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Jane Austen’s Erotic Advice$
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Sarah Raff

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199760336

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199760336.001.0001

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“She Felt Its Application to Herself”: Persuasion’s Consolations

“She Felt Its Application to Herself”: Persuasion’s Consolations

(p.130) Chapter 5 “She Felt Its Application to Herself”: Persuasion’s Consolations
Jane Austen’s Erotic Advice

Sarah Raff

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 suggests that in Persuasion, Austen comes to terms with her experience as advisor to Fanny Knight by renouncing her claim to teach her readers. This novel replaces the erotics of instruction that had underpinned the Pygmalionism of Emma and Northanger Abbey with what Raff calls an erotics of mutual application, in which the generalization, repurposed, serves not to teach but to establish the harmony of mind, the shared associations, of two lovers. Persuasion’s narrator takes the roles of lover and matchmaker to the reader even as she rejects the two pedagogical modes of Austen’s previous works, didacticism and quixotism. Showing that books can continue to provide erotic consolations even when they cease to persuade, Persuasion once again offers readers the status of Fanny Knight, that key to Persuasion’s roman à clef.

Keywords:   Fanny Knight, Jane Austen, Persuasion, erotic, instruction, didacticism, pedagogical, quixotism

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