Posted by Caroline on August 17, 1998 at 14:13:01:
In response to Daring Writer?, written by sn on August 17, 1998 at 13:30:27
Okay, first things first.
I don't know who I'm talking to here....in Pemberley we prefer real names, as we find it keeps things more friendly.There's only one exception to this rule, and there are good reasons why that one is allowed.I'm afraid I find sn a bit impersonal, somehow. Could you please have a look at the newcomer's board, and the FAQ? if you want to keep sn, then you are going to have to explain why, and that's done on the newcomer's board.
Now to your question. Jane Austen is a keen lady, and her heroines are often witty. Not all of them, however, are as overtly attractive as Elizabeth. If your suggestion that JA might have had a feminist agenda is based upon Lizzy and Emma's personalites, I think you are on shaky ground, because some of her other heroines, Anne Elliot and Fanny Price in particular, don't have it. I'd also maintain that the witty heroine has been a feature of literature from time immemorial...Shakespeare has some very witty ones, and far more adventurous that either Lizzy or Emma. Many eighteenth century heroines, written by both men and women, show spunk, indepedence, and wit, as well as courage and morality. Some of these are found in the authors that JA is supposed to have favoured- novels by Maria Edgeworth, Samuel Richardson, and Samuel Johnson.(And some of them are great reads, too!)) So I think you are being a bit unfair to the eighteenth century in your assumption of what people expected 'back then'.
As you can see from the archived conversations, there were feminist writings in plenty around in JA's time- the most famous being Mary Wolstonecroft's stuff. It is definitely possible that JA read these and formed an opinion on them, and it's also possible that her opinions show up in her writings. Personally, I cannot convince myself that she was a 'feminist' in the sense of being out to change the status of women at large, that she was following in Mary Woolstonecroft's footsteps,or that she expected to arouse the general public from sloth in the thinking of such things.I think she wrote stories for the fun of it.They just happen to be thought-provoking, even 200 years later.
- a dissertation in 2 paragraphs : ) Brenda T. 09:07:46 8/18/98 (0)
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