During the nineteenth century, alongside remarkable changes to the role and status of women in Britain, Jane Austen gradually became, for many, the publicly acceptable face of the woman writer. The careful manipulation of her image by the Austen family-particularly her early biographers, her brother Henry Austen and her nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh-resulted largely in the persona the name “Jane Austen” came to represent. This persona was feminine, domesticated, modest; a writer whose gift came from nature, rather than resulting from hard work, and who was happy to remain within her domestic and familial sphere instead of enjoying the freedom of celebrity.1 As G. H. Lewes put it, Austen “made herself known without making herself public” (“Novels” 100). Unlike other women writers who, like Madame de Staël, made themselves into public figures, or who championed the rights of women to work outside the home, “Jane Austen” was invested with a certain conservatism, often affecting the ways critics, individual readers, and reading networks read her novels. Critics frequently did not give her works the serious attention they deserved, focusing instead on her biography. However, the works were more marketable because of her reputation as a perfect lady.