Deborah Yaffe


By Deborah Yaffe, Apr 29 2013 01:00PM

Michael Suk-Young Chwe’s Jane Austen, Game Theorist has made quite a splash since its publication last week: a story on the front page of the New York Times arts section was picked up as far afield as England and Australia and by yesterday, the book had an Amazon sales ranking of 1,727, far higher than your average university-press offering.

Along the way, Chwe has run into some unfair criticism from people who apparently haven’t read his book. He’s been lumped with those who think Austen needs social-science validation, as if only math – you know, boy stuff – could make those girly stories worth reading. And he’s been mocked for allegedly basing a whole book on a statement of the obvious: that strategic thinking plays a role in the interpersonal exchanges in Austen’s stories.

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