The author of this stimulating new study is aware that, as he says in the Preface, 'To many admirers of Jane Austen, the encounter proposed will appear patently preposterous -- doomed from the outset, in fact; to some actually offensive; to a few indeed almost sacrilegious.' Nevertheless, he contends, Jane Austen's work has been fundamentally misunderstood.' That is the claim made at the outset of this inquiry. To substantiate it, a first chapter clears a space where this unlikely encounter can happen. The chapters that follow, on the novelist's three first-published works -- Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park -- present a wealth of material not thought worth quoting in critical study before, and show how Sigmund Freud's thought can illuminate it. The argument is essentially cumulative: aiming to generate the reader's mounting involvement in the critical process, it bears on the instrument of interpretation as much as on the texts that psychoanalysis helps us read. In 1898, discussing obstacles to frank conversation about sex -- a topic whose boundaries he totally redefined -- Freud wrote: 'It will have to become possible to talk about these things without being stamped as a trouble-maker... there is work enough to do for the next hundred years.' The question may be asked: has his work yet borne its fruit? At all events, our image of Jane Austen's fiction has remained almost completely untouched by psychoanalysis. This radical exploration into the meaning of her writing -- no attempt, its author underlines, is made to psychoanalyse the woman behind the work -- should thus be a bombshell for Austen Studies.