Open Collections

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The development of Jane Austen's comic process of education Sait, James Edward 1972

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Notice for Google Chrome users:
If you are having trouble viewing or searching the PDF with Google Chrome, please download it here instead.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
831-UBC_1971_A8 S25.pdf [ 4.93MB ]
Metadata
JSON: 831-1.0102039.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0102039-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0102039-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0102039-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0102039-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0102039-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0102039-source.json
Full Text
831-1.0102039-fulltext.txt
Citation
831-1.0102039.ris

Full Text

THE DEVELOPMENT OP JANE AUSTEN'S COMIC PROCESS OF EDUCATION ' JAMES EDWARD SAIT B.A., Un i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1970 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n the Department of English We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia A p r i l , 1972 ; t ^ 7 / 3 i In presenting th i s thes is in pa r t i a l fu l f i lment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the Un ivers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L ibrary sha l l make i t f ree l y ava i l ab le for reference and study. I fur ther agree that permission for extensive copying of th i s thes i s for scho lar ly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representat ives. It is understood that copying or pub l i ca t ion of th i s thes is fo r f i nanc ia l gain sha l l not be allowed without my wr i t ten permission. Department of The Univers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada Abstract This study of Jane Austen 1s s i x novels examines the r e l a t i o n s h i p of comedy and education. Austen c a r e f u l l y constructs two kinds of comedy i n her novels: surface comedy derived from, inaccurate perceptions and conceptions of the world, and deep comedy, the v i t a l rhythm of growth which i s elaborated as growing love and self-awareness. A l l s i x novels develop complex relationships between reason, emotion, imagin-ation, aesthetics and ethics. In Northanger Abbey, Catherine Morland, vic t i m i z e d by the s t e r i l e surface comedy of a r t i f i c i a l s o c i a l conventions and her Gothic fantasy, an a r t i f i c i a l aesthetic convention, moves toward a recognition of the deep comedy and v i t a l i t y which her love f o r Henry Til n e y i n s p i r e s . Marianne Dashwood i n Sense and  S e n s i b i l i t y perceives and judges the s u p e r f i c i a l i t i e s of l i f e and reacts i n an emotional and picturesque fashion, while her s i s t e r , E l i n o r , i n love with Edward Ferrars, cannot give surface expression to her emotions. Each s i s t e r i s educated through tragicomic experiences to the demands of both views of l i f e . E lizabeth Bennett and Daarcy, victims of the p r e v a i l i n g s o c i a l delusion of o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n i n Pride and Prejudice, gradually i i i develop a sense of the deeper values i n l i f e through expanded aesthetic s e n s i b i l i t y and mutual a f f e c t i o n . Fanny Price i n Mansfield Park possesses deep feelings f o r Edmund Bertram but must learn to be independent and give her emotions sincere expression i n a society deluded by fa l s e ceremony. Emma presents surface comedy as a product of Emma's attempt to superimpose her imagined l i f e - p a t t e r n s on a benevolent world. Educated by sympathy and her attachment to Mr. Knightley, Emma recognises the world below Highbury's g l i t t e r i n g surface and the necessity f o r maintaining society's e x i s t i n g structures. In Persuasion, Anne E l l i o t achieves surface expression and the capacity to act as Wentworth, a v i c t i m of society's delusions of f i x e d s o c i a l place, comes to re a l i z e the depth of Anne's emotion. Jane Austen's novels portray a complex picture of education through the i n t e r a c t i o n of surface and deep comedy. "Every dam' thing about Jane i s remarkable to a pukka Jeneite." Rudyard K i p l i n g , "The Janeites 1 1 I do not write f o r such d u l l elves As have not a great deal of ingenuity themselves. Jane Austen, Let t e r s , p. 298. Contents Introduction p. 1. Chapter One: Northanger Abbey p. 7. Chapter Two: Sense and S e n s i b i l i t y p. 22. Chapter Three: Pride and Pre.iudice p. 36. Chapter Pour: Mansfield Park p. 49. Chapter Five: Emma p. 64. Chapter Six: Persuasion p. 79. fifterword p. 92. Bibliography p. 98. Introduction Two premises form the basis f o r t h i s examination of Jane Austen's a r t i s t i c development: the f i r s t , that her novels are comic, and the second, that they have as a major theme the education of ce r t a i n characters. For Austen, comic process educates? a hero or heroine,, i f not changed i n e s s e n t i a l character, gains new perspectives and acquires knowledge through experience. The f i r s t premise, that Jane Austen's novels are comic, can e a s i l y be acknowledged. However, the type of comedy they $>resent cannot r e a d i l y be defined. Generally comic t h e o r i s t s attempt to define comedy by discussing those things which receive comic treatment: society, the i n d i v i d u a l , manners or s o c i a l behaviour, and s t y l e . Unfortunately tending to be the products of t h e i r own times, comic t h e o r i s t s generate a number of c o n f l i c t i n g views, e s p e c i a l l y i n the area of s o c i a l behaviour, c e n t r a l to Austen's work, which they ..variously l a b e l morals, manners or conduct. Addison, an eighteenth century t h e o r i s t , demanded that comic r i d i c u l e not be applied to the virtuous.^ In the nineteenth century George Meredith saw the moral implications of ''thoughtful laughter" as an "excellent t e s t of the c i v i l i z a t i o n of a country". 2 Meredith's contemporary, Henr-J: Bergson, thought of comic laughter as a s o c i a l c orrective: A humourist i s a moralist disguised as a s c i e n t i s t , Something l i k e an anatomist who practises di s s e c t i o n with the sole object of f i l l i n g us with disgust . . . Comedy . . . begins . . . with what might be c a l l e d a growing callousness to s o c i a l l i f e . . . . In laughter we always f i n d an unavowed i n -tention to humiliate, and consequently to correct our neighbour, i f not i n h i s w i l l , at l e a s t i n hi s deed. 3 A twentieth century t h e o r i s t , Northrop Frye, argues that comedy i s oriented more to i n d i v i d u a l needs than s o c i a l correction, "Comedy i s not designed to condemn e v i l , but to r i d i c u l e lack of self-knowledge."4 His contemporary, Susanne Langer, contends that "moral content i s thematic material"5 and that the "pure sense of l i f e i s the underlying f e e l i n g of comedy."^ On points other than morality a number of the t h e o r i s t s agree. For instance, William H a z l i t t , George Meredith and Susanne Langer f e e l that comedy does not discrim-inate against women: "women . . . are more al i v e to every absurdity which arises from a v i o l a t i o n of the rules of society,"* 7 "comedy l i f t s women to a st a t i o n o f f e r i n g free play f o r t h e i r w i t , " 8 " i n a nut s h e l l : the contest between men and women . . . i s the comic rhythm. 1 , 9 The major l i m i t a t i o n of comic th e o r i s t s has been t h e i r neglect of comedy i n the non-dramatic form. To correct t h i s deficiency whatever might be a p p l i c a b l e i n t h e i r t h e o r i e s must be adapted t o a framework r e l e v a n t t o the h o v e l where "the o v e r a l l e f f e c t s o f a n a r r a t i v e s t y l e . . . are secured not l o c a l l y . •.. . b u t . ,. .""by accumulation and pro-g r e s s i o n . "10 The work o f the comic t h e o r i s t s , combined w i t h t h i s sense o f the n o v e l ' s p a r t i c u l a r c a p a c i t y , suggests the two t y p e s o f comedy c o n t i n u o u s l y apparent i n Austen's work: s u r f a c e comedy c o n s i s t i n g o f comic i n d i v i d u a l s , comic s o c i a l views, comic manners and comic s t y l e ; and deep comedy, ge n e r a t e d by growth, e d u c a t i o n and accumulated e x p e r i e n c e , elements o f p l o t . Both Bergson and M e r e d i t h found s u r f a c e comedy the main s u b j e c t f o r a n a l y s i s and p l o t an u n e s s e n t i a l f e a t u r e : i n s t e a d o f c o n c e n t r a t i n g our a t t e n t i o n on a c t i o n s , comedy d i r e c t s i t r a t h e r t o g e s t u r e s . . . . a c t i o n i s e s s e n t i a l i n drama, but o n l y an acc e s s o r y i n comedy . . . to d e p i c t c h a r a c t e r s , t h a t i s t o say "types, i s the o b j e c t o f h i g h class, comedy. 