Jane Austen, the Secret Radical

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Jane Austen, the Secret Radical

Jane Austen, the Secret Radical

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There is nothing exceptional here and nothing you wouldn't expect from a Key Stage 4 class discussion, and with suitable evidence and development, salient points could be made. The Age of Brass" finds Kelly's reading of Sense and Sensibility as a book about "property and inheritance--about greed and the terrible, selfish things that families do to each other for the sake of money. Kelly illuminates the radical subjects--slavery, poverty, feminism, the Church, evolution, among them--considered treasonous at the time, that Austen deftly explored in the six novels that have come to embody an age.

g., her discussion of Austen’s obituaries and speculations about how she came to be buried in Winchester Cathedral was fascinating). Of course, in a point-by-point rundown of misconceptions surrounding Jane's books, relating to the political climate of the time, books Jane had read, etc. Kelly's work putting Austen's work into more of a historical and political context than is often found. Austen was unique as a novelist of this period in writing “novels which were set more or less in the present day, and more or less in the real world”.There are some interesting close readings here, but a lot of her readings are stretching way too far with not enough evidence to back them up -- and given the paucity of notes and titles in the bibliography, this is not really a surprise. Uncovering a radical, spirited and political engaged Austen, Jane Austen, The Secret Radical will encourage you to read Jane, all over again.

The book is split up into sections following each of her published novels, as well as one concerning her life, and her death.I feel like she really gave life to this book, it's one of the "academic" books I've felt the most emotional while reading. e. the inherent threat of a large group of armed strangers in your town, the poverty facing the Bennet sisters because of entailments, etc. Through a combination of beautifully precise close readings alongside Austen’s biographical, literary and historical context, Kelly shows us that the novels were about nothing more or less than the burning political questions of the day. Sense and Sensibility was I think the strongest of her chapters, as it had the most textual revelations, and drew the most surprise from me. There's really no need to panic if it turns out that Austen might have been a conservative and a snob and a product of her social environment and class.

Dept of Disclaimers: Mr Knightley is my favorite Austen hero) And I'm not talking about those old boring trite age/closeness of family things that I've fought against repeatedly and written about. The publicists of Helena Kelly’s Jane Austen: The Secret Radical would have us believe that the book is itself a radical document—an upending of all we “know” about Jane Austen. You may discover some real gems that take you closer to Jane’s world, but if you love Jane’s novels as the love stories they are, then you might not want to take the risk!Each of these chapters begins with a fictional section based on one of Jane’s letters which helped set the theme for the chapter. There's plenty of context, but the method and manner in which Kelly sets about "radicalising" Austen means ignoring all of the work on Austen that came before. And I tell you what, I have read Austen for pleasure many times, and I have studied her both as an undergraduate, and in the course of my graduate work, and there was so much in here that I didn't know, that seriously changes the way I see some of what happens in her books. What this radical re-reading … does so brilliantly is to exhort us all to chuck out the chintz, and the teacups, and all the traditional romantic notions about Austen’s work that have been fed to us for so long … However well you think you know the novels, you’ll be raring to read them again once you’ve read this. Despite what Kelly suggests, I retain my right to believe that Edward and Eleanor could live happily ever after.

If they wish to dress in Regency clothes while they read, and get together with their pineapples once a year, then no harm is done to anybody. It is a shame that Kelly doesn’t leave much room for Austen’s bitingly funny letters and juvenilia, both of which can leave no reader in doubt of Austen’s disposition toward the satirical, the radical and, more often than not, the grotesque.

Her novels don’t confine themselves to grand houses and they were not written just for readers’ enjoyment. There was some interesting background info on the social issues of the time, but I did not agree with all the conclusions drawn. What's more, she often makes insane theories about her books (no spoilers, but the Sense and Sensibility and Emma sections get weird), and then acts as if they are fact, but doesn't accept the same in others. And can he really be convicted as a “Marie Antoinette” of the home counties because he invites all the main characters to a strawberry-picking party (forced on him by the ghastly Mrs Elton)? She says that Willoughby is drunk when he turns up at what he fears is Marianne’s deathbed in Sense and Sensibility, but in fact his “Yes, I am very drunk” is entirely sarcastic.

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