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Why Jane Austen?$
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Rachel Brownstein

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231153911

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231153911.001.0001

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(p.237) Afterwords
Why Jane Austen?

Rachel M. Brownstein

Columbia University Press

This afterword concludes that contrary to the main current of popular opinion today, Jane Austen's novels are not first and foremost about pretty girls in long dresses waiting for love and marriage. Real evils are represented in all her novels, not only the unpleasantness of boredom, homelessness, and the governess trade, and what Sense and Sensibility (1811) calls “the strange unsuitableness which often existed between husband and wife,” but also ruined lives, dangerous illnesses, urban riots, the slave trade, and foreign wars. Winston Churchill said that he read Pride and Prejudice (1813) for respite while suffering from a fever and directing World War II, but even the “calm lives” of the characters in the novel are shadowed by envy, spite, foolishness, and fraud.

Keywords:   Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, Winston Churchill, Pride and Prejudice

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