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Analysis: Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

Here’s Ralph Waldo Emerson’s opinion of Jane Austen:

"I am at a loss to understand why people hold Miss Austen's novels at so high a rate, which seem to me vulgar in tone, sterile in artistic invention, imprisoned in their wretched conventions of English society, without genius, wit, or knowledge of the world. Never was life so pinched and narrow. [...] All that interests in any character [is this]: has he (or she) the money to marry with? [...] Suicide is more respectable." (Source)

Charlotte Bronte wasn’t a huge fan of Austen, either. Here’s what she has to say:

"I have likewise read one of Miss Austen's works, Emma – read it with interest and with just the degree of admiration which Miss Austen herself would have thought sensible and suitable – anything like warmth or enthusiasm, anything energetic, poignant, or heartfelt, is utterly out of place in commending these works: all such demonstrations the authoress would have met with a well bred sneer, would have calmly scorned as outré and extravagant. She does her business of delineating the surface of the lives of genteel English people curiously well; there is a Chinese fidelity, a miniature delicacy in the painting: she ruffles her reader by nothing vehement, disturbs him by nothing profound: the Passions are perfectly unknown to her; she rejects even a speaking acquaintance with that stormy Sisterhood; even to the Feelings she vouchsafes no more than an occasional graceful but distant recognition; too frequent converse with them would ruffle the smooth elegance of her progress." (Source)

Jane Austen’s editor dedicated Emma to George, the Prince Regent of England. Jane wasn’t so thrilled about this – for obvious reasons. See our section on "Setting" – or this article - for more details! (Source)

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