1 1 The comic poet i s i n the narrow f i e l d , o r e n c l o s e d square, o f the s o c i e t y he d e p i c t s . . . he i s not concerned w i t h b e g i n n i n g s o r endings, b u t w i t h what you are now weaving.-LS Jane Austen concerns h e r s e l f w i t h f a r more than the d e p i c t i o n o f " t y p e s " i n s o c i a l l y r e l e v a n t s i t u a t i o n s . N e a r l y r e a l i z i n g t h i s concept o f two comic l e v e l s i n d e v e l o p i n g h e r t h e o r y o f v i r t u a l D e s t i n y as the prim-ary c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f drama, Susanne Langer suggests t h a t " D e s t i n y i n the g u i s e o f Fortune i s the f a b r i c o f comedy."13 Fortunate circumstance f r e q u e n t l y produces a sense o f p a t t e r n e d v i t a l i t y i n Austen's n o v e l s . E d u c a t i o n enables a c h a r a c t e r to s e i z e c i r -cumstance, overcoming such o b s t a c l e s as "the s o c i a l o r d e r r e p r e s e n t e d by the s e n e x f i , 1 4 f r e e i n g h i m s e l f from i n t e r n a l o r e x t e r n a l , s e r i o u s o r comic, i n h i b -i t i o n s . I n t h i s way the two major premises o f comedy and e d u c a t i o n are c l o s e l y connected. Each o f the s i x n o v e l s t o be examined, e x h i b i t s a c l e a r p r o g r e s s i o n as Austen attempts t o s o l v e d i f f e r -e n t a r t i s t i c problems which d e r i v e from the c o n j u n c t i o n o f p a r t i c u l a r forms o f e d u c a t i o n w i t h the two kin d s o f comedy. Composition and r e v i s i o n dates have mai n l y determined the o r d e r i n which the n o v e l s are d i s c u s s e d . ^ Northanger Abbey c o n t a i n s the most y o u t h f u l m a t e r i a l . A reworking o f an e a r l i e r e p i s t o l a r y n o v e l , Sense and  S e n s i b i l i t y precedes the presumed r e w r i t i n g and pub-l i c a t i o n o f P r i d e and P r e j u d i c e . The l a s t t hree n o v e l s , M a n s f i e l d Park. Emma and P e r s u a s i o n , have been dated from Cassandra Austen's memorandum.!6 In t r a c i n g the development o f the comic process o f e d u c a t i o n i n the e a r l y h a l f o f Austen's work, we s h a l l f i n d the dominance o f f o r m a l e d u c a t i o n g r a d u a l l y g i v i n g way t o e d u c a t i o n through experience, and in the la t t e r works we shall find functional education, education "put to work", begin-ning to dominate. These changes result from an increased dependence on deep comedy. Footnotes ^Joseph Addison, The S p e c t a t o r . ®d. Donald P. Bond, Volvmi,.(Oxford: Clarendon P r e s s , 1965), p.467. 2George M e r e d i t h , An E s s a y on Qomedy. i n Comedy: An E s s a y on Come dy [by"! Ge orge Me re d i t h Tandl Laught e r |3?2) Henri: Bergson, ed. Wylie Sypher (New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1956), p.47. ^Bergson, pp. 143-148. •^Northrop F r y e , "The Argument of Comedy". T h e o r i e s  o f Comedy, ed. P a u l L a u t e r (New York: Doubleday & Company, I n c . , 1964), p. 452. ^Susanne K. Langer, F e e l i n g and Form: A Theory o f ( 7 A r t (London: Routledge & Kegan P a u l L i m i t e d , 1953), ( p. 326. J d a n g e r , p. 327. '''William H a z l i t t , L e c t u r e s on the E n g l i s h Comic  W r i t e r s (London: T a y l o r and Hessey, 1819), pp. 246-247. 8Meredith, p.32. 9Langer, p. '346. l O P h i l i p Rahv, The Myth and the Powerhouse (New York: The Noonday P r e s s , 1966), p. 49. ^ B e r g s o n , pp. 153-157. ISM e r e d i t h , p.46. 13Langer, p. 331. l - l F r y e , p. 451. 15See R.W. Chapman, Jane Austen: F a c t s and Problems (Oxford: Clarendon P r e s s , 1948), pp. 177-183. 1 6 " C a s s a n d r a Austen's Note o f the Date o f Composition o f Her S i s t e r ' s Novels", Minor Works. ; The Works o f Jane  Austen, ed. R.W. Chapman, V o l . 6 (London: O x f o r d U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1954), f a c i n g page 242. Subsequent q u o t a t i o n s from Jane Austenfe n o v e l s are taken from t h i s e d i t i o n o f h e r work and w i l l be f o l l o w e d by page numbers i n p a r e n t h e s i s . Chapter One Northanger Abbey The heroine pf EForthanger Abbey, Catherine Morland, undergoes two forms of education: the f i r s t as she attempts to adapt h e r s e l f to the heroic pattern derived from her reading, and the second as she discards the heroic pattern f o r the more f l e x i b l e values which Henry Ti l n e y possesses. With her f i r s t education Catherine t r i e s to superimpose a heroic pattern on her surroundings, with the second she becomes f l e x i b l e and accepts the pattern which emerges. Education as a major motif appears i n the novel's opening paragraph where Catherine's formal education i s treated i r o n i c a l l y : She never could learn or understand any thing before she was taught; and sometimes not even then, f o r she was often inattentive and occasionally stupid. . . . Her mother wished her to learn music; and Catherine was sure she would l i k e i t , f o r she was very fond of t i n k l i n g the keys of the o l d f o r l o r n spinnet; so at eight years o l d she began. She learnt a year, and could not bear i t . . . Her taste f o r drawing was not superior . . . Writing and accounts she was taught by her father; French by her mother: her pro-f i c i e n c y i n eit h e r was not remarkable, and she shirked her lessons i n both whenever she could, (p. 14) Her resistance to education ceases when Catherine develops "an i n c l i n a t i o n f o r f i n e r y " and the desire to l i v e i n the heroic pattern: from f i f t e e n to seventeen she was i n t r a i n i n g f o r a heroine; she read a l l such works as a heroine must read to supply t h e i r memories with those quotations which are so soothing i n the v i c i s s i t u d e s of t h e i r eventful l i v e s , (p. 15) In order to express heroic sentiments c o r r e c t l y within a society which tends to place women i n passive roles, Catherine attempts a genteel form of a r t i s t i c education. Unfortunately she has no extensive a b i l i t y f o r feminine accomplishments: Eer greatest deficiency was i n the p e n c i l — s h e had no notion of drawing—not -enough even to attempt a sketch of her lover's p r o f i l e , that she might be detected i n the design. There she f e l l miserably short of the heroic height, (p. 16) However, t h i s shortcoming does not prevent Catherine's v i c a r i o u s pursuit of the heroic mode i n Gothic novels, e s p e c i a l l y with Is a b e l l a Thorpe's help i n Bath. The education of Catherine's a r t i s t i c taste, but not her a b i l i t y i s redirected and developed through her association with the Tilneys at Bath, p a r t i c u l a r l y on t h e i r walk outside the town: They [the Tilneys) were viewing the country with the eyes of persons accustomed to drawing . . . Here Catherine was quite l o s t . She knew nothing of taste . . . She was h e a r t i l y ashamed of her ignorance. A misplaced shame. Where people wish to attach they 'should always be ignorant. . . . In the present i n -stance, she professed and lamented her want of know-ledge; declared that she would give any thing i n the world to be able to draw; and a lecture on the p i c -turesque fmme-diately followed, i n which h i s [Henry's] in s t r u c t i o n s were so c l e a r that she soon began to see beauty i n every thing admired by him (pp. 110-111). Catherine's growing love f o r Henry causes the education of her a r t i s t i c s e n s i b i l i t y to c o n f l i c t with the vicarious enjoyment provided by her heroic education. A resolution begins to appear as