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The Language of Jane Austen


Joe Bray’s careful analysis of Jane Austen’s stylistic techniques reveals that the genius of her writing is far from effortless; rather he makes the case for her as a meticulous craftswoman and a radical stylistic pioneer.


Countering those who have detected in her novels a dominant, authoritative perspective, Bray begins by highlighting the complex, ever-shifting and ambiguous nature of the point of view through which her narratives are presented. This argument is then advanced through an exploration of the subtle representation of speech, thought and writing in Austen’s novels. Subsequent chapters investigate and challenge the common critical associations of Austen’s style with moral prescriptivism, ideas of balance and harmony, and literal as opposed to figurative expression. The book demonstrates that the wit and humour of her fiction is derived instead from a complex and subtle interplay between different styles. This compelling reassessment of Austen’s language will offer a valuable resource for students and scholars of stylistics, English literature and language and linguistics.

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Tags: stylistic, craftswoman, meticulous, makes, radical, Language, Austen, rather