The successful and increasingly widespread development of cognitive-evolutionary concepts, particularly theory of mind and metarepresentation, in academic criticism of Austen's work over the past fifteen years has laid a strong foundation for classroom teachers interested in alternatives to the standard cultural studies approaches. Cognitive theory is especially valuable in providing a close fit between theory and text: Austen's own model of cognition proves exceptionally consistent and congruent with evolutionary theory, so much so that Alan Richardson has argued that Austen's representations of cognition “invite us to consider Austen herself as an early theorist of what is now called Theory of Mind.”

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