she views Mrs. Tilney's p o r t r a i t : I t represented a very l o v e l y woman, with a mild and pensive countenace, j u s t i f y i n g , so f a r , the expectations of i t s new observer; but they were not i n every respect answered, f o r Catherine had  depended upon meeting with features, a i r , com-' plexion that should be the very counterpart, the very image, i f not of Henry's, of E l e a n o r ' s ; — the only p o r t r a i t s of which she had been i n the  habit of thinking, bearing always an equal re-semblance of mother and c h i l d . . . . She con-templated i t , however, i n sp i t e of t h i s drawback, with much emotion (p. 191, my i t a l i c s ) . The education of a r t i s t i c s e n s i b i l i t y , seen.here to be the breaking of habitual patterns and t h e i r replacement with natural or sentimental taste, plays an active part i n a l l of Austen's novels. She equates developing aesthetic s e n s i b i l i t y with strong e t h i c a l standards.! a f a l s e aestnetic depending on appearance rather than taste (judgment) u s u a l l y betokens f a l s e ethics. Conduct or manners frequently become aesthetic as well as e t h i c 8 l concerns. For instance, Catherine learns that r i d i n g i n an open carriage with John Thorpe, unchaperoned, constitues bad s o c i a l behaviour because of the picture they would present by appearing at '"inns and public places together!' "(p. 104). These sometimes c o n f l i c t i n g , minor forms of education are eventually resolved within the one major form of education, the growth of Catherine's love f o r Henry Tilney. A f t e r she views h i s mother's p o r t r a i t with l e s s heroic pretentions, Henry's scathing remarks, directed at ner deluded picture of his mother's death, bring about the f i n a l d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of her heroic education. She even f e e l s l e s s concerned at breaking an a e s t h e t i c a l l y "based rule of conduct when she rides alone with Henry (p. 156). The General and Eleanor are near' by : so she need not be concerned with the picture they present; instead she can follow the i n c l i n a t i o n s of her emotions. Catherine learns to appreciate the judgment of Henryy as a more than adequate substitute f o r judgments based on mere appearance or deluded impressions of the world. On the whole, those minor forms of education which attempt to superimpose a pattern on behaviour receive a burlesque treatment, while the major education, a product of growth and accumulated experience, creates a sense of deeper, more dynamic comic rhythm. Joseph Addison provides an excellent d i s t i n c t i o n between comedy and burlesque, "The f i r s t r i d i c u l e s Persons by drawing them i n t h e i r proper characters, the other by drawing them quite un-l i k e themselves." 1 The manner i n which Austen draws some of her characters "quite unlike themselves" takes the form of exaggerated caricature which f i x e s the char-acter by making i t act consistently within some given set of characteristics*' Usually these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , given i n the form of a p o r t r a i t , accompany the character's f i r s t entrance, as i n the case of John Thorpe: a stout young man of middling height, who, with a p l a i n face and graceful form, seemed f e a r f u l of being too handsome unless he wore the dress of a groom, and too much l i k e a gentleman unless he were easy when he ought Ibo be c i v i l , and impudent where he might be allowed to be easy. (p. 45) Because the description, an authorial comment, gives information beyond Catherine's immediate knowledge, Thorpe's character and the sense of h i s action i s circumscribed with authority. Other minor characters such as Mrs. A l l e n (p. 20), Mrs. Thorpe (pp. 31-32) and I s a b e l l a (p. 33) :are also drawn with burlesque por-t r a i t s . I r o n i c a l l y on General Tilney's f i r s t two appearances (pp. 80, 95) we receive only a b r i e f phys-i c a l description because Catherine, s t i l l a v i c t i m of her heroic education, i s more concerned with the picture she presents to him. Characters r i g i d i f i e d by t h i s burlesque fashion of exaggerated description cannot possibly take advantage of the Fortune which Susanne Langer c a l l e d "the f a b r i c of comedy." The "types" which surround the c e n t r a l s i t u a t i o n , they w i l l be unable to take part i n any resolution because they are already f i x e d . Perhaps following Addison's advice, Austen does not burlesque the sensible or virtuous characters. Henry Tilney, on entering the novel, i s described s o l e l y from Catherine's point of view: He seemed to be about four or f i v e and twenty, was rather t a l l , had a pleasing countenance, a very i n t e l l i g e n t and l i v e l y eye, and i f not quite handsome, was very near i t . His address was good, and Catherine f e l t h e r s e l f i n high luck. (p. 25) The l i m i t a t i o n of the description to dominant physical c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s within Catherine's perception a c t u a l l y frees Henry from any pre-determined response from the reader. He w i l l he able to grow, or promote growth, and seize Fortune, becoming the source of the deep comic rhythm, without the reader f i n d i n g him out of character. Minor sensible characters who are not part of the deep comic rhythni|ndo not receive physical and mental portr a i t s j l i n s t e a d t h e i r actions speak f o r them. Mr. A l l e n , f o r instance!,_ shows more than h i s gout when he investigates Mr. Tilney: How proper Mr. T i l n e y might be as a dreamer or a lover, had not yet perhaps entered Mr. Allen's head, but that he was not objectionable as a common acquaintance f o r h i s young charge he was on enquiry s a t i s f i e d f o r he had early i n the even-ing taken pains to know who her partner was (p.30). Catherine unites both the burlesque and the deep comedy with the burlesque exaggeration of her "heroic" role gradually g i v i n g way to greater s e n s i b i l i t y as the novel progrSsses. Burlesque caricature combined with Gothic parody produces a curious rhythmic pattern when Catherine v i s i t s Northanger Abbey. Henry's p o r t r a i t of her f i r s t night-to-be i n the Abbey (pp. 157-159) l a r g e l y determines the pattern of Catherine's Gothic fantasy; she expects the house to be "'a fine o l d place, j u s t l i k e what one reads about'"(p. 157). Supplied with Gothic d e t a i l s from her previous reading, she sees the chest i n her room and the remains of s i l v e r handles appear "broken perhaps prematurely by some strange violence"(p. 163). Her " f e a r f u l c u r i o s i t y " only heightened by the maid's i l l - t i m e d i n t e r r u p t i o n f i n a l l y r i s e s to such a p i t c h that she throws back the chest's l i d only to f i n d "a white cot t n counterpane, properly folded, reposing at one end of the chest i n undisputed possession!"(p. 164). This mundane d e f l a t i o n does not prevent her seeing the "black and yellow Japan" cabinet (p. 168) as the repository of some treasure. "Well read i n the art of concealing treasure," Catherine explores the cab-i n e t , discovering "the precious manuscript"(p. 169). Her candle snuffed out, she suffers a sleepless night only to awake to f i n d the manuscript only "An inventory of l i n e n , i n coarse modern characters"(p. 172). Catherine p e r s i s t s i n her Gothic fancies despite these deflations because she sees the physical structure of the Abbey i t s e l f , when shown around i t by the General and Eleanor, as a kind of Gothic caricature: the c o s t l i n e s s or elggance of any room's f i t t i n g up could be nothing to herj she cared f o r no fu r n i t u r e of a more modern date that the f i f t e e n t h century. . . . she was further soothed i n her progress, by being t o l d , that she was treading what once had been a c l o i s t e r (pp. 182-183). Henry not only corrects her conception of the Abbey's architecture by t e l l i n g her the mysterious staircase leads from the stable-yard to h i s own chamber (p. 194), he also r a p i d l y dissolves her caricatured conception of the General as a murderer. This d e f l a t i o n , connected with the object of her a f f e c t i o n , causes Catherine to shed her