Jane Austen

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Jane Austen, a British writer, had a great influence on the development of English novel. She started writing when she was very young and, as she grew up, she used to correct the novels she had written in her youth before publishing them. Pride and Prejudice, for example, is the remake of the youthful work First Impressions. In Pride and Prejudice she underlines the role of women and the social convention in Victorian Age. It deals with the love stories of the five Bennet girls that have to fight against their family prejudices and pride; at that time it was definitely not easy for women to impose their will and ideas against prejudices.

Even if Jane Austen’s works are on the edge of Romantic style (that was appreciated by her contemporaries), they had a great success both of public and critic thanks to the attention paid to the little details of daily life.

While Jane Austen was getting more and more important as a writer, we find out from her letters that her “daily bread” was the feminine novel of that period. She used to read Harriet Burney, Jane West, Anne Grant, Elisabeth Hamilton…

The difference between Jane Austen and these writers is so remarkable that is easy for us to understand how they helped her: like Jane Austen, they were women who wrote and published their works; they represented a useful comparison in her attempt to represent in words the reality, as it appeared to a woman. She didn’t look for a model among the few male writers she knew, like her beloved Samuel Johnson or the famous Walter Scott. She preferred female writers because with these she had the simplest correspondence related to reality, where the great artist, woman or man, works and excels. The result will be seven perfect novels that make of Jane Austen a master of English prose and modem novel.

The culture we get still retains some feminine-origin products but not their deep meaning: that’s why these products seemed to have been created by a masculine way of thinking, till a political experience made of relationships with women made us better understand past events. This way we found out that, since ancient times, women have been working hard to establish social relationships that could be favourable both for them and the other women, and that women greatness often fed on thoughts and energies moving round among them.

di Alice Fusè

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