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Janine Barchas

College positions:
Visiting Fellow
History and Culture
The University of Texas at Austin

Professor Janine Barchas

Janine Barchas is Chancellor’s Council Centennial Chair in the Book Arts at the University of Texas at Austin and has published three books among all her other achievements.

Born in The Netherlands, Janine Barchas is a book historian and literary critic. Trained at Stanford (BA, 1989) and the University of Chicago (MA & PhD, 1995), she taught for five years at the University of Auckland in New Zealand before joining the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin, where she currently holds the Chancellor’s Council Centennial Chair in the Book Arts.

Her first book focused on the original print culture and visual context of early novels, demonstrating how authors such as Sarah Fielding (sister of better-known Henry) became influential innovators in the genre’s graphic design. Her second book combatted the doily-clad reputation of Jane Austen as an isolated rectory daughter, resituating her as a daring novelist actively engaged with the politics, geography, and celebrity culture of her time. Barchas describes her third book, entitled The Lost Books of Jane Austen, as ‘hard-core bibliography meets the Antiques Roadshow.’ It won the Foreword Indies Reviews gold award for recovering the reading experiences of working-class men and women (and also school children) whose copies of Austen’s works have not been deemed important or authoritative enough to be safeguarded by special collection libraries.

In addition to academic articles and books, Barchas has also curated museum exhibitions and written for the popular press, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Lit Hub, and Los Angeles Review of Books. And she is the creator behind “What Jane Saw” (, which offers digital reconstructions of two museum blockbusters attended by Austen: The Boydell Shakespeare Gallery in 1796 and the Sir Joshua Reynolds retrospective in 1813

Select publications

  • Graphic Design, Print Culture, and the Eighteenth-Century Novel (Cambridge University Press, 2003).
  • Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012).
  • The Lost Books of Jane Austen (Johns Hopkins University Press, October 2019).
  • A Boyhood Under Nazi Occupation: The Personal Story of Jan Duijvestein, introduced & translated from Dutch by his daughter Janine Barchas (Brighton, UK: Edward Everett Root Publishing, 2020).

Select Awards

  • Visiting Fellowship at All Souls, Oxford (for Hillary and Trinity terms 2024).
  • Gold Winner of Foreword INDIES Reviews Award for best history book of 2019 (for Lost Books).
  • American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship (twice, in 2007-08 and 2019-20).
  • DeLong Book Prize from the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing for 2003 (for Graphic Design)

Further links

What Jane Saw ( )