heroic pretensions and her Gothic fantasies. The burlesque' elements-give way to the deeper comic rhythm of growth which spring^'f rom e l a t i o n rather than d e f l a t i o n , Langer's " v i t a l f e e l i n g . . . the image of human v i t a l i t y holding i t s own i n the world amid the surprises of unplanned coincidence."3 The General and John Thorpe t r y to prevent the expression o f " v i t a l f e e l i n g " . Instead of destroying the developing love, the f r u s t r a t i n g actions which they present only serve to b r i n g Henry and Catherine c l o s e r together. Thorpe's attempts to prevent Catherine walking with the Tilneys are aggravating. But t h i s causes Catherine to even more arduously pursue the Tilneys to apologise a f t e r the broken walking engagement: she . . . hastened away with eager steps and a beating heart to pay her v i s i t , explain her conduct and be forgiven; t r i p p i n g l i g h t l y through the church-yard, and r e s o l u t e l y turning away her eyes, that she might not be obliged to see her beloved Is a b e l l a and her dear family, who, she had reason to believe were i n a shop hard by. She reached the house without any impediment . . . [the General and EleanoiJ "were j u s t on the point of walking out, and he oeing hurried f o r time, and not caring to have i t put o f f , made a point of her being denied." (pp. 90, 94, my i t a l i c s ) Prevented by the General from being forgiven, Catherine must wait u n t i l that evening at the theatre to t e l l Henry that she has been "quite wild" (p. 93) to speak to him. On being thanked by Henry f o r at l e a s t waving as she passed by i n Thorpe's carriage, she r e p l i e s , " ' i f Mr. Thorpe only would have stopped, I would have jumped out and run a f t e r you'"(|>i 94). The actions of both the General and John Thorpe produce a benev-olent reaction: Is there a Henry i n the world who could be insensible to such a declaration? Henry Tilney at l e a s t was not. With a yet sweeter smile, he s a i d everything that need be sai d of h i s s i s t e r ' s concern, regret, and dependance on Catherine's honour, (p. 94). In another major incident General Tilney t r i e s to prevent the lover's union. Misinformed a second time about Catherine's f i n a n c i a l s i t u a t i o n a f t e r seeing John Thorpe i n London, he sends Catherine packing. This action of the senex i r o n i c a l l y promotes Henry's declaration: His father's anger, though i t must shock, could not intimidate Henry, who was sustained i n h i s purpose by a conviction of i t s j u s t i c e . He f e l t himself bound as much i n honour as i n affec-t i o n to Miss Morland . . . b e l i e v i n g that heart to be b i s own which he had been directed to gain Q>y h i s father] no unworthy r e t r a c t i o n of a t a c i t consent, no reversing decree of u n j u s t i f i a b l e anger, could shake h i s f i d e l i t y , or influence 1 the resolutions i t prompted. He . . . declared h i s i n t e n t i o n of o f f e r i n g her h i s hand. (pp. 247-248) The novel's comic action i s accomplished i r o n i c a l l y through the help of those very people who seek to impede i t s progress. Instead of d e f l a t i n g the char-acters, as the Gothic delusions deflate Catherine, the impediments which f r u s t r a t e the expression of " v i t a l f e e l i n g " only strengthen the characters' con-v i c t i o n s and increase the sense of e l a t i o n . The major comic rhythm of growing love i s also contrasted witn the unsuccessful love a f f a i r between Is a b e l l a Thorpe and James Morland. Neither a caricature nor a man of sense, James, i n h i s l e t t e r to Catherine, appears to have learned some lesson, "'Thank Godl I am undeceived i n time1 1" but he has r e a l l y learned very l i t t l e i f he can s t i l l say, "'Poor Thorpe i s i n town: I dread the sight of him} h i s honest heart would f e e l so much.'" His emotions have overthrown h i s r a t i o n a l i n t e l l e c t "'happy f o r me had we never met! I can never expect to know such another womanl•" (p. 2 0 2 ) . Unfortunately James f e l l i n love with a "type", the mercenary f l i r t . In Bath's a r t i f i c i a l society where manners can obscure morals, the a f f a i r f l o u r i s h e s ; but I s a b e l l a , unable to adapt to a b e t t e r under-standing of James's f i n a n c i a l s i t u a t i o n , begins to re-enact the pattern of her usual courtship s t y l e with a new man, Captain Tilney. However, she i s unable to seize Fortune. Catherine, on the other hand, never a l t e r s the d i r e c t i o n of her affections although the pattern of her actions as well as her phy s i c a l l o c a t i o n changes. She turns from surface a r t i f i c i a l i t y to Henry's moral r e a l i t y , the education forming the deep comic process of the novel. L i o n e l T r i l l i n g has saidj i n any complex culture there i s not a single system of manners but a c o n f l i c t i n g v a r i e t y of manners, and that one of the jobs of a culture i s the adjustment of t h i s c o n f l i c t . ^ Northanger Abbey, l i k e a "complex culture", contains a " c o n f l i c t i n g v a r i e t y of manners". Some of the characters such as Isa b e l l a Thorpe and General Tilney, allow t h e i r f i n a n c i a l attitudes to determine t h e i r conduct; others, such as Henry and Eleanor Tilney, Mr. A l l e n and Mrs. Morland* allow sense based on human values to determine t h e i r conduct. Those whose ex-aggerated sense of ex t e r i o r values ( f o r dress or horse-ware) determine t h e i r actions, Mrs. Thorpe, Mrs. A l l e n and John Thorpe, appear to be amoral. Catherine, the only remaining character of consequence, experiences an i r r e g u l a r education which moves her from the desire f o r a patterned, heroic l i f e - s t y l e to the desire to marry Henry with the sometimes gradual, sometimes abrupt, assumption of h i s tastes and sensi-b i l i t i e s . The novel's educative movement appears i r r e g u l a r because the burlesque and comic elements c o n f l i c t ; the burlesque so exaggerates externals that Catherine, Austen and the reader, at times lose sight of the value of the heroine's i n t e r n a l development. Although Northanger Abbey do6s, i n a l i m i t e d way, " r i d i c u l e lack of self-knowledge" 4 and represent the equality of men and women, increasing the sense of i n d i v i d u a l characterization, the novel seems to give more w&gbit to i t s examination of s o c i a l and a r t i s t i c delusions. Catherine's Gothic fantasy, f o r instance, at f i r s t balances the General's deluded picture of her wealth. Although he i s not a c t u a l l y a murderer, proving the substance of her delusion wrong, Catherine has accurately assessed h i s character. At l e a s t she loses her Gothic delusions but the General never sees her f i n a n c i a l p o s i t i o n c l e a r l y . His f i n a l c a p i t u l a t i o n to the marriage plan occurs with "a f i t of good humour" brought about by Eleanor's "marriage with a man of fortune and consequence"(p. 250). Although he i s "as s i s t e d by that r i g h t understanding of Mr. Morland's circumstances" and knows "that Catherine would have three thousand pounds"(p. 251), h i s f i n a l approval comes from the private i n t e l l i g e n c e which he was at some  pains to procure« that the F u l l e r t o n estate, being e n t i r e l y at the disposal of i t s present proprietor, was consequently open to every greedy speculation, (p. 252, my i t a l i c s ) In order f o r the resolution to take place, the General must continue i n his delusion. The s o c i a l changes i n the novel are minimal. The Thorpe's plans do not succeed. Eleanor marries. Henry and Catherine prepare to marry. I f they are to form a "new s o c i a l u n i t " c r y s t a l i z i n g to provide the comic r e s o l u t i o n ^ i t w i l l not be the normal resolution of New Comedy which Frye sees as "the surrender of the senex to the hero, never the reverse." 