphic Design, Print Culture, and the Eighteenth-Century Novel (Cambridge University Press, 2003). Reprinted: April 2004. Paperback:  November 2008. Prize: SHARP Book History Prize.

The Annotations in Lady Bradshaigh’s Copy of Clarissa, with the editorial collaboration of Gordon Fulton, ELS Monograph Series, No. 76 (Victoria, 1998). 144 pgs.

Volume 1 (1700-1735) of Eighteenth-Century British Erotica Set II, 5 vols., gen. eds. Alexander Pettit and Patrick Spedding  (Pickering & Chatto, 2004). 523 pgs.

Recent Articles & Chapters

“A Big Name: Jane Austen and the Wentworths,” in Wentworth Castle and Georgian Political Gardening, ed. Patrick Eyres (Wentworth Castle Heritage Trust, Yorkshire, Aug. 2012), 161-175.

Digitally Reconstructing the Reynolds Retrospective Attended by Jane Austen in 1813: A Report on e-Work-in-progress,” Aphra Behn Online: Interactive Journal for Women in the Arts 1640-1830 (March 2012).

“The Real Bluebeard of Bath: A Historical Model for Northanger Abbey,” Persuasions 32 (2010): 115-134.

“Artistic Names in Austen’s Fiction: Cameo Appearances by Prominent Painters,” Persuasions 31 (2009): 145-162.

“Hell-Fire Jane: Austen and the Dashwoods of West Wycombe,” Eighteenth-Century Life 33.3 (Fall 2009): 1-36. Reprinted as “Dashwood Celebrity” in Sensibilities (Feb 2011), journal of the Jane Austen Society of Australia.

“Mapping Northanger Abbey: Or, Why Austen’s Bath of 1803 Resembles Joyce’s Dublin of 1904,” Review of English Studies, New Series, 60.245 (June 2009): 431-59.  Distinction: RES “Editor’s Choice”

“Mrs. Gaskell’s North and South: Austen’s Early Legacy,” Persuasions 30 (2008): 53-66.

“Very Austen: Accounting for the Language of Emma,” Nineteenth-Century Literature 62.3 (Dec 2007): 303-338.

Digital Project

“What Jane Saw,” a website supported by a grant from LAITS.  This site reconstructs the museum exhibit of 141 paintings by Sir Joshua Reynolds that Jane Austen attended on 24 May 1813. Site launches 24 May 2013—the 200th anniversary of the original event. 

Selected Honors

  • Humanities Research Award, University of Texas ($15,000 over 3 years; 2010-2013)
  • American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowship (2007-2008)
  • Alpha of Texas Award for Distinction in Teaching, from Phi Beta Kappa Society of University of Texas (May 2005)
  • Katherine Pantzer Fellowship in the British Book Trades, Bibliographical Society of America (March 2005)
  • Prize for "Best Book of 2003" from Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP), awarded for Graphic Design, Print Culture, and the Eighteenth-Century Novel
  • Newberry Library/ASECS Short-Term Fellowship (Jan-March 1997)
  • Bibliographical Society of America Fellowship (1996)

Recent Talks and Lectures

“Naming Names in Pride and Prejudice,” Plenary speaker at AGM of Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA), Minneapolis – scheduled for Sept 2013  See:     

“Has Jane Austen Jumped the Shark?” (roundtable), American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS), Cleveland -- April 2013

“What Jane Saw,” University of Michigan (18thC Group), Ann Arbor -- March 2013

“What Jane Austen Saw at the Reynolds Retrospective in London,” Jane Austen Society of Australia (JASA), Sydney -- 18 Feb 2012

“Jane Austen between the Covers,” The Centre for the Book, Univ of Otago, Dunedin --30 Jan 2012

“Dashwood Celebrity,” JASA, Sydney -- 2 July 2011

“What Jane Saw: Sir Joshua Reynolds in 1813,” David Nicol Smith Conference, Melbourne, Australia -- July 2011

“The Abnormally Interesting Wentworths,” American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS), Vancouver -- March 2011       

“The Real Bluebeard of Bath: a historical model for Northanger Abbey,” Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA), Portland, OR -- October 2010

“A Big Name: Austen and the Wentworths,” Wentworth Castle, Yorkshire – 7 August 2010

“’Real Solemn History’ in Austen’s Northanger Abbey, A. K. Smith Visiting Scholar Lecture, Trinity College, CT -- 25 Feb 2010            



Editorial Board of The Eighteenth-Century Novel since 2003.

Advisory Board of Eighteenth-Century Studies (term 1 July 2011- 30 June 2014).

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