By William Deresiewicz
This stylish and considerate paintings bargains a big new approach of figuring out Jane Austen by way of defining the basic influence and effect of British Romanticism on her later novels. In evaluating the sooner and later levels of Austen's profession, Deresiewicz addresses a massive but overlooked factor concerning her paintings: the longstanding severe consensus that Austen's final 3 novels ( Mansfield Park, Emma, and Persuasion) signify a ways higher inventive achievements than do her first 3 ( Northanger Abbey, experience and Sensibility, and delight and Prejudice). Jane Austen and the Romantic Poets deals a wealthy account of the diversities among the 2 levels of Austen's profession. In doing so, it contextualizes her later novels in the British Romantic stream and the works of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Scott, and Byron. via shut readings of Mansfield Park, Emma, and Persuasion, Deresiewicz finds the significance of Romantic rules in Austen's later paintings, contemplating the ways that the novels examine hidden mechanisms of psychic and affective lifestyles, together with "substitution," "ambiguous relationships," and "widowhood." Deresiewicz's cutting edge strategy and its emphasis on Romanticism opens up new views on Austen's later novels by way of exploring their styles of images, narrative logics, and social and historic dimensions.
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Additional info for Jane Austen and the Romantic Poets
In Persuasion, social change involves both the rise and fall of personal fortunes—Wentworth’s and William Walter Elliot’s rising, Sir Walter’s falling—and, as I will discuss at length in the relevant chapter, the larger changes rippling through English society as it makes the transition from war to peace and, concurrently, from the leadership of the aristocracy to that of the professional middle-class. In the virtually self-enclosed world of Emma, large- and small-scale social change are hard to distinguish; what counts in the other novels as small feels momentous here.
Time has marked his body, his household, and his estates, and he does not seek to remain oblivious to these alterations. 38 Written and set during the Regency, a time when the British national household was headed by a disreputable prince filling the place of a father who had lost his mind, Mansfield Park documents an evolution in family life that has weakened paternal authority and strengthened the willfulness of children in resisting it. Admiral Crawford, Mr. Price: fathers here are not what they used to be, and even if they don’t know it, their children do.
Was yet a dearer, tenderer recollection” (8). Of the mother who had died in her infancy, we have already been told that Emma had no more “than an indistinct remembrance of her caresses” (7). As it is for Fanny and Anne, memory here is affective, even physical (those caresses seem more felt than anything else); helps ground the self by creating a sense of its history, including the different eras of that history (“sixteen years,” “seven years”); and helps form, strengthen, and reform the affections.