6 The vigour and excitement of burlesque exaggeration are not allayed i n a comic reso-l u t i o n where the audience knows too l i t t l e of the world the lovers go to and too much of the world they come from. Catherine's education through Tilney, a deep comic process, comes to a resolution but the other characters remain i n a state of burlesque, leaving the reader to wonder what the lover's place i n the world w i l l be. They free themselves from the Abbey but somehow the reader cannot; we are more attached too i t than we can be to Henry and Catherine, or Woodston, t h e i r home. Austen attempts to correct t h i s defective resolution i n Sense and S e n s i b i l i t y by i n t e r n a l i z i n g and d i v e r s i -f y i n g the process of education and l i m i t i n g the bur-lesque elements. The uneven comic process of education i n Northanger Abbey where burlesqued views of the external world achieve r e v i s i o n through the heroine's enlarged experience could not accomodate the subtle changes of character which occur i n Sense and S e n s i b i l i t y . Footnotes A A d d i s o n , p.467. 2 L a n g e r , p. 331. 3 L i o n e l T r i l l i n g , "Manners, Morals and the Novel", The L i b e r a l Imagination (New York: The V i k i n g P r e s s , 1950), p. 207. 4 F r y e , p. 452. 5 F r y e , p. 452. 6 F r y e , pp. 450-451. Chapter Two Sense and S e n s i b i l i t y L ike Northanger Abbey. Sense and S e n s i b i l i t y combines the education of a r t i s t i c taste and moral perception. Both Dashwood s i s t e r s have a r t i s t i c past-times; E l i n o r plays and Marianne draws. However, Edward F e r r a r s ? i r o n i c a l l y c r i t i c i z e s Marianne's taste f o r the Gothic picturesque: "You must not imagine too f a r , Marianne—remember I have no knowledge i n the picturesque, and I s h a l l offend you by my ignorance and want of taste i f we come to p a r t i c u l a r s . I s h a l l c a l l h i l l s steep which ought to be bold; surfaces strange and uncouth whichougot to be i r r e g u l a r and rugged; and distant objects out of sight which ought only to be lUndistinct through the soft medium of a hazy atmosphere." (p. 97) In keeping with her s e n s i t i v i t y to language and her attempts at uncouth s i n c e r i t y , Marianne r e p l i e s : "I detest jargon of every kind, and sometimes I have kept my f e e l i n g s to myself, because I could f i n d no language to describe them i n but what was worn and hackneyed out of a l l sense and meaning." (p. 97) Marianne's picturesque f e e l i n g s u s u a l l y f i n d settings appropriate f o r t h e i r expression whether she i s i n the h i l l s behind t h e i r home or the undoubtedly rococo Grecian Temple at Cleveland where she catches c o l d (pp. 302 , 3 3 0 3 , 3 0 5 - 3 0 6 ) . Marianne's dedication to pure expression becomes dangerous because i t i s pred-i c a t e d on appearance. Again as i n Northanger Abbey such dependance on appearances, a f a l s e aesthetic, leads to f a l s e ethics, i n Marianne's case to passive i n c i v i l i t i e s , as, f o r instance, when she converses with the Steele s i s t e r s : "What a sworet woman Lady Middleton i s I " s a i d Lucy Steele. Marianne was s i l e n t ; i t was impossible f o r her to say what she d i d not f e e l , however t r i v i a l the occasion; and upon E l i n o r therefore the whole task of t e l l i n g l i e s when politeness required i t , always f e l l . (p. 122, my i t a l i c s ) While Marianne's aesthetic of t r u t h i s both s e l f i s h and unsympathetic, Edward's expression of h i s pre-ference f o r natural beauty combines true aesthetics with humane e t h i c a l standards: "I l i k e a f i n e prospect but not on picturesque p r i n c i p l e s . I do not l i k e crooked, twisted, blasted trees. I admire them much more i f they are t a l l , s t r a i g h t , and f l o u r i s h i n g . I do not l i k e ruined, t a t t e r e d cottages. I am not fond of n e t t l e s , or t h i s t l e s , or heath blossoms. I have more pleasure i n a snug farm-house than a watch-tower—and a troop of t i d y v i l l a g e s please me better than the f i n e s t b a n d i t t i i n the world." (p. 9 8 ) When Marianne does learn to recognise the s i n c e r i t y behind a bland or hackneyed exterior, a change from weighings expressions to discerning sentiment, she begins to show signs of growth. In Sense and S e n s i b i l i t y Austen emphasises the need to make moral judgments on external behaviour or manners i n order to develop the primary education of sympathetic understanding. Formal education becomes a moral standard used to di s t i n g u i s h between the sympathetic and s e l f i s h characters. E l i n o r perceives and condemns Lucy Steele's lack of education which no amount of good manners can conceal: Lucy was n a t u r a l l y clever; her remarks were often j u s t and amusing . . . but her powers had received no aid from education, she was ignorant and i l l i t e r a t e , and her deficiency of a l l mental improvement, her want of information i n the most common p a r t i c u l a r s , could not be concealed from Miss Dashwood. . . . E l i n o r saw, and p i t i e d her fo r , the neglect of a b i l i t i e s which education might have rendered so respectable; but she *3§w with l e s s tenderness of f e e l i n g , the thorough want of delicacy, of rectitude, and i n t e g r i t y of mind, which her attentions, her a s s i d u i t i e s , her f l a t t e r y at the Park betrayed (p. 127). Not only do Lucy's over-effusive manners betray to E l i n o r her ignorance but the d e f i c i e n c i e s of both the Steele s i s t e r s are conveyed to the reader through gross errors of grammar (pp. 150, 151, 273). Edward establishes the value of formal education i n love and marriage when he shows E l i n o r Lucy's l e t t e r freeing him from t h e i r engagement: "I w i l l not ask your opinion of i t as a composition . . . For worlds would not I have had a l e t t e r of hers seen by vou i n former days.—In a s i s t e r i t i s bad enough, but i n a wife!" (p. 365) Formal education, established as a moral index f o r the characters and the reader, increases our s e n s i t i v i t y to language, eventually betraying Willoughby, who l i k e Lucy, substitutes f l a t t e r y and cliche' f o r self-assurance and s i n c e r i t y . Speaking of Marianne's l e t t e r s outside her sickroom, he consciously displays h i s deficiency to E l i n o r : "what I f e l t i s — i n the common phrase, not to be expressed; i n a more simple one—perhaps too simple to raise any emotion—my feelings were very, very p a i n f u l . Every l i n e , every word was— i n the hackneyed metaphor which t h e i r dear writer, were she here would f o r b i d — a dagger to my heart. To know that Marianne was i n town w a s — i n the same language—a thunderbolt." (p. 325) We quickly d i s t i n g u i s h that, l i k e Lucy, Willoughby i s t o t a l l y s e l f i s h with no sympathetic understanding. This education of sympathetic understanding functions p a r t i c u l a r l y through the double heroines. A. Walton L i t z finds "the r i g i d a n t i t h e t i c a l form" of "late eighteenth century m o r a l i s t i c f i c t i o n " to be Austen's " s t a r t i n g point" and f e e l s j u s t i f i e d i n saying "Marianne represents S e n s i b i l i t y and E l i n o r stands f o r Sense." 1 C r i t i c s have generally been divided into two camps; thos e who beliege the novel holds up Sense and denegrates S e n s i b i l i t y and xhose who believe Austen i s t r y i n g t o make the two q u a l i t i e s mutually acceptable. 