Posted by gkb on January 28, 1998 at 23:58:38:
In response to Jane Austen and E.M. Forster, written by MB on January 28, 1998 at 16:24:12
What time period are we talking about, so I can understand the context of Comes the Revolution cant--was this the 20's, just after the 1917 uprising, in the 30's when people were so down in the Depression, or...? Doris Lessing has some interesting thoughts on what it was to be a Communist in Southern Africa during her youth. Apparently, there was a great deal of conversion to a fervently held ideal by a lot of thoughtful and concerned people. But she does say that many of the converts suffered a sort of blindness to reality that seems to be what Forster was opposed to.
Austen was living in a time of Britain's tremendous naval power and also the enclosing of common lands that were a source of shared wealth for the lower classes. I think one has to work fairly hard to find a handle for any political beliefs in her miniatures of realism. Where did she stand on the question of slavery? Of land enclosure? Of American and French Revolutions? The little bits of ivory do not support these large panoramic views!
But as for joining two kinds of knowledge, I think Austen did this as well--the knowledge of the social appearnace and the knowledge of the heart.
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