Its for the mystery of it!
Posted by Charlotte on April 30, 1998 at 11:59:39:
In response to ---shire, written by Stephanie Anne on April 30, 1998 at 11:19:58
The reason why Austen, like many other 19th Century authors wrote names and places in this way, with the dashes at the beginning or end, was in order to retain a kind of anonymity about the place or person being written about. She and others used this technique to infer that she was infact talking about a specific place or person without actually naming them exactly. This encouraged the reader therefore to play a sort of guessing game as to where or whom she was referring to making it of exciting and a little bit dangerous that she may actually be talking about someone or somewhere famous. The technique also served to keep some of the settings of the books as indefinite as possible, in order that the reader may be able to imagine the scenes and situations happening in their own county instead of specifically naming a county which of course many readers may not have been familiar with, mobility around England not being what it is today. But I really feel the main reason was that Jane Austen wanted to be daring, suggesting that characters and places in her novel were real without having to name them, leaving this up to the reader's imagination (sort of like today when film writers show a disclaimer at the end of their films disassociating it with any real life characters and situations in order to avoid liable suits being filed!)
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