2 Obviously Marianne learns a lesson i n sense from E l i n o r ' s a b i l i t y to bear, i n silenc e , the knowledge of Edward's engage-ment to Lucy (p. 262). However, we cannot regard E l i n o r as completely insensible; she has two major emotional outbursts. The f i r s t occurs a f t e r Marianne receives Willoughby's l e t t e r : E l i n o r . . . eager to know what Willoughby had written hurried away to t h e i r room, where, on opening the door, she saw Marianne stretched on the bed, almost choked by g r i e f . . . without saying a word . . . took her hand, kissed her a f f e c t i o n a t e l y several times, and then gave way to a burst of tears, which at f i r s t was scarcely l e s s v i o l e n t than Marianne's, (p. 182) Not quite so d i s i n t e r e s t e d a display of sympathy, the other major incident occurs when Edward announces Lucy's marriage to Robert, h i s brother: E l i n o r could s i t notlonger. She almost ran out of the room, and as soon as the door was closed, burst into tears of joy, which at f i r s t she thought would never cease. Edward, who had t i l l then looked any where, rather than at her, saw her hurry away, and perhaps saw—  or even heard her emotion (p. 360, my i t a l i c s ) . The importance of t h i s emotional expression l i e s i n the depth of f e e l i n g which i t communicates to Edward. The s i s t e r s ' educations consist not only of tempering sense and s e n s i b i l i t y but also on Marianne's part of learning to see the world around her i n other than surface, picturesque forms, and on E l i n o r ' s part of learning to show surface expression of what she deeply f e e l s . Both educations transcend the narrow a n t i t h e t i c a l l i m i t s to enter an area of sympathetic understanding. Marianne learns of her own selfishness not only from E l i n o r , but also from an understanding of Willoughby's selfishness (pp. 349-352). This education i n sympathy relates to what Edward has c a l l e d Marianne 1s "favourite maxim, that no one can ever be i n love more than once i n t h e i r l i f e " ( p . 93). From acknowledging Willoughby 1s unworthiness* Marianne develops a sympathetic understanding f o r Colonel Brandon: with a conviction of his fond attachment to h e r s e l f . . . Instead of f a l l i n g a s a c r i f i c e to an i r r e s i s t a b l e passion, as once she had fondly f l a t t e r e d h e r s e l f with expecting . . . she found h e r s e l f at nineteen, submitting to new attach-ments . . . Marianne found her own happiness i n forming his (pp. 378-379). E l i n o r , i n many ways a more subtle portrait of self-contained emotion than Jame Bennett, has ably learned "the propriety of overcoming" strong emotions by counteracting them with others (p. 280); forbidded to love Edward because of h i s p r i o r engagement, she r e a d i l y disguises her f e e l i n g s , turning them into a mild friendship. Near the end of the novel she has learned, and earned, the s a t i s f a c t i o n of a sleepless night . . . every thing by turns but t r a n q u i l . . . she was oppressed, she was overcome by her own f e l i c i t y ; — * and happily disposed as i s the human mind to be e a s i l y f a m i l i a r i z e d with any change f o r the better, i t required several hours to give sedate-ness to her s p i r i t s , or any degree of t r a n q u i l l i t y to her heart, (p. 363) This more sufcile analysis of emotional education i n Sense and S e n s i b i l i t y necessitates a d i f f e r e n t comic form. The novel has neither an o v e r a l l comic nor burlesque tone although i t possesses one of Jane Austen's best comic scenes, John and Fanny Dashwood's discussion of settlements (pp. 8-13). Instead of u n i f y i n g the novel through e i t h e r Gothic parody or the comic rhythm of growing love, Austen has chosen, i n keeping with her desire to create strongly- indivi^alchara'c'ttrs, to examine malicious, h y p o c r i t i c a l and benevolent comic figures. The malicious characters, John and Fanny Dashwood, and Nancy Steele, display the e f f e c t s of unprincipled s e l f - i n t e r e s t , which severely l i m i t s t h e i r burlesque treatment because of the danger they present to the lovers. Lady Middleton, an early prototype of Lady Bertram, displays her hypocrisy on hearing of Willoughby's engagement to Miss Grey: Lady Middleton expressed her sense of the a f f a i r about once every day, or twice, i f the subject occurred"very often, by saying, " I t i s very shocking indeed!" . . . having thus supported the dignity of her own sex, and spoken her decided censure of what was wrong i n the other, she thought h e r s e l f at l i b e r t y to attend to the i n t e r e s t of her own assemblies, and therefore determined (though rather against the opinion of S i r John) that as Mrs. Willoughby would at once be a woman of elegance and fortune, to leave her card with her as soon as she married, (pp. 215-216) Because t h i s picture of Lady Middleton comes from a narrator taking an omniscient point of view rather than through obtrusive authorial commentary or burlesque p o r t r a i t u r e , i t i s made more damning than comic. The reader rather than the author passes judgment. Like h i s wife, S i r John displays a s i m i l a r a b i l i t y to forget h i s past allegiance to the Dashwoods when he sees Willoughby i n town: "East night, i n Drury-lane lobby, I ran against S i r John Middleton, and when he saw who I w a s — f o r the f i r s t time these two months—he spoke to me. . . .he t o l d me that Marianne Dashwood was dying of a p u t r i d fever at Cleveland . . . His heart was softened i n seeing mine suffer; and so much of h i s i l l - w i l l was done away, that when we parted, he almost shook me by the hand while he reminded me of an o l d promise about a pointer puppy, (p. 330) Less prone to the demands of t h e i r own "good" natures, the Palmers seem more benevolent comic characters. At f i r s t they appear to be burlesque figures, he i s rude and she laughs too much} they are gradually developed into more r e a l i s t i c representations. Although Mrs. Palmer reacts to Willoughby 1 s engagement with unwarranted emotion and l a t e r c r u e l l y repeats to Elinor " e l l the particulars . . . of the approaching marriage"(p. 215), her concern f o r her c h i l d at Cleveland commands the reader's sympathy. Mr. Palmer's u n w i l l -ingness to leave the area of i n f e c t i o n "as well from r e a l humanity and good-nature, as from the d i s l i k e of appearing to be frightened away by his wife"(p.308) proves him a better character than he at f i r s t appears. On the whole, t h e i r marital r e l a t i o n s serve as a prototype of the Bennetts' i n Pride and Prejudice. The remaining benevolent comic figure, Mrs. Jennings, c a l l e d by Ian Watt "'the main agent of t h i s educative process" because she "has the essence of what r e a l l y matters as regards sense and s e n s i b i l i t y " , ^ seems an obvious burlesque f i g u r e . However, Henri Bergson says "a comic figure i s generally comic i n proportion to h i s ignorance of h i m s e l f 1 , 4 and Mrs. Jennings knows how she appears to others. When she i n v i t e s the Dashwoods to stay with her i n London, she says: "I thought i t would be more comfortable f o r them to be together; because i f they got t i r e d of me, they might t a l k to one another, and laugh at my odd ways behind my back." (p. 154) Such infrequent self-commentary supplies unexpected pathos. Austen has d e l i b e r a t e l y prevented the reader from seeing any of the characters from a purely comic or purely burlesque point of view by provoking e t h i c a l judgments or sympathy f o r i n d i v i d u a l pathos. With highly varied character portrayal she saves the novel from melodrama, but the emphasis on i n d i v i d u a l char-act e r i z a t i o n s rather than comic "types", c l a s s i f i a b l e within p r e v a i l i n g s o c i a l delusions l i k e the p a r a s i t i c Thorpes, creates a process of education which can only be c a l l e d tragicomic. In "The Compendium of Tragicomic Poetry" Giambattista Guarini, the I t a l i a n Renaissance play-wright and c r i t i c a l t h e o r i s t , finds that tragicomedy mingles: a l l the t r a g i c and comic parts that can coexist i n versimilitude and decorum . . . This i s done i n such a way that the imitation, which i s the instrumental end, i s that which i s mixed, and represents a mingling of both tra g i c and comic events.5 Instead of mingling comic presentation with burlesque exaggeration and having the heroine choose the deeper comic rhythm of love, i n Sense and S e n s i b i l i t y Austen forces the characters to near tragedy and then re t r i e v e s them, enlarging t h e i r perspectives of l i f e through s u f f e r i n g . The comic aspect of the education, again t h i s enlarging of perspectives, usually r e s u l t s from the recognition of the l i m i t a t i o n s of c e r t a i n patterns of behaviour and the transcendance of the patterns; with Marianne increased c i v i l i t y , e s p e c i a l l y to Mrs. Jennings (p. 341), transcends her o r i g i n a l selfishness} with E l i n o r the r i g h t to love shatters patterns of excessive emotional r e s t r a i n t . By combining serious events with the growing a b i l i t y to discriminate, the tragicomic process promotes the education of sympathy, as both E l i n o r and Marianne discover the dangerous l i m i t a t i o n s of t h e i r narrow worlds. The process becomes more immediate f o r the reader through the creation of sympathy which underlies the comic. Guarini also speaks of another tragicomic feature, the treatment of vi c i o u s i n d i v i d u a l s , which Austen uses to maintain the novel's plausible r e a l i t y : Punishment, which i n the double form of tragedy comes upon the malefactors, i s u n f i t t i n g to t r a g i -comic poetry, i n which according to custom the bad characters are not chastized. . . . Comedy or d i n a M l y desires to give a prosperous end to i t s worst characters. 