Jane Austen aficionados think that they know the story of their favourite author’s posthumous dis-appearance and then re-emergence. For half a century after she died in 1817, her books were little known or read. A few discriminating admirers such as George Henry Lewes and Lord Macaulay kept the flame of her reputation burning, but most novelists and novel readers were oblivious to her. Then, in 1869, her nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh published a memoir about her and the public got interested. Her novels started being republished and widely read. She has never looked back.