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|Focus on Mrs. Radcliffe
Written by Virginia
(3/24/2009 3:52 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Catherine takes her reading as her authority, penned by Ellen M
At the beginning of our group read, I said I was hoping to discover exactly what Jane Austen thought of Mrs. Radcliffe. There have been clues along the way -- Henry certainly defends her novels and says how much he enjoyed reading them. However here we have the final verdict as Ellen M. quotes: "Charming as were all Mrs. Radcliffe's works, and charming even were the works of all her imitators, it was not in them perhaps that human nature, at least in the midland counties of England, was to be looked for."
I also take this to indicate that JA intends to be a very different kind of writer and indeed already is. She is too much a genius to be an imitator of anyone, but I would say she is more like Fanny Burney than Ann Radcliffe -- in chapter 5, she expresses admiration of FB's novlels which display "the most thorough knowledge of human nature". I should add in all fairness that she includes Maria Edgeworth's Belinda in this passage. These are the women writers she seems to admire the most.
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