Did Jane Austen have a period? Did she have periods? This essay surveys the particularly gendered politics that attempt to situate Austen and her work within a fixed and dateable period. To counter that impulse, it introduces a different temporal understanding of the period as periodical: a repetitive round or return. Finally, it turns to Austen's own meditations on the word period, within those carefully formed periods that are her sentences, to reveal the implications and complications arising from our investment in periods and periodizing.

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