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Download e-book for iPad: A Reading of Jane Austen by Barbara Hardy

By Barbara Hardy

A interpreting of Jane Austen (first released by way of Peter Owen in 1975) has confirmed itself with critics and readers as a superb contribution to the becoming literature in this writer, choked with clean and stimulating perceptions. imperative to the observe is Bar

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Extra resources for A Reading of Jane Austen

Example text

If we are tempted to applaud her for explosively destroying polite hypocrisy and acquisitiveness, we are held back by the knowledge that Marianne's violence, like some of its political analogues, hurts guilty and innocent alike. Richard Simpson acknowledged Jane Austen's sense of the individual as a social being: It is her thorough consciousness that man is a social being, and that apart from society there is not even the individual. She was too great a realist to abstract and isolate the individual, and to give a portrait of him in the manner of Theophrastus or La Bruyere.

Their progress of feeling, which moves like a blood-vessel through the novels' action, is continuous in circulation. In neither form nor feeling do we find anything resembling Sir Edward Denham's Reason half-dethroned, but in both there is strong emotion or passion. Feelings may be private or secret but move eventually into relationships, passion finding resonance in reciprocity. Jane Austen is very far from 'knowing in apartness'. On the contrary, she blends thinking with feeling, valuing the passionate mind, showing its development as an outward movement towards outlets and unions.

She was too great a realist to abstract and isolate the individual, and to give a portrait of him in the manner of Theophrastus or La Bruyere. Even as a unit, man is only known to her in the process of his formation by social influences. (Critical Heritage, No. 44, p. 249) Solitude and society are set side by side, ensuring reflection on the response to both, and on the connections between responses. Between the public scenes which analyse many kinds of structure and relationship, Jane Austen places the conversations of kin and friendship.

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