6 This necessitates the lovers, the newly emerging s o c i a l " i n i t , being secluded from the malicious segment of society. Lucy Steele, Robert Ferrars, John and Fanny. Dashwood and Mrs. Ferrars form one segment of societyj with Lucy rewarded with money f o r her attachment to money instelad of love. One expects the lack of punishment to be amoral; instead the separation of malicious and benevolent characters appears to judge thosse who be-haved badly by depriving them of a place within the enlarged v i s i o n of l i f e . Guarini also speaks on the st y l e of language appropriate to tragicomedy: The normal and c h i e f style of tragicomedy i s the magnificent, which, when accompanied with the grave, becomes the norm of tragedy, but when mingled with the polished, makes the combinations f i t t i n g to tragicomic poetry. 7 While Elinor,and, to some extent, Edward display polished or i r o n i c d i c t i o n which echoes e i t h e r Henry Tilney or El i z a b e t h Bennett, both lack s u f f i c i e n t e x t e r i o r dram-a t i z a t i o n to bear t h e i r e t h i c a l burdens with v i t a l i t y or magnificience. In f a c t , Austen's conviction of the place of ethics i n comedy leadsher to excessive moral proofs concerning some of the characters such as Colonel Brandon's story of E l i z a and Willoughby, lab e l e d "Unconvincing" by Ian Watt, 8 The sermonizing on art (Vol. I, Chapter XVIII) or selfishness (Vol. I l l , Chapter XI) seems obtrusively sensible. Austen c r i t -i c i z e s Pride and Prejudice because The work i s rather too l i g h t , and bright, and sparkling; i t wants shade; i t wants to be stretched out here and there with a long chapter of sense, i f i t could be had; i f not, of solemn specious nonsense, about something unconnected with the story; an essay on writing, a c r i t i q u e on Walter Scott, or the h i s t o r y of Buonaparte*, or anything which would form a contrast, and bring the reader with increased delight to the playfulness and epigrammatism of the general styJJre.9 Sense and SensibiMtfriywith plenty of shade and l i t t l e playfulness, verges on the abyss. Whether these ob-t r u s i v e l y moral parts of the novel r e s u l t from i t s early e p i s t o l a r y form as " E l i n o r and Marianne"10 or are merely the uncertain f i r s t approach to ethics i n serious comedy, Austen c l e a r l y f e e l s the emphasis on i n d i v i d u a l r e a l i z a t i o n demands e t h i c a l standards. By pushing the major action as close to disaster as possible and then creating a s o c i a l u n i t dissociated from the malicious elements of society^ Austen has prevented h e r s e l f from dramatizing the a s s i m i l a t i o n of the knowledge which E l i n o r and Marianne have acquired. The two a n t i t h e t i c a l u n i t s : sense and s e n s i b i l i t y , selfishness and sympathy, cannot achieve t o t a l dramatic import. With the development of the u n i f y i n g s o c i a l delusion Austen acquires the means of portraying an i n t e r i o r world equal to a dramatized e x t e r i o r i n Pride and Prejudice. Footnotes l A . Walton L i t z , Jane Austen: A Study of Her  A r t i s t i c Development (New York: Oxford University-Press, 1965), pp. 73-74. 2See Joseph Wiesenfarth, The Errand of Form:  An Essay of Jane Austen's Art (New York: Fordham U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1967), f o r a discussion of these c r i t i c a l opinions, pp. 30-31. 3lan Watt, "On Sense and S e n s i b i l i t y " . i n Jane  Austen: A C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l ! Essays, ed. Ian Watt (Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.: Prentice H a l l , Inc., 1963) , p. 48. Hereafter c i t e d as C r i t i c a l Essays. "^Bergson, p. 71. 5Giambattista Guarini, "The Compendium of Tragi-comic Poetry", i n L i t e r a r y C r i t i c i s m : Plato to Dryden, ed. A l l a n H. G i l b e r t (Detroit; Wayne State Uni v e r s i t y Press, 1962), p. 524. 6 G u a r i n i , p. 527. 7Guarini, p. 525. 8Watt, p. 49. 9Jane Austen, Jane Austen's L e t t e r s : to her s i s t e r  Cassandra and others, ed. R.W. Chapman, 2ed. (London: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1952), pp. 299-300. Here-a f t e r c i t e d as L e t t e r s . l°See B.C. Southam, Jane Austen's L i t e r a r y Man-u s c r i p t s : A study of the novellistfe development through  the surviving papers (London: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1964) , pp. 59-61. Chapter Three Pride and Prejudice The formal, moral and a r t i s t i c educations, used as a basis f o r burlesque i n Northanger Abbey and established as standards f o r e t h i c a l judgments i n Sense and S e n s i b i l i t y , are used as indices f o r human sympathy i n Pride and Prejudice. Motivated as i n Northanger Abbey by the growing attachment between the hero and heroine, the major education consists of learn-ing to recognise i n t r i n s i c worth i n a world where people are treated as s o c i a l objects. The novel's opening statement immediately displays t h i s s o c i a l tendancy f o r t r e a t i n g single aspects of people as t h e i r whole worth: I t i s a tru t h u n i v e r s a l l y acknowledged, that a single man i n possession of a good fortune, must be i n want of a wife. (p. 3) Instead of the lengthy expository chaptersscommon to Northanger Abbey and Sense and S e n s i b i l i t y , the novel immediately plunges into the preliminaries of acquaintance with Mr. Bingley. Not u n t i l the fourth chapter, a f t e r the acquaintance has been made, a f t e r the b a l l has been held, a f t e r the f i r s t judgments of the major characters have been formed, do we begin to get any expository biographical information, which delineates the N e t h e r f i e l d party rather than the Bennetts (p. 15). With the conversation between E l i z a b e t h and Charlotte Lucas, the s o c i a l habit of o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n i s applied to events which the reader has been witness to. Charlotte, p a r t i c u l a r l y , betrays a constant view of people as objects: " I f a woman conceals her a f f e c t i o n with the same s k i l l from the object of i t , she may lose the opportunity of f i x i n g him" (p. 21). When Elizabeth r e p l i e s that Jane cannot be overt i n her a f f e c t i o n s because "she i s not acting by design" (p,22) Charlotte elaborates her ethic of male-as-object i n the m a r i t a l hunt with a rather unhealthy view of marriage: "Happiness i n marriage i s e n t i r e l y a matter of chance. I f the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other, or ever so f a m i l i a r before-hand, i t does not advance t h e i r f e l i c i t y i n the l e a s t . They always continue to grow s u f f i c i e n t l y unlike afterwards to have t h e i r share of vexation" (p.23). An outstanding comic scene, described by Lydia, shows how an mnperceptive society f a i l s to recognise i n t r i n s i c worth or human dignity: "we had such a good piece of fun the other day at Colonel Porster's. . . . We dressed up Chamberlayne i n woman's clothes, on purpose to pass f o r a l a d y , — o n l y think what fun! . . . When Denny, and Wickham, and Pratt, and two or three more of the men came i n , they d i d not know him i n the l e a s t . " (p. 221)1 A disguised "object" would be d i f f i c u l t to recognise, e s p e c i a l l y f o r Wickham who sees women as "fortunes". The prevalence of t h i s s o c i a l delusion d i r e c t l y e f f e c t s the major love theme. When Miss Bingley and Darcy discuss women at Nethe r f i e l d , Miss