Character and Conflict in Jane Austen's Novels: A Psychological Approachby Bernard J. Paris
In Character and Conflict in Jane Austen's Novels, Bernard J. Paris offers an analysis of the protagonists in four of Jane Austen's most popular novels. His analysis reveals them to be brilliant mimetic creations who often break free of the formal and thematic limitations placed upon them by Austen. Paris traces the powerful tensions between form, theme, and mimesis in Mansfield Park, Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and Persuasion.
Paris uses Northrop Frye's theory of comic forms to analyze and describe the formal structure of the novels, and Karen Horney's psychological theories to explore the personalities and inner conflicts of the main characters. The concluding chapter turns from the characters to their creator, employing the Horneyan categories of self-effacing, detached, and expansive personality types to interpret Jane Austen's own personality.
Readers of Jane Austen will find much that is new and challenging in this study. It is one of the few books to recognize and pay tribute to Jane Austen's genius in characterization. Anyone who reads this book will come away with a new understanding of Austen's heroines as imagined human beings and also with a deeper feeling for the troubled humanity of the author herself.
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Meet the Author
Bernard J. Paris is professor emeritus of English at the University of Florida. His fields of interest include Victorian and comparative fiction and the psychological study of literature. He is author of numerous books, including Rereading George Eliot, Heaven and Its Discontents: Milton’s Characters in Paradise Lost, Bargains with Fate: Psychological Crises and Conflicts in Shakespeare and His Plays, and A General Drama of Pain: Character and Fate in Hardy’s Major Novels.
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