16 July 2006

Todd, Janet. "Jane Austen, Politics, and Sensibility." Feminist Criticism. ed. Susan Sellers. Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 1991.

Todd examines Austen's use of sensibility as a political too. The sensibility Austen uses is tempered by reality; her heroines learn and grow, rather than stagnantly screaming. She did not like sensibility, and used her work both to show its negative effects(e.g. Catherine Moreland) and how they could be overcome. Sentimental literature not only reinforced conservative norms of aristocracy and airheadedness, it also, in many instances, enforced the emotions which did this upon the reader involuntarily, through its narrative techniques.

Austen detested sensibility, so her work, when it does show political colors, lines up against this "feminine" notion--thus making her appear more conservative than she may in fact have been. it also mirrors reality--a patriarchal reality--well, so her heroines do marry(only Emma, I understand, makes it on her own).


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