Art in the period of Jane Austen Dec07

Art in the period of Jane Austen...

The author Jane Austen is famous for her novels such as Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Emma. She is, to this day, wildly popular with readers. Her works stand the test of time for their comedy and their domestic realism, but many people don’t know about the context of her work. She was writing satire in response to a popular novel form of the day called the sentimental novel. Sentimental novels were closely related to Gothic novels in that the authors wished to evoke a strong emotional response in the reader through what some have called a “language of tears.” The novels feature dramatic plot points in order to progress feelings of emotion more than any workings of plot. In some ways these novels were the forerunner of the romantic comedy genre. They were designed to teach conduct to young ladies on the proper way to behave. In this we may get a glimpse into the lighthearted anarchy of Jane Austen’s writing style in her satires of current popular fiction. Critics argue that Austen’s novels did not always satirize the genre of sentimental fiction, and actually might have lingered upon the edge of it at times, just with more realism and less sensationalism than other authors might have attempted. It’s widely agreed that her writing was a transition point toward realism that began to dominate the literary scene in the 19th century. So the novel pendulum can first be seen swinging away from the rationality of the Augustan Age, into sentimentality, and then moving back again with Jane Austen and others toward the dawn of realism. Some of Austen’s contemporaries in this field were Elizabeth Barrett Browning and George Eliot, as well as Charles Dickens. Austen lived through the era known as...

Writer’s Journey: True Characterization...

Compared to any other form of writing, the novel is the most psychological, followed closely by the short story.  A short story may not have as much time for psychological delving, and by its shorter word count, becomes limited in introspection, but the greatest function of both narratives is to delve the inner soul or consciousness of its characters as much as possible. E.M. Forster said that a “novel’s success lies in its own sensitiveness, not in the success of its subject-matter.”  By sensitivity, it’s the empathy of the author in question.  A writer must be keen enough to pick up the reflection of the world around them, even if they are writing about a story that took place in another time or on another world.  Character is that reflection; character brings any subject matter to life.  To find character, one must treat the novel as a psychological journey. The word psychological may be off-putting to several people but it’s the best modern word for the subjective narrative experience.  There are novels that are less psychological and focus almost entirely upon pure story-telling, but they are usually classified as adventure novels, or exist in a category of some field like science-fiction where the play of words is focused upon technology and world-building for a good reason.  Isaac Asimov is a good example of this.  And we only need to look at Robinson Crusoe for a classic example of an adventure tale. But the psychology found in novels is not to be equated with modern concepts of weekly therapy sessions, so-called happy pills, or even how the writer feels about his or her mother.  It’s more subjective in its analysis and was traditionally known as building character.  It becomes social psychology when readers pick up...