Jane Austen and Her Art

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The first draft was written in and titled Elinor and Marianne. In Austen rewrote the novel and titled it Sense and Sensibility. After years of polishing, it was finally published in As the original and final titles indicate, the novel contrasts the temperaments of the two sisters. Elinor governs her life by sense or reasonableness, while Marianne is ruled by sensibility or feeling. Elinor keeps her wits about her under the strain of an affair during which her beloved becomes entangled with another girl.

After his mother disinherits him, his beloved, an avaricious schemer, jilts him and he returns to Elinor—who has the sense to take him back. A more disagreeable moral revelation is evident in Marianne Dashwood's actions. She is in love with a scoundrel, who tires of her and goes off to London. She follows him there and is bitterly disillusioned by his callous treatment.

She then gives up her romantic dreams of passionate fulfillment and marries a stodgy, middle-aged suitor. Although the plot favors the value of sense over that of sensibility, the greatest emphasis is placed on the moral complexity of human affairs and on the need for enlarged and subtle thought and feeling in response to it.

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In , when Austen was 21 years old, she wrote the novel First Impressions. The work was rewritten and published under the title Pride and Prejudice in It is her most popular and perhaps her greatest novel. It achieves this distinction by virtue of its perfection of form, which exactly balances and expresses its human content. As in Sense and Sensibility, the twin abstractions of the title are closely associated with the protagonists, Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. Elizabeth is guilty of prejudice against the aristocratic Darcy, and he manifests excessive pride in his cold and unbending attitude toward Elizabeth, her sister Jane, and other members of the Bennet family.

The form of the novel is dialectical—the opposition of ethical principles is expressed in the relations of believable characters. The resolution of the main plot with the marriage of Elizabeth and Darcy represents a reconciliation of conflicting moral extremes. The value of pride is affirmed when humanized by Elizabeth's warm personality, and the value of prejudice is affirmed when associated with Darcy's standards of traditional honor.

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During Austen wrote Northanger Abbey, which was published posthumously. It is a fine satirical novel, making sport of the popular Gothic novel of terror, but it does not rank among her major works. In the following years she wrote The Watsons or later , which is a fragment of a novel similar in mood to her later Mansfield Park, and Lady Susan or later , a novelette in letters.

In Jane Austen began Mansfield Park, which was published in It is her most severe exercise in moral analysis and presents a conservative view of ethics, politics, and religion. Now the Rice family have uncovered a new piece of evidence they say adds further weight to their claim. The unsigned note believed to have been written by Lefroy has been passed to the Rices through family links.

Old Dr Newman, fellow of Magdalen years ago told him that he had a portrait of Jane Austen the novelist, that had been in his family many years. This a portrait of Jane Austen the novelist by Zoffany. Her picture was given to my step-mother by her friend Colonel Austen of Kippendon [sic], Kent because she was a great admirer of her works. The note names the artist Johann Zoffany, to whom the painting has been attributed in the past. It is unsigned, but after comparing it with other documents held in the Hampshire Record Office, the Rices claim it is very likely the hand of Lefroy.

Jane Austen had exuberantly parodied this type of plot in Henry and Eliza , one of her Juvenilia : [Wife to husband:] "Four months after you were gone, I was delivered of this Girl, but dreading your just resentment at her not proving the Boy you wished, I took her to a Haycock and laid her down. A few weeks afterwards, you returned, and fortunately for me, made no enquiries. Satisfied within myself of the wellfare of my Child, I soon forgot that I had one, insomuch that when we shortly afterward found her in the very Haycock I had placed her, I had no more idea of her being my own than you had.

The only possible case is the affair between Willoughby and the younger Eliza Williams in Sense and Sensibility about which little information is divulged in the novel -- since Lydia Bennet of Pride and Prejudice and Maria Bertram of Mansfield Park more or less throw themselves at George Wickham and Henry Crawford respectively.

Also, the elder Eliza Williams in Sense and Sensibility is more likely tempted astray because she is a weak personality trapped in a wretchedly unhappy marriage remember that almost the only grounds for divorce was the wife's infidelity , rather than because of any extraordinary arts or persuasions used by her seducer. And finally, whatever the complex of motives involved in the Mrs.

Elliot affair in Persuasion , it can hardly be regarded as the seduction of a female by a sexually predatory male.


Jane Austen and Her Art - Mary Lascelles - Google книги

In Jane Austen's last incomplete fragment, Sanditon , it is true that Sir Edward Denham likes to think of himself as a predatory male, but he is described as such an ineffectual fool that it is difficult to believe that he would have accomplished any of his designs against the beauteous Clara Brereton, if Jane Austen had finished the work. Note that all these affairs take place entirely "off-stage" except for a few encounters of flirtation between Maria Bertram and Henry Crawford, long before she runs away with him , and are not described in any detail. See also a quote from Gilbert and Gubar on the contrast between Austen and earlier writers on this point.

No one dies "on stage" in one of her novels, and almost no one dies at all during the main period of the events of each novel except for Lord Ravenshaw's grandmother in Mansfield Park and Mrs. Churchill in Emma. The illnesses that occur Jane's in Pride and Prejudice and Louisa Musgrove's in Persuasion are not milked for much pathos Marianne's in Sense and Sensibility is a partial exception, but Marianne is condemned for bringing her illness on herself.

