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Written by teri-mc
(6/19/2006 1:50 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, History of the Juvenilia, penned by Cheryl
The "Introduction' is by Geraldine Killalea.
"Jane Austen's writing reveals a critical awareness of current literary fashion and is in fact directed towards debunking the follies of contemporary novels rather than recording the contemporary social scene. Her swooning heroins do not reflect a real world littered prostrate women; rather, they reflect a world in which the styles and mores of fiction had become wholly artifical and stultifying."
Killalea also discusses "sensibility"
"By the end of the eighteenth century the actions of characters in sentimental novels obeyed the 'laws' of fiction rthar than probability, and the author's point of view was all too often determined by literary habit. The notion of 'sensibility' had degenerated from 'moral sense' to 'feeling', or perhaps more accurately, the ability to display emotions. Physiological display of emotion through trembling, tears, changing colour, hysteria, fainting or madness, that is sentimental performance, was directly related to sincerety of even personal worth and, indeed, regarded as a reflection of personal value."
"This absurd convention led to a well-established tradition of burlesque. It is to this tradition that 'Love and Friendship' belongs. It is a perfect parody. The breathlessly evolving plot defies summary. It is a gorgeous sequence of all the stock situations and stock responses of the novel of sensiblity; exotic parentage, unexpected encounters, love at first sight, impetuous marriages, revolt against authority, flights out of danger, dramatic recognition scenes. Yet, throughtout, we are made aware of the normal as well as the conventional literary reaction to such situations, and it is the contrast between the laws of fiction and the standards of probabl social behavior which exposes the essential unreality of eighteenth-century popular novels."
To me, the thing that makes L&F so funny, is that it is the impossiblity of the things that happen! Four grandchildren all from the four daughters of the Lord St. Clare being at the same inn at the same time?!?! The Probablity Factor. How many times have we discussed "what are the chances that Darcy should return to Pemberly at that time?" Or, how about Laura being rescued in the dark by her friends and family? I think that while she made fun of these types of plots, it goes to show that she considered how plausable or probable things might be and led to her wonderful later works being real, even generations later.
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