In what way did Jane Austen's life and times influence her literature?
- JonLv 73 weeks ago
It's all through all her books!
She was a well-educated, perceptive and very intelligent person, raised in a rural vicarage, with relatives in the navy and with a brother who was virtually sold to a rich childless couple.
She saw (and was very good at analysing) both the good and the bad in the part of the world that she experienced.
There are several recurring examples, including:
- the inadequate and sometimes corrupt practices within the Church around the system of 'livings'. Note her scathing criticisms of the weaker side of the clergy implied in her portrayal of Mr Collins, the parson in 'Pride and Prejudice'.
- her clear support for liberalism. Her depiction of Sir Walter Elliot responding to his daughter's praise for the navy (in 'Persuasion') is an excellent portrayal, and critique, of Conservative thinking of the time.
- she was clearly aware of the injustice of the restrictions upon women in her time. The premise of 'Pride and Prejudice' of course is that the worthless Mr Collins is to inherit the Bennet's property simply because he is a man, thus displacing Elizabeth and her sisters, some of whom must have realised that they were conceived purely in the hope of producing a boy who could inherit, and so were in a way were made by the system to be disappointments to their parents literally from the minute they were born.
- her criticisms of the aristocracy. Sir Walter Elliot is vain, foolish and insolvent. Lady Catherine is perhaps worse, displaying all the pride and the prejudice of the title under which she appears. Austen's disloyal dedication of Emma to the Prince Regent must rank as a true masterpiece of discrete sarcasm: one wonders whether he had either the intelligence to understand it or the grace to be ashamed at it.