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|Romanticism in Persuasion
Written by Line
(10/3/2005 5:56 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, The 'sweets of poetical despondance', penned by Barbara
The streak of romanticism in Persuasion struck me too, including the one in ch.5 where Anne doesn't want to go to Bath partly because she is "grieving to forego all the influence so sweet and so sad of the autumnal months in the country". As Patricia Meyer Spacks, the editor of the Norton Critcal Edition, puts it in her preface:
Those [readers] with a literary-historical bent have noted the incursion of attitudes and assumptions that we associate with romanticism: the novelist who once mocked Marianne's enthusiasm for dead leaves (in S&S) now allows her heroine, without overt criticism, to take pleasure in evidence of the "declining year". (p.ix)
A. Walton Litz claims in his(?) essay "New Landscapes" (NCE p.219) that JA was clearly influenced by the Romantic poetry of the early 19th century, especially Byron, Wordsworth and Scott. In a woman who was always interested in the literary trends of her day, this makes sense to me. Not to say that JA would ever have been mistaken for one of the Brontes, but if she had lived another 20 years or more, I wonder if her writing would have changed with the times and become more "romantic"?
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