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Lecture 9

Lecture 9 - 131007.doc

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Deidre Lynch

Lecture 9 – 131007 “Love and Freindship”: - Second of these 3 volumes - Juvenilia – manuscript copies of Austen’s early writings o When Austen was between 11-17 years of age o “Love and Freindship” was written in 1719 (14 ½ years old) - Voice explicitly critical o Violent in humourous engagements Letter 3: “My father…” - She’s passive - “natural daughter” = illegitimate daughter o One would not advertise this; expresses a lack of awareness to social conventions and the shame that’s attached with the label - Narrator is positioning herself everywhere even though she is writing in England now o Convention of gothic romance – positioning the main character outside in the mysterious foreign o Satirizing this convention - “Sensibility too tremblingly alive” – emphasizing the tragedy that is her life o Vain claim to being sensitive - “sensibility” – a delicate and emotional physical susceptibility o Capacity for extreme refined emotion and quickness of display of compassion o One’s ability to feel all this is displayed through the body - A kind of philosophical incarnation – you see something suffering you ideally feel individual developing and coming to know themselves through these encounters - Because it’s associated with the body (blushing, swooning, fainting, etc.) in literature, there is some potential for artifice - Explicitly associated with novels and novelists in 1800s o Ex: Evelina - A valuable way of interacting with others – coming to understaidng other people and being a better person o On the other hand, it’s a dangerous philosophy – which Austen points out (sensibility of her characters and of the genre) Letter 5: “My natural sensibility…” and Letter 6: “The noble youth…” - Sensibility is referred in the passages - Being totally overtaken by someone so quickly – matter of time - The reference to time “no sooner than…” – too quick o Funny because it’s instantaneous - Sensibility is evoked her because it’s making everyone respond so instantaneously - Sensibility is presented as a vulnerability Letter 10: pg. 89: “This was too cruel…” and “I cannot go to Newgate…” - Another dimension in the critique of sensibility by Austen is that of the specific literary forms associated with it - Unrepenting – she doesn’t think she’s being wrong about anything but has been wronged - F.I.D. permits the incorporating different perspectives into a novel – relates this text and S+S - Epistolary form in this text emphasizes how highly sensible the woman is but suggests the inadequacies of the form - This text is also full of coincidences o Parody of the recognition of her grandfather o Letter 11: pg. 91: “Our intention was attracted…” – 3 other grandchildren walk in and he recognizes all of them  Austen is pointing to the improbability – she suggests explicitly in the 14 letter (“Oh heavens…”) that is not probable  Fairly comic in this period of time o Coincidences is one of the ways the novel gets things done – but Austen parodies this trope - Some of the ways in which sensibility is associate with the body o Letter 11: Edward dies, “Sophia immediately…”  How would she ever have seen herself?  Clear that on the one hand, there are familiar descriptions for heroines • Yet in the first person narrative, you’re just assuming how your feelings are affecting your body  Supposed susceptibility is being converted after the fact of the description of what she must’ve looked like – because she’s so aware of what she must’ve looked like, it means that she might be acting or it presents a sort of artifice o Letter 14: Sophia is continually passing out on the ground and Laura keeps running around, “Beware of fainting fits…”  Silly world/story of these series of events about sins and problems of sensible characters  Also kind of genuine with a hint of sincerity  There is danger and vulnerability  Ideally, sensibility had a moral and ethical point – if you were genuinely sensitive to other people, you’d be a better person and make better moral choices and be more generous to others • Rather than morality, sensibility leads the characters to be more self-centered, liars, etc. – too interested in the feelings and opinions of others - Humourous and strong critique of sensibility - Sensibility develops these themes in slightly more complicated ways - This is not the condemnation of this theme but more of a fun image of this literature o Shows that a 14 year old can read these texts with such detachment – usually it’s the other way around as young girls usually read these texts and thought of them as real o The text seems t
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