Flashcards in E. Form Deck (2)
Blends realism and romance (as in later novels, e.g. 'Jane Eyre' ). Comic – irony and caricature. Importance of letters (link to earlier epistolary novels). Novel of manners (analyses Structure
Pride and Prejudice is a novel. Today writing a novel is the most likely choice for an author to make, as the novel has become the dominant literary form, but when Jane Austen was growing up people read essays or even sermons for entertainment. Poetry was also more widely read then than now. (You might like to ask yourself why Jane Austen did not write poetry or sermons.)
Austen’s family were enthusiastic about adapting, producing and acting in plays. The influence of drama can clearly be seen in her skill with dialogue and in her description of characters’ movements, which sound almost like stage directions.
Austen owed part of her literary style to the eighteenth-century tradition of essay writing. Essays were relatively short pieces of prose which might be humorous or didactic (written to teach something) and usually commented on some aspect of behaviour or a social issue. They were primarily read for entertainment and for the pleasure of their clear structure and good style.
In Pride and Prejudice Austen laughs at Mr Collins for reading Fordyce’s Sermons (a best-selling book of the period).
You can detect the influence of essays in Austen’s use of rhetoric and in the self-contained organisation of her chapters. In her chapter openings, a situation, time or place is firmly established. Chapter endings are often more reflective, offering a summary or judgement on what has just taken place, and cliffhangers are rare, though there is a strong sense of expectation in the last sentence of Volume 2.