Posted by Kathleen (Kaf) on July 20, 1997 at 11:24:43:
I'm reading a biography of Jane Austen right now and am fascinated by the parallels the author has drawn between Jane and her characters in this book. For example:
When Jane describes Miss Bates by saying "Her youth had passed without distinction, and her middle life was devoted to the care of a failing mother, and the endeaver to make a small income go as far as possible" could be a piece of wistful, ironic self-portraiture.
The author also suggests that Mr. Woodhouse is probably a male version of Mrs. Austen. Like Jane's mother, he hates to go anywhere and is a hypochondriac who (to quote EMMA) "could not meet her in conversation, rational or playful."
Emma Woodhouse lives in a place which 'afforded her no equals' and so suffers from 'intellectual solitude', which must certainly have been true of Jane.
Emma's advice to Harriet on the subject of Robert Martin's proposal is identical to that given by Jane to her niece Fanny in connection with the suit of John Plumtre.
The relationship between Emma and Mrs. Weston has parallels to that bewteen Jane and Cassandra - "There was not a creature in this world to whom she spoke with such unreserve; not any one, to whom she related with such conviction of being listened to and understood".
And then, of course, Emma's views on marriage - "I must see somebody very superior to anyone I have seen yet, to be tempted" - are very much those of Jane Austen.
What other similarities have you noticed?