Balance in Persuasion and P&P
Posted by Patrick on January 19, 1998 at 15:41:49:
In response to Looking at Patrick's question from a slightly different angle, written by Caroline on January 15, 1998 at 18:47:20
] Also, Patrick, I think it hasn't been said, but been implied that JA perhaps moved away from the enlightenment ideal as she got older. Do you see less "balance" in Persuasion, than in P&P? Do you see less of the "man is intrinsically good, society is what makes him bad" in Persuasion than in her other works?
Sorry to take so long to respond on this. There was a death in my family last week - not a very close relative, but someone I liked and admired - so I have been out of town at the funeral.
Anyway, in answer to your question, do I see less balance in Persuasion than in P&P, I have to say that I see so little "balance" in P&P that I could scarcely see less in Persuasion. What I see less of in Persuasion is words. I don't mean that facetiously. As I have said somewhere else in this thread, I see Persuasion as a sort of distillation of the ideas in P&P. I am struck by the depth of feeling in Persuasion, and how central it is in the story. It may be central in P&P, too, but it is harder to tell there because there is so much going on.
As for the "man is intrinsically good, society makes him bad" idea, again, I don't see this in P&P. It seems a canard anyway, since people make society, and in my own humble view we do not escape responsibility by being one of a crowd. What JA seems to me to be saying is more like "emotional is intrinsically good, but objective measurement makes it bad."
I think Mansfield Park is the most "Enlightenment-based" of her novels---am I right?
This question is properly addressed to citizens of Pemberley who know what they're talking about - Erin, for example. Any comment, Erin or other knowledgeable types?
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