Jane Austen, the Secret Radical

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Jane Austen, the Secret Radical

Jane Austen, the Secret Radical

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Kelly illuminates the radical subjects--slavery, poverty, feminism, the Church, evolution, among them--considered treasonous at the time, that Austen deftly explored in the six novels that have come to embody an age. She also didn't focus very well on one topic and would start talking about another book in a chapter that was supposed to focused on a particular one. The chapter about Emma was all right, but the subject of enclosure just isn't as interesting to me as it seems to have been to Kelly.

I was also not sold on Kelly’s decision to open each chapter with a short fictional section based on Austen’s letters. Other Austen fans might feel differently as this is certainly very well written and contains much that is of interest - but eventually I just lost the will to finish it I'm afraid.

The book is split up into sections following each of her published novels, as well as one concerning her life, and her death. So a book that combs through the novels looking for evidence of Austen’s radical heart finds a receptive audience here. Though I am ready to accept that Jane was highly influenced by the times in which she wrote, I remain unconvinced that she wrote just to be radical, dressed up in a story. That in “Northanger Abbey” Austen describes Catherine Morland masturbating (“Let’s not mince words here”) requires an elasticity of imagination beyond the breaking point for the pusillanimous.

Her failure to acknowledge the considerable academic literature that has covered this ground before her is unprofessional.

However, I found little sympathy with Kelly when she began trying to read sexual meanings into Edward Ferrars’ behaviour and implied he was no better than Willoughby. 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. Her novels don’t confine themselves to grand houses and they were not written just for readers’ enjoyment. This isn't to say the chapter was bad, per se, but it was more of a soft secret, than the kind of investigative nature of the secrets, as in the etymology behind the Moor Park apricot tree, the men named Norris, and so on. span>Slightly off-mint and felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.

Kelly offers a salutary argument for reading Austen’s novels with the serious attentiveness they invite and deserve.There's really no need to panic if it turns out that Austen might have been a conservative and a snob and a product of her social environment and class. Kelly tells us of carpenters imprisoned for reciting doggerel and schoolmasters imprisoned for distributing leaflets. I would hope that these vulnerabilities would not discourage too many readers, however, because there is much of value here.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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