Dbq Jane Austen

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Title:A contemporary's view of Jane Austen. Author(s):Lorna J. Clark. Source:Notes and Queries 43.n4 (Dec 1996): pp418(3). (1070 words) Document Type:Magazine/Journal Bookmark:Bookmark this Document Library Links: • Abstract: Sarah Harriet Burney is the daughter of a musicologist who, until her dying day, was an avowed fan of Jane Austen's. A fiction writer herself, Burney was also a critic who valued the writing of her contemporaries, Austen and Sir Walter Scott. Of 'Pride and Prejudice,' Burney claimed that she read it with much joy and amusement. She also enjoyed other Austen novels, including 'Emma,' 'Sense and Sensibility' and 'Mansfield Park.' Although Austen herself found Burney's 'Clarentine' foolish, full of unnatural…show more content…
As well as writing fiction, Burney was an avid reader and critic, who recorded her judgements 'with pen and ink in my little private reviews'.(1) Her letters attest to the range and scope of her reading and her awareness of current literary developments. Of the writers in her day, she valued the moral utility of Maria Edgeworth and the originality of James Fenimore Cooper. But her highest praise was reserved for two of her contemporaries, Sir Walter Scott and Jane Austen. Her admiration of Scott as the 'most spirit-stirring Author'(2) is less unusual than her recognition of the genius of Austen, for whose work she was an immediate enthusiast. On reading Pride and Prejudice for the first time, Burney recorded her first…show more content…
She was particularly struck with the phrase, the old man's '"gentle selfishness". Was there ever a happier expression?'(5) One cannot help but wonder if the phrase may have had some personal resonance for Sarah Harriet Burney, the unmarried daughter who remained at home to nurse an elderly father who became somewhat peevish and hypochondriacal in his old age (and also left her very little at his death). What Burney relished in Austen was the 'humour and wit' which she wished that she could emulate in her own writing. She referred to an acquaintance who 'likes to languish over stories stuffed, as she says herself, as full of love as a rich plum pudding is full of plums' but confessed: I never insert love but to oblige my readers: if I could give them humour and wit, however, I should make bold to skip the love, and think them well off into the bargain. But writing for the press ... cramps my genius, & makes me weigh my words, and write as you call it
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