Jane Austen, or The Secret of Style / Edition 1

Jane Austen, or The Secret of Style / Edition 1

by D. A. Miller
     
 

ISBN-10: 069112387X

ISBN-13: 9780691123875

Pub. Date: 08/08/2005

Publisher: Princeton University Press

What is the world-historical importance of Jane Austen? An old maid writes with the detachment of a god. Here, the stigmatized condition of a spinster; there, a writer's unequalled display of absolute, impersonal authority. In between, the secret work of Austen's style: to keep at bay the social doom that would follow if she ever wrote as the person she

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Overview

What is the world-historical importance of Jane Austen? An old maid writes with the detachment of a god. Here, the stigmatized condition of a spinster; there, a writer's unequalled display of absolute, impersonal authority. In between, the secret work of Austen's style: to keep at bay the social doom that would follow if she ever wrote as the person she is.

For no Jane Austen could ever appear in Jane Austen. Amid happy wives and pathetic old maids, we see no successfully unmarried woman, and, despite the multitude of girls seeking to acquire "accomplishments," no artist either. What does appear is a ghostly No One, a narrative voice unmarked by age, gender, marital status, all the particulars that make a person—and might make a person peculiar. The Austen heroine must suppress her wit to become the one and not the other, to become, that is, a person fit to be tied in a conjugal knot. But for herself, Austen refuses personhood, with all its constraints and needs, and disappears into the sourceless anonymity of her style. Though often treasured for its universality, that style marks the specific impasse of a writer whose self-representation is impossible without the prospect of shame.

D.A. Miller argues this case not only through the close reading that Austen's style always demands, but also through the close writing, the slavish imitation, that it sometimes inspires.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691123875
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
08/08/2005
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
128
Sales rank:
975,792
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.50(d)

Table of Contents

ONE Secret Love 1

TWO No One Is Alone 31

THREE Broken Art 57

Afterimage 93

Notes 95

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