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<---More Recent 138. Phraseological Units 137. Value of Early Edition 136. Cynicism/Realism in S&S 135. Darcy & Bingley Earlier Answers-->

Name:Madhvi Prabhakar
Question 139 I've been asked to do a project on your novel P&P. I am finding myself a bit confused in topic about character and characterisation  and wwith expalining that i have to explain the character of Elizabeth .. could you help me in this?
Reply Dear Madhvi,

Elizabeth is a spirited, intelligent person who knows how to love, but in a discriminating way. She is fond of her elder sister as a sweet and undesigning person who will not enter into Mrs Bennet's calculating style with respect to 'getting husbands'. She appreciates her father's intelligence and affection for her but deprecates his contemptuous ironies about his silly wife and his withdrawal from a sense of involvement in family matters (in a sense Elizabeth and Jane are the only daughters he accepts as truly 'his', with terrible results). She would despise Charlotte Lucas's idea that she would marry Darcy even if she hates him for the sake of money and consequence. Darcy falls for her thanks to her intelligence, spirited converse or discourse, affectionate attitude to her sister when ill, and he actually comes to like her more because she has the integrity to refuse him at Hunsford because he has spoilt Jane's chance of happiness (as it appears); she was also deceived with respect to Wickham's character and his effects on Darcy (and his sister Georgiana). She has already turned down a Mr Collins who thought she must accept him due to her (relative) poverty. She will only marry for love, and love of the right sort of person. Now please go through the book yourself and find some other points for yourself. You will enjoy this!

With best wishes.

Jane Austen.

December 4, 2008 20:05:32 (GMT Time)

Name:Antonia                     Top
Question 138 Hello! My name's Antonina and I need your help very much! I'm writing a master's graduation project on the theme: "The usage of phraseological units in Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice as the means of expressing emotions of love and admiring". Can you help me? What style does the author use in writing? What are the main types of phraseological units she uses? Maybe you have some kind of information, material or can advise sorces of information... I would be very grateful!:)
Reply Dear Antonia,

Sorry about the delay, especially given your correctly anguished response. I fear you may have bitten off even more than I can chew, and I momentarily wondered if you might go in search of another subject. However, I suppose an MA is likely to be demanding. I'd not be in too much of a hurry to put the two areas you mention together. Browsing the phraseological unit area will decrease one's feeling of intimidation (or so one hopes), and you might try enjoying my or relishing my book until you are thoroughly familiar with it. It is a love story, after all. We can't ascribe one style alone to it. In a letter after publication in 1813 I claimed ironically that it was 'too light and bright and sparkling'. It shuttles between witty dialogue often modelled on stage plays which were bright and witty, from the Restoration in 1660 to my own time (1775-1817), especially the work of Sheridan and Congreve, and the voice of the narrator is itself ironic and entertaining, and often draws close to the consciousness of a character I like, especially that of the heroine Elizabeth Bennet. Its realism is less insistent on supplying details of the immediate context, whether indoor or outdoor, and in that respect not terribly like, that of the more solidly and centrally realistic novels of the later 19th century which follow (Dickens, Flaubert and so on). Close attention to the language is likely to be rewarding as my novel is as carefully composed as a poem (we expect poems to be scrutinised more closely in this way). At least your area of study makes for a fresh approach. Most criticism of Austen is not so scientifically focussed although a critic called Burrow has some computation-based studies (I have a posthumous awareness of these things), so the field is terrifyingly clear. I've been looking at D J Allerton Najda Nesselhauf Paul Skandera Phraseological Units: Basic concepts and their application Schwabe. 2004, and, really, I was thinking of how annoying it would be if someone had already taken such an approach to Austen (not that book has anything like a unity of approach). For general information you could consult the Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen and there's a very well informed biography by Claire Tomalin which has lots of useful information about the novels and the social context in which they were written. David Lodge's After Bakhtin is a very lucid exposition of a very original thinker about prose fiction and creative language, and he's Russian (Bakhtin, not Lodge, I mean)! Some of it is about Austen, but I found the more general parts even more informative.

With best wishes.

Jane Austen.

October 13, 2008 03:04:49 (GMT Time)

Name:Stephen O'Brien                     Top
Question 137 I'm trying to determine the publishing date (and possibly the value) of what seems like an early edition of Austen's Sense and Sensibility. The book has no date listed, but was published by George Routledge and Sons. I've attached a several images for you to consider and hope you will respond, if not with answers, then perhaps directing me to other sources that might have them.
Reply Dear Stephen,

I’m sorry about the delay in responding to your query. I’m afraid we don’t have the expertise to offer ideas of what your Sense and Sensibility edition might be worth. Routledge seem to have issued an S&S c. 1851, and reissued it or reprinted it in the early 1870s. Even if the copy belongs to the later reprints, it may be a fairly rare one: my work was given a fillip by a ground-breaking memoir of me written by my nephew James-Henry Austen, published in 1869, even if a verger in Winchester Cathedral was still asking mid-Victorian visitors just what it was that made my tomb so very interesting. And despite the strongly appreciative notice written by Lord Macauley in 1843 and the appreciative treatment meted to me by G.H.Lewes, the intellectual partner of George Eliot, Austen-mania and the Jane-ite-ism ironically celebrated by Kipling in a short story of 1924 hadn’t yet arrived. I had of course died young (aged 41) in 1817, and after my death her work had fallen into relative, although not absolute neglect.  

