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Research Article

Jane Austen’s Unified Commonwealth: An Exploration of Illness

1 January 2002


This paper deals with illnesses, real and imagined, in Jane Austen’s world, and her writing as a means of coping with the sickness she witnessed and experienced herself. The paper explores “real” illness in the books and the remedies and healing, physical and mental, then contrasts these with the imagined illnesses in the later novels — and the role of the hypochondriac. Laughing at the these imagined illness perhaps functioned as a coping device as Jane, herself, became more ill and faced death.


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