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Jane Austen : Or The Secret of Style

Jane Austen : Or The Secret of Style - 03 edition

ISBN13: 978-0691123875

Cover of Jane Austen : Or The Secret of Style 03 (ISBN 978-0691123875)
ISBN13: 978-0691123875
ISBN10: 069112387X
Cover type:
Edition/Copyright: 03
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Published: 2003
International: No

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Jane Austen : Or The Secret of Style - 03 edition

ISBN13: 978-0691123875

D. A. Miller

ISBN13: 978-0691123875
ISBN10: 069112387X
Cover type:
Edition/Copyright: 03
Publisher: Princeton University Press

Published: 2003
International: No
Summary

What is the world-historical importance of Jane Austen? An old maid writes with the detachment of a god. Here, the stigmatized condition of a spinster; there, a writer's unequalled display of absolute, impersonal authority. In between, the secret work of Austen's style: to keep at bay the social doom that would follow if she ever wrote as the person she is.
For no Jane Austen could ever appear in Jane Austen. Amid happy wives and pathetic old maids, we see no successfully unmarried woman, and, despite the multitude of girls seeking to acquire "accomplishments," no artist either. What does appear is a ghostly No One, a narrative voice unmarked by age, gender, marital status, all the particulars that make a person--and might make a person peculiar. The Austen heroine must suppress her wit to become the one and not the other, to become, that is, a person fit to be tied in a conjugal knot. But for herself, Austen refuses personhood, with all its constraints and needs, and disappears into the sourceless anonymity of her style. Though often treasured for its universality, that style marks the specific impasse of a writer whose self-representation is impossible without the prospect of shame.
D.A. Miller argues this case not only through the close reading that Austen's style always demands, but also through the close writing, the slavish imitation, that it sometimes inspires.

Table of Contents

1 Secret love
2 No one is alone
3 Broken art
Afterimage

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