And Mrs. Smith in Persuasion who takes a decidedly non-pathetic view of her own illness pours cold water on Anne Elliot's ideas of the "ardent, disinterested, self-denying attachment, [ And in Sanditon , written while she was suffering from her own eventually-fatal illness , Jane Austen made fun of several hypochondriac characters. See also the parody of an affecting sick-room scene she wrote when she was seventeen years old. On three occasions, Fanny Price of Mansfield Park imagines to herself that she is on the point of fainting, and once Elinor Dashwood thinks that her sister Marianne is about to faint, but neither Fanny or Marianne ever does.

And Elinor Dashwood, at one critical moment in Sense and Sensibility , feels herself to be "in no danger of an hysterical fit or a swoon". Jane Austen's parsimony in faintings in her novels does not apply to her Juvenilia , where she mocks the propensity to faint of the conventional novel-heroine of the day.

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  5. Notoriously, Jane Austen hardly ever quotes from a conversation between men with no women present or overhearing. However, despite some assertions that she never includes such dialogue, there is at least one clear example -- a briefly-described encounter between Sir Thomas Bertram and Edmund in Mansfield Park. A less clear possibility is Sir Thomas Bertram's chiding of his son Tom when he has to sell the Mansfield clerical "living", in Chapter 3 of Mansfield Park.

    She is also sparing of describing the internal thoughts and emotions of male characters thus in Pride and Prejudice , much of Darcy's admiration for Elizabeth Bennet is expressed by means of convenient conversations with Caroline Bingley. She is very sparing with physical descriptions of people and places except to some degree in her last novel, Persuasion.

    She tends to glide over the more passionately romantic moments of her characters, not describing closely lovers' embraces and endearments. So in the marriage proposal scene in Pride and Prejudice the quoted dialogue breaks off just before the critical point, giving way to the following report: "He [Darcy] expressed himself on the occasion as sensibly and as warmly as a man violently in love can be supposed to do". Similarly in Emma : "She spoke then, on being so entreated [with a proposal]. What did she say? Just what she ought, of course.

    A lady always does. Gardiner question conventional romantic language in fact, the very same expression "violently in love" that Austen saw fit to fob us off with later in the novel in the proposal scene! Even in her more "romantic" last novel Persuasion , she still ruthlessly cut out Wentworth's line "Anne, my own dear Anne! It was almost enough to spread purification and perfume all the way.

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    8. And Jane Austen never even mentions lovers kissing an important moment in Emma is when Mr. Knightley fails to kiss Emma's hand , though Willoughby does kiss a lock of Marianne's hair in Sense and Sensibility. And Mr. Knightly touches Emma, causing a "flutter of pleasure" in this scene from Emma though they are not yet acknowledged lovers at this point. See a non-academic analysis of the sensuality in Pride and Prejudice. See an image showing a couple in late 18th-century or early 19th-century Portsmouth kissing right out in the open on the street gasp!

      Her heroines also famously never leave the family circle.

      Jane Austen and Her Art

      Go to Encyclopaedia Britannica entry on Jane Austen. Sir Walter Scott, Review of "Emma" In Sir Walter Scott reviewed Emma , as being one of "a class of fictions which has arisen almost in our own times, and which draws the characters and incidents introduced more immediately from the current of ordinary life than was permitted by the former rules of the novel", and "copying from nature as she really exists in the common walks of life, and presenting to the reader, instead of the splendid scenes of an imaginary world, a correct and striking representation of that which is daily taking place around him".

      Sir Walter Scott journal entry, March 14th Also read again, and for the third time at least, Miss Austen's very finely written novel of Pride and Prejudice. That young lady had a talent for describing the involvement and feelings and characters of ordinary life which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with.

      The big Bow-wow strain I can do myself like any now going, but the exquisite touch which renders ordinary commonplace things and characters interesting from the truth of the description and the sentiment is denied to me. What a pity such a gifted creature died so early! Trollope The following is part of a lecture the novelist Anthony Trollope gave in in which he also expresses the Victorian sentiment that "Throughout all [Jane Austen's] works, a sweet lesson of homely household womanly virtue is ever being taught.

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      If you find no inspiration in Miss Austen's page, neither do you find mere windy wordiness; to use your words over again, she exquisitely adapts her means to her end; both are very subdued, a little contracted, but never absurd. She does her business of delineating the surface of the lives of genteel English people curiously well; there is a Chinese fidelity, a miniature delicacy in the painting: she ruffles her reader by nothing vehement, disturbs him by nothing profound: the Passions are perfectly unknown to her ; she rejects even a speaking acquaintance with that stormy Sisterhood; even to the Feelings she vouchsafes no more than an occasional graceful but distant recognition; too frequent converse with them would ruffle the smooth elegance of her progress.

      Random Deprecatory Quotes "I And he deserves better treatment than to be obliged to read any more of my works. Just that one omission alone would make a fairly good library out of a library that hadn't a book in it. Never was life so pinched and narrow. All that interests in any character [is this]: has he or she the money to marry with? Suicide is more respectable.