Jane Austen: The Parson's Daughter (Hardback)

by Irene Collins

Format: Hardback 282 pages

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Jane Austen was a clergyman's daughter, related to other clergy, born and brought up in a parsonage. Many of her attributes, expressed in her novels, reflect this directly orr indirectly. Her father's reasoned and practical approach to religion, along with the range of books available to her in his library, shaped the moral outlook behind her criticism of individuals and of society. Her attitude to the gentry is subtly ambivalent. Accepted as a clergyman's daughter in local society, Jane Austen sometimes mirrors their prejudices, for example in her characterization of the haughty aristocrat Lady Catherine de Bourgh in "Pride and Prejudice". At the same time, her own position in gentry society gave her personal experience of the slights and snobberies inherent in the subtle class distinctions of the time. Over time she became more sensitive about the position of women without money of their own, and wrote in "Emma" of the lowered status of a parson's daughter who has died. Jane Austen's life coincided with her country's war against Revolutionary France. This text shows how she drew upon an extensive knowledge of wartime conditions not only in "Pride and Prejudice" with its militia regiment, and in "Mansfield Park" and "Persuasion" with their sailors, but also in "Sense and Sensibility", "Northanger Abbey" and even "Emma".

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Hambledon Continuum


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