To the great detriment of the post office revenue : an analysis of Jane Austen's early narrative development through her use and abandonment of epistolary fiction in 'Lady Susan'
Owen, David, 1962-
Monnickendam, Andrew, dir. (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Departament de Filologia Anglesa i de Germanística)

Publicació: Bellaterra : Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 2011
Resum: This thesis aims essentially at a re-evaluation of the marginalisation that conventional critical assessment makes of Jane Austen's epistolary novella 'Lady Susan' (1794-1795). The consensus within Austen studies, one that has largely been unchanged and unchallenged since the time of the first professional academic accounts of Austen's work (and in turn influenced by the C19 view of the writer) is that 'Lady Susan' is an artistic failure, a regressive step in Austen's stylistic development and, most fundamentally, that its epistolarity is a constraint on the technical progress that Austen appeared to be making in work prior to this, most notably, the unfinished third-person novella "Catharine, or The Bower". The thesis provides a close reading of 'Lady Susan' and of 'Catharine' and in marked opposition to the consensus, concludes that 'Lady Susan' is an emphatic step forward in Austen's stylistic progress, most particularly through the manner in which it establishes a moral framework from within which to develop character and plot, its attainment of incipient narrative voice through a complex use and exploitation of epistolary polyphony (thereby foreshadowing the omniscient third-person narrators of Austen's mature fiction, in addition to its experimentation with a form of free indirect speech) and the markedly plausible realism that is present throughout the novella. Austen's termination of the epistolary section (the novella being concluded in third-person narrative - an ending that was added some time later and which is generally viewed as her own recognition of epistolary limitation), in the view of this thesis, therefore cannot be attributed to stylistic inadequacy or constraint, and obliges other motives to be posited. The thesis then proceeds to move from text into context and assesses the extra-literary factors that may have prompted Austen's abandonment of the epistolary section, according a co-centrality to the character of Catherine that has never before been emphasised in Austen studies and the consequences of which suggest the writer's political engagement with "the French Question", and with political concerns in general, at an age that is far earlier than most critics usually accept ('Lady Susan' was written when Austen was 19). Beyond the text itself, our close assessment of a broad range of critical views (both on 'Catharine' and 'Lady Susan') lead us to posit that the critical insistence on the novella's inferiority and regressiveness, both of which claims we strongly refute through our close reading of the text, in fact corresponds to a determinedly evolutionary manner of understanding novelistic development, on that in turn derives from Ian Watt's account of the rise of this literary form. In accordance with standard academic procedure, the thesis begins with a critical review-in this case, of epistolary studies- including studies that monographically consider Austen's work. It also considers the role of Austen's private correspondence in the broader question of literary epistolarity. The thesis terminates by adding to its conclusion the obligatory outlines of what we deem to be valid and necessary further research into this subject and related issues.
Nota: Descripció del recurs: 28-10-2011
Nota: Tesi doctoral - Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Facultat de Lletres, Departament de Filologia Anglesa i de Germanística, 2006
Nota: Bibliografia
Drets: ADVERTIMENT. L'accés als continguts d'aquesta tesi doctoral i la seva utilització ha de respectar els drets de la persona autora. Pot ser utilitzada per a consulta o estudi personal, així com en activitats o materials d'investigació i docència en els termes establerts a l'art. 32 del Text Refós de la Llei de Propietat Intel·lectual (RDL 1/1996). Per altres utilitzacions es requereix l'autorització prèvia i expressa de la persona autora. En qualsevol cas, en la utilització dels seus continguts caldrà indicar de forma clara el nom i cognoms de la persona autora i el títol de la tesi doctoral. No s'autoritza la seva reproducció o altres formes d'explotació efectuades amb finalitats de lucre ni la seva comunicació pública des d'un lloc aliè al servei TDX. Tampoc s'autoritza la presentació del seu contingut en una finestra o marc aliè a TDX (framing). Aquesta reserva de drets afecta tant als continguts de la tesi com als seus resums i índexs.
Llengua: Anglès
Document: Tesi doctoral
Matèria: Austen, Jane, Crítica i interpretació 1775-1817
Obres: Austen, Jane,. Lady Susan
ISBN: 9788469416198

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