Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Word Choices That Explain Why Jane Austen Endures

From The New York Times:
What traits make Austen special, and can they be measured with data? Can literary genius be graphed? Her novels, reasonably successful in their day, were innovative, even revolutionary, in ways her contemporaries did not fully recognize. Some of the techniques she introduced — or used more effectively than anyone before — have been so incorporated into how we think about fiction that they seem to have always been there.

One thing early readers did notice was naturalism. Austen’s novels, unlike those she grew up reading, owed nothing to improbabilities. No settings of spooky Italian castles (she mocks such Gothic devices in “Northanger Abbey”); no characters kidnapped by rakes or bequeathed a fortune with strange provisions attached. Walter Scott, a popular author of historical novels mostly forgotten today, praised her “art of 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.” (Read more.)
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1 comment:

julygirl said...

Her novels were about normal human actions, activities and intentions, which are the same today except for the lack of graciousness which is almost non-existent today.