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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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Introduction to 1975 Edition

Introduction to 1975 Edition

(p.1) Introduction to 1975 Edition
Jane Austen and the War of Ideas

Marilyn Butler

Oxford University Press

This book shows that the novels of Jane Austen's day, hers included, were full of signs that conveyed opinions. This was not to be one of those undifferentiated and necessarily very selective accounts of the ‘background’ that generalize about the workings of power or hegemony if they are in the Marxist tradition, or describe the Zeitgeist or spirit of the age if they are not. This book argues that the practices of novelists in the late eighteenth century were less aesthetic, less separate from society, than modern critics are in the habit of insisting on. One can speak of Austen's participation, without hazardous speculation about her personal opinions, because she chose to write novels of a particular pre-existent type, and chose to publish them.

Keywords:   Jane Austen, novels, power, hegemony, eighteenth century, novelists, opinions

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