Jane Austen, the Secret Radical

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Jane Austen, the Secret Radical

Jane Austen, the Secret Radical

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Decline and Fall" places the novel in perspective of Jane's personal life and the alteration in British society. If you take all Kelly’s ideas seriously, this book could completely undermine the way that you look at some of Jane’s plots and characters.

I certainly ought to, as one chapter in my new book ( What Regency Women Did For Us) is given over to my favourite author! Understand what a serious subject marriage was then, how important it was, and all of a sudden courtship plots start to seem like a more suitable vehicle for discussing other serious things. I really feel Helena does provide plenty of information I hadn't previously considered at all, there ARE secrets that I, someone pretty darn interested in Jane, was surprised to read from Helena.Having warned the reader about how little is known about Jane and her intentions, she then spends the remainder of the book second-guessing authorial intent and inserting fictionalised scenes of Jane's life that might have prompted her novels. Sense and Sensibility was I think the strongest of her chapters, as it had the most textual revelations, and drew the most surprise from me. Listening to the excellent Bonnets at Dawn podcast about Mansfield Park inspired me to download this book and read it at last. Of course, all the professors I studied under were mostly followers of New Criticism, where historical context and the life and intentions of the author are either ignored or barely acknowledged in favor of a close reading of the text as an enclosed object. The brilliance of the passage from which she quotes is that it is filtered through Anne’s consciousness, mingling her shrewdness with her delusory self-mortification.

Anyway, the way to read literary criticism like this isn't to ascribe wholly to whatever the author's interpretations are. This is followed by a chapter devoted to each of Jane’s novels and a final one looking at her death. She decides that Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility is probably the biological father of the young woman Willoughby has seduced. The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.Generally speaking, we view sex as an enjoyable recreational activity; we have access to reliable contraception; we have very low rates of maternal and infant mortality. Helena Kelly’s publisher got her kicks in early by scheduling the British release of her book last autumn.

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