Styles and themes of Jane Austen
| Styles and themes of Jane Austen ： ウィキペディア英語版|
Jane Austen's (1775–1817) distinctive literary style relies on a combination of parody, burlesque, irony, free indirect speech, and a degree of realism. She uses parody and burlesque for comic effect and to critique the portrayal of women in 18th-century sentimental and gothic novels. Austen extends her critique by highlighting social hypocrisy through irony; she often creates an ironic tone through free indirect speech in which the thoughts and words of the characters mix with the voice of the narrator. The degree to which critics believe Austen's characters have psychological depth informs their views regarding her realism. While some scholars argue that Austen falls into a tradition of realism because of her finely executed portrayal of individual characters and her emphasis on "the everyday", others contend that her characters lack a depth of feeling compared with earlier works, and that this, combined with Austen's polemical tone, places her outside the realist tradition.
Austen's novels have often been characterised as "country house novels" or as "comedies of manners", however they also include fairy tale elements. Compared to other early 19th-century novels, Austen's have little narrative or scenic description—they contain much more dialogue. Austen shapes a distinctive and subtly-constructed voice for each character.
Austen's plots are fundamentally about education; her heroines come to see themselves and their conduct more clearly, and become better, more moral people. While Austen steers clear of the formal moralising which was common in early 19th-century literature, morality—characterised by manners, duty to society, and religious seriousness—is a central theme of her works. Throughout her novels, serious reading is associated with intellectual and moral development. The extent to which Austen's novels reflect feminist themes has been extensively debated by scholars; however, most critics agree that her novels highlight how some female characters take charge of their own worlds while others are confined, physically and spiritually. Almost all of her works explore the precarious economic situation in which women of the late 18th and early 19th centuries found themselves.
Austen's novels have variously been described as politically conservative and progressive. For example, one strand of criticism claims that Austen's heroines support the existing social structure through their dedication to duty and sacrifice of their personal desires. Another strand, however, argues that she is sceptical of the paternalistic ruling other, evidenced by her ironic tone. Within her exploration of the political issues surrounding the gentry, Austen addresses issues relating money and property, particularly the arbitrariness of property inheritance and the precarious economic position of women. Throughout Austen's work there is a tension between the claims of society and the claims of the individual. Austen is often considered one of the originators of the modern, interiorised novel character.
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