Life and Art
Posted by Helen on March 11, 1998 at 14:26:43:
Unfortunately I don't have either the time or the money to participate in this group read :-( so I'm following the discussions here with interest to read it vicariously, as it were... ;-)
People were discussing below about how JA's books don't portray the same kind of extended family relationships she herself experienced: I think some of this is to do with artistic economy (eg. Elizabeth Bennet doesn't have a large circle of friends, just her sister and Charlotte Lucas, both of whom also play an important part in the plot - random characters eg. the girl who sits beside Elizabeth after dinner when she wants to speak to Darcy disrupt our feeling that we know the world of the novel well). But also I think it has to do with breaking away from one's own family and environment, where every relationship can be constricting because of the ties of love, affection and experience: in creating characters who are independent emotionally of their parents, she liberates them to experience life unfettered by the pigeon-holes their families have placed them in.
I think that this is especially true of her earlier characters: Elizabeth, Catherine Morland and Elinor and Marianne all are able to go on long journeys away from home and encounter new worlds. But it seems as JA got older, she returned to the problem of the heroine's relationship with her family - in Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion this subject is not part of the scene-setting, but to some extent what the book turns on.
So those of you who have the biographical information at hand, is this a sensible conjecture for me to make? And it has been noted below (I'm sorry, I can never remember who posts what, please do forgive me) that there are aspects of her novels which are obviously drawn from life - but what is in her books that evidently departs from her own experience?
(I hope you excuse my joining in this discussion without having read the book - I have skimmed it, and I've even given it to someone else, but I daren't lose myself in Austenland at the moment :-( )
Posting followups to old messages is disabled; instead go to the main index and post a new message which mentions this one.