With best wishes,  

Jane Austen.

If you haven't seen it yet, you may wish to take a look at Question 18

June 23, 2008 08:06:12 (GMT Time)

Name:Alex Crow                     Top
Question 136 I was wondering if Jane Austen was a cynic or a realist (in reference to Sense and Sensibility)
Reply Dear Alex,

Yes, interestingly the key words have mutual involvement in that I am merely realistic in showing people acting cynically, but of course as this is creative writing of mine, I bring this cynical behaviour into being, even if it also represents social facts or factors. People may be encouraging a ‘cynical’ response which is not in itself cynicism even when acting self-righteously, if despicably, according to social conventions, like John Dashwood, an enclosing landlord who reclaims common land and wild nature, cuts down trees, and thinks of nothing but money, yet is at the same time bullied by his deliberately hysterical wife, who also embodies mean-spiritedness and venality; pursues a course of sustained hypocrisy in wealth creation for himself. This is ‘realistic’. Also realistic is the portrait of a Lucy who toadies her way to the top through sustained hypocrisy; she may have loved Edward Ferrars but has already been noted as condemning brother Robert as a snob and a fop, so she can hardly be seen as feeling anything for him as she marries him and enters on the path to what Mrs Jennings calls ‘money and greatness’, and such is her craven deference to horrid old Mrs Ferrars that she can even express ‘gratitude for the unkindness with which she is treated.

Mrs J is a warm-hearted, encouraging character, and the two Dashwood girls, the heroines, although cast in differing moulds, are both admirable. Cynicism would be hard put to it to find such characters and actions. Equally realistic on the cynical side (but if one is not ‘cynical’ does one deny that people can act from interested or despicable motives?); my portrait of Willoughby, well analysed by Elinor (this reveals much about my thinking), is psychologically realistic, showing him displeased with a marriage which brings merely money, while he would have been equally unhappy with a marriage to the comparatively impoverished Marianne, although she is good, beautiful and idealistic. I show high-minded, un-lucre-led thinking in the case of the sisters, admirable portraits of how women should be, their faults arising from a sort of excessive idealism vulnerable in a cynical self-interested milieu. (though, ironically, Marianne seems more assume more money necessary to a tolerable existence than Elinor.

My novel is even romantic in the additional sense that if the sisters correspond to sense and sensibility they may also be seen as corresponding in a different way to myself and my sister, with high aims and standards, and we never ‘achieved’ husbands and separate households at all! But the ending is muted: Marianne gets her colonel money and land, in the form of someone she thought specifically unfit for a lover, and Elinor her excellent but perhaps slightly dull Edward?? Perhaps even a wishful-thinking conclusion to a degree, then, but muted by realism--did Marianne really love Col. Brandon ? Is wonderful Elinor perhaps falling short in some way? It’s hard to say this is cynicism, however. Please pursue your own thought about this.



April 16, 2008 17:25:02 (GMT Time)

Name:Sacha Sacha                     Top
Question 135 I've been asked to write a project on Pride and Prejudice and I would like you to help me with the character of Mr. Darcy. I need to find connections and differences between Darcy and Charles Bingley's personality in the novel.
Reply Dear Sacha,

Darcy and Bingley are drawn as deliberately contrasting characters. Bingley is enriched by trade, ingenuous, unwary, unsure of himself and thus the possible prey of designing people. There is a connection between his character and that of the unwary, affectionate Jane Bennet, and Elizabeth feels a solicitude about her as Darcy does with respect to the naive Charles Bingley (e.g. 'I had often seen him in love before' [Darcy to Elizabeth in the letter following Elizabeth's rejection of his proposal in Hunsford]). Darcy is a landowner of ancient lineage, wary, guarded, highly intelligent (like Elizabeth), and not so eager to please and easy to please, able to see through people and particularly with respect to interested motives. He is a more formidable character and does have a tendency to personal and family pride, a pride which Bingley is without. Ironically, this is seen to be not altogether a good thing. Darcy shows a good deal of stubbornness and determination, for example in seeking out the Mrs Younge he loathes in order to locate the errant young tearaways Lydia and Wickham, and one imagines Bingley would be more easily deflected. Darcy is an introvert, while Bingley can be almost gushing. Any discussion would accommodate the idea that both are in their ways good people and each has a concern about the other, and others. Darcy reins himself in, but also feels a need to rein Bingley in. Really, this is only a start, but it could precede your own investigations, (interesting confirming points in the text, etc. which can be a pleasure, not a chore.

With best wishes,

Jane Austen.

March 30, 2008 16:21:15 (GMT Time)