Posted by Hil on January 13, 1998 at 21:39:00:
In response to Making the ordinary, the everyday the ideal , written by Erin on January 12, 1998 at 23:33:51
] Yes, balance is nice, and for Austen it is the guiding virtue, which is more articulated than you suggest with your example, let me tell you why:
] I cannot base a correct understanding of Austen's 'morality' (and the disclosure of it in her novels) on what she did not articulate, even though such an idea may be tempered by the possibility of self-censorship on Austen's part. I have come to believe with some certainty that Austen posited an ideal existence possibility grounded in Enlightenment thought (primarily an idea of freedom of self determined through rational reflection --I would point you to one of the many biographies/histories of Austen and her era for affirmation of this statement) and a Christian spiritual ethic (which promotes obedience to the social order). I do not view her ideal as unconditionally radical. She is an author who is keenly aware of the rules and rituals of her society; and offers, through her heroines, an ideal that can fundamentally be defined as symmetrical. As such, Austen also criticizes (through satire) some of the absurdities wrought by the rules/rituals, e.g., in the end, Lydia's marrige is considered necessary and 'good', even though it is preceived by many that Wickham's a lout.
] A frequent visitor to our pages once described to me why she enjoys Austen so much. I think it's a wonderful description of the virtue of Austen's work:
there is a lot of fun to be had from the Janeite point of view (clothes, dances, love, romances...) but the moral infrastructure is so awe-inspiringly solid and functional--stainless steel-clad principles like surgical instruments for dissecting society's ills!
I agree! And thats a great quote, Erin. Thankyou.
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