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Written by helena6
(3/10/2003 2:43 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, I didn't make myself very clear, I guess., penned by donald s. taylor
] I intended what I said as a commentary on her field of vision, not as political or social criticism. Henry Green is an interesting exception among modern writers from the upper classes--two of his best novels are about servants and factory workers: Loving and Living. JA seems to have no curiosity about what working people's lives were like. I would suppose she could have written a good, non-condescending novel about such people had they interested her.
I suppose I did not make myself clear as well.
She could have written about the lower classes around her. (though of factories she would likely know nothing.) But I suppose her lack of an attempt is a show of respect. IMHO there is nothing so disturbing as the habitually wealthy pretending they know what it is to be poor. Certainly Austen could have written about lower classes - she does well with many characters - the Martins, Mrs. Clay, William Larkins... But I guess her relegating them to the status of very minor characters was very consciously a sign of respect.
Privacy is a very strong theme is all the novels.
She doesn't expose the foundation of the wealth of her characters perhaps because there is nothing to expose.
I personally would have loved to read the book about William Larkins. That would have been one great story! The fact that she could sketch him so well in so short a span (and from the perspectives of others) to me shows she could have written it.
She tended to stick close to home. I am reminded of the request to write a novel about a sophisticated clergyman. She declines with great false modesty that she is too ignorant to write it. I presume she could have - but perhaps she felt she should write about what she knew more intimately.
Much has been made of her refusal to show servants - but she is equal uncomfortable with the political world and the nobility. Either end of her spectrum is narrowed.
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