The Significance of a Name: Personal and Societal Ties to Character Names in Jane Austen’s Works

Sheridan Pena, Dr. Marvin Lansverk, Department of English, Montana State University Bozeman, 100 Culbertson Hall, Bozeman MT 59717

Jane Austen is a renowned author whose works have captured the public’s attention  throughout generations. Her novels display an immense intelligence of societal standards and  captures history within their pages. The characters, settings, and plot devices Austen utilizes all  contribute towards the creation of complex, engaging stories. The purpose of this research is to  delve into the reasons behind why Austen decided to provide a number of her characters with the  same names. One theory revolves around a correlation between Austen’s relations possessing the  names of several individuals within the novels. She may have imbued some of these particular  characters with similar characteristics to her immediate and extended family. An examination  into the meaning behind certain names may provide substantial background information. This  research is supported by articles published by the Jane Austen Society of North America. A  couple articles—one published about 20 years ago and the other a decade ago—detail the power  of a name. Historical research is the chosen approach for this project that analyzes 19th century  literature and popular practices of the time period in England. The anticipated findings include  Jane Austen selecting specific titles for a few characters in order to give more depth to her  works. Looking to real world qualities is helpful when attempting to create an entertaining  fictional world, and Austen could have added this tool to her repertoire. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Sheridan Pena

Institution: Montana State University Bozeman

Type: Oral

Subject: English & Literature

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Oral 6
Date/Time: Tue 2:00pm-3:00pm
Session Number: 644
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