By Myra Stokes
The ebook goals to clarify what Jane Austen's psychological version of "character" used to be via studying intimately the vocabulary linked to all of the 4 major elements of that version - head, center, spirits, manners. this is often performed through reading different contexts during which Austen herself makes use of a note and likewise the way it used to be utilized in different similar literature of the interval. The research is meant to augment realizing and appreciation not just of Jane Austen's prose, yet that of early 19th-century writings quite often, via a close research of the actual interval connotations and denotations of the vocabulary used to explain personality. The examine is aimed toward sixth-form or undergraduate classes in literature, language or historical past of language.
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Extra resources for The Language of Jane Austen: A Study of Some Aspects of her Vocabulary
It could be what Jane Austen calls an 'eligible' marriage for Fanny on all sorts of grounds other than the social and economic advantages it would bring her; and that there are ultimately more important considerations making against her acceptance of Henry does not make that less true. Fanny, then, is conceded by even her best friend to want spirits.
The contrast with Elizabeth presents a muted version of that between Darcy and Bingley, for Elizabeth is revealed in their discussion of the Bingley sisters (in whom she sees more to criticize than does Jane) to have 'more quickness of observation and less pliancy of temper than her sister' (15) - which is not to say that either girl is foolish or ill-natured (any more than either Darcy or Bingley is). Jane Austen is using the traditional categories with more finesse than does, for instance, Thackeray in Vanity Fair in the more broadlydrawn contrast between the good heart and weak head of Amelia and the hard heart and shrewd head of Becky.
299) In both cases there is obvious irony at work at the expense of the speakers, who (using the established categories) are voicing a piece of easy wisdom everyone can attain to but few can apply correctly or objectively. Emma's judgement is clouded by her plans for Mr Elton, who is simply a fortune-hunting hypocrite. Robert Ferrars, a shallow and affected fool, has no right at all to patronize his elder brother's temperament or manners, which are both much superior to his own. Furthermore, the distrust of personal charm can itself become pathological - as in the case of Lady Russell and Frank Wentworth, who (possessed of charm and spirit unbelied by any deficiencies in sensitivity and judgement) is more or less Willoughby rehabilitated.