Posted by P. Bingham on July 05, 1998 at 18:28:55:
In response to Dr. Fordyce, written by P. Bingham on July 05, 1998 at 16:51:38
I didn't mean to bring this subject up as a 'feminist' discussion. I thought we had already thoroughly hashed that a while back. And so I was not trying to compare Austen and Wollstonecraft.
But I was intrigued by the mention that two of Jane's novels might have been rejected in light of the situation that had blackened Wollstonecraft. I don't feel that the writer meant that Jane's writing was similar to Wollstonecraft's but that something in Jane's writing (specifically in these two books, although part of the problem was that a 'lady' was writing in the first place... but then I can't recall right off other women writers which undoubtedly managed to get published during this period) might have brought out some criticism the publisher (and likely Austen) would have been more comfortable without. Death by association is a powerful concept which has appeared throughout history.
I think it is possible that if these books were published, and there was some controversy connected with Austen, and undoubtedly caused by large misunderstanding and utterly bad timing (because of Wollstonecraft), perhaps during our time we would be trying to defend Austen's obscure association with feminism (after years of 'bad press') rather than trying to find something which would associate her with Wollstonecraft and/or feminism in general. I hope that made sense. That sounded a little awkward!
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