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Jane Austen and the War of Ideas$
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Marilyn Butler

Print publication date: 1988

Print ISBN-13: 9780198129684

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198129684.001.0001

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Persuasion and Sanditon

Persuasion and Sanditon

(p.275) Chapter 12 Persuasion and Sanditon
Jane Austen and the War of Ideas

Marilyn Butler

Oxford University Press

The pressures on Jane Austen to make some adjustments in her style were very strong indeed. The basic characteristic of the Christian was now felt to be her rich inner life, compared with the trivial, unthinking, external lives of those in society. Unfortunately, Austen's form, the basic plot of all six novels, continues to reflect the orthodoxy of the years of her youth. For all the world like Marianne, Captain Frederick Wentworth comes to recognize that he has been blinded by pride and self-sufficiency, and to admit that real strength lies outside the self. And it is the Wentworth motif-acting out, like all the Austen plots, humility and submission — which gives Persuasion its resolution and its over-all form; while the flow of Anne's consciousness sets the tone, and implicitly points to a very different valuation of the consciousness.

Keywords:   Jane Austen, plot, orthodoxy, pride, strength, self, humility, submission, Persuasion

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