Bingley maintains that feminine "accomplishments1!! create the "educated woman: "A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing and the modern languages . . . besides a l l t h i s she must possess a ce r t a i n something i n her a i r and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions . . . " A l l t h i s she must possess," added Darcy, "and to a l l t h i s she must yet add something more substantial, i n the improvement of her mind by extensive reading." (p. 39) Such s t a t i c conceptions of education as the creator of an a e s t h e t i c a l l y pleasing object prepare- the reader f o r hearing that Elizabeth has become "an object of in t e r e s t i n the eyes" of Mr. Darcy: No sooner had he made i t c l e a r to himself and h i s friends that she had hardly a good feature i n her face, than he began to f i n d i t rendered uncommonly i n t e l l i g e n t by the b e a u t i f u l expression of her dark eyes. To t h i s discovery succeeded some others equally mortifying. Though he detected with a c r i t i c a l eye more than one f a i l u r e of per-f e c t symmetry i n her form, he was forced to acfeo knowledge her figure to be l i g h t and pleasing (p. 23). With Miss Bingley teasing him about the alterations he w i l l make to Pemberley's g a l l e r y , Darcy admits how important externals are to him: "As f o r your Elizabeth's picture, you must not attempt to have i t taken, f o r what painter could do j u s t i c e to those b e a u t i f u l eyes?" " I t would not be easy, indeed, to catch t h e i r expression, but t h e i r colour and shape, and the eye-lashes, so remarkably f i n e , might be copied." (p. 53)2 Before Darcy can obtain Elizabeth t h i s f a l s e aesthetic must be disgarded- and a new e t h i c a l and aesthetic basis found. The f i r s t of Austen's heros to receive an education i n human understanding equal to that of the heroine, Darcy makes hi s f i r s t proposal while s t i l l regarding E l i z a b e t h as a p h y s i c a l object: he was not more eloquent on the subject of tender-ness than of pride« His sense of her i n f e r i o r i t y — of i t s being a degradation—of the family obstacles which judgment had always opposed to i n c l i n a t i o n (p. 189, my i t a l i c s ) . Darcy must l e a r n to stop regarding himself and the rest of the world as objects, thinking "'meanly of t h e i r sense and worth compared with [hisj own&"(p. 369). E l i z a b e t h educates him with lessons on i n t r i n s i c worth, as he acknowledges: "What do I not owe you! You taught me a lesson, hard indeed at f i r s t , but most advantageous. By you I was properly humbled." (p. 369) Invited to tour with her aunt and uncle, the Gardiners, a f t e r Wickham has become attached to Miss King, Elizabeth, equally prone to o b j e c t i f y i n g human values by r i g i d l y adhering to her f i r s t impressions, presents an aesthetic of nature which opposes the f a l s e aesthetic: "My dear, dear aunt ." . . what delight! what f e l i c i t y ! i'ou give me fresh l i f e and vigour . . . what are men to rocks and mountains? Oh! what hours of transport we s h a l l spend! And when we do return, i t s h a l l not he l i k e other t r a v e l l e r s . . . we w i l l r e c o l l e c t what we have seen." (p. 154) This idea of t r a v e l l i n g into the natural world, gaining experience which can few brought back to the every-day world, suggests Northrop Frye's concept of the "green world": the action of the comedy begins i n a world re-presented as a normal world, moves into a green world, goes into a metamorphosis there i n which the comic r e s o l u t i o n i s achieved, and returns to the normal world. 4 Although the comic resolution i s not t o t a l l y achieved i n the "green world" i n Pride and Prejudice, i t cer-t a i n l y begins at Pemberley, whose natural a i r delights E l i z a b e t h and the Gardiners: Pemberley House . . . was a large, handsome, stone b u i l d i n g , standing well on r i s i n g ground . . . i n front a stream of some natural import-ance was swelled into greater, but without any a r t i f i c i a l appearance. I t s banks were neither formal nor f a l s e l y adorned. Elizabeth was de-li g h t e d . She had never seen a place f o r which nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so l i t t l e counteracted by an awkward taste. (p. 245) On entering Pemberley's g a l l e r y shortly afterwards, she finds Darcy's p o r t r a i t : a s t r i k i n g resemblance of Mr. Darcy, with such a smile over the face, as she remembered to have sometimes seen, when he looked, at her. . . . as she stood before the canvas, on which he was represented, and f i x e d h i s eyes upon her-s e l f , she thought of h i s regard with a deeper sentiment of gratitude that i t had ever raised before; she remembered i t s warmth, and softened i t s impropriety of expression. (pp. 250-251, my i t a l i c s ) With the aid of memory and aesthetic imagination El i z a b e t h r e l i v e s the proposal scene without the r i g i d e f f e c t of her f i r s t impression of Darcy to obscure her perception of h i s emotion. When she t e l l s Jane she dates her love f o r Darcy from " f i r s t seeing h i s b e a u t i f u l grounds at Pemberley" (p. 373), Elizabeth i s i r o n i c a l l y accurate; her appreciation of natural beauty promotes her perception of i n t r i n s i c worth. In order to preserve the place of ethics i n serious comedy, Austen c a r e f u l l y maintains the notion of i n t r i n s i c worth within the bounds of conventional morality. Malicious or e v i l characters do not possess i n t r i n s i c worth, no matter how a e s t h e t i c a l l y pleasing they appear externally. Elizabeth connects morality with discovery when she speaks to Darcy of his second proposal: "My resolution of thanking you f o r your kindness to Lydia had c e r t a i n l y great e f f e c t . Too much, I am a f r a i d ; f o r what becomes of the moral, i f our comfort springs from a breach of promise, f o r I ought not to have mentioned the subject? This w i l l never do." "You need not dis t r e s s yourself. The moral w i l l be p e r f e c t l y f a i r . Lady Catherine's u n j u s t i f i a b l e endeavours to separate us, were the means of removing a l l doubts." (p. 381) Even though i r o n i c a l l y elevating the motivation f o r the discovery of love from Lydia to Lady Catherine, both la c k i n g i n t r i n s i c worth, Austen s t i l l maintains that only the good are rewarded. Cl e a r l y she has s h i f t e d her view since Northanger Abbey and Sense and S e n s i b i l i t y ; the comic resolution w i l l not separate the lovers from the rest of society. Through the force of t h e i r love they have discovered society's major delusion. This discovery generates most of the novel's deep comedy or " v i t a l f e e l i n g " . The dominant s o c i a l feature of o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n unites every comic element i n Pride and Prejudice, allowing Austen to return to burlesque caricature without l o s i n g the sense of the character 1s i n d i v i d u a l i t y . The burlesqued characters t r y to impose t h e i r own patterns on the world, g i v i n g r i s e to such outstanding examples of i n t e l l e c t u a l callousness as Mr. C o l l i n s and Mary Bennett, both incapable of transforming knowledge acquired from books to a compassionate under-standing of the human s i t u a t i o n . Mrs. Bennett, Mr. C o l l i n s and Lady Catherine lack any self-awareness. Each of them desires a world ordered by t h e i r own minds, where no chance or spontaneous action i s possible. Mr. 0.0111x1*33 even attempts to o b j e c t i f y s o c i a l intercourse. Although he t e l l s Mr. Bennett that h i s compliments " , a r i s e c h i e f l y from what i s passing at the time*" he also admits: though I sometimes amuse myself with suggesting and arranging such l i t t l e elegant compliments as may be adapted to ordinary occasions, I always wish to give them as unstudied an a i r as possible." (p. 68) Lady Catherine and Mrs. Bennett want t h e i r daughters married to money and p o s i t i o n . Elizabeth and Darcy by breaking these external impediments to t h e i r union at the same time as they break i n t e r n a l impediments, celebirate the v i t a l i t y of l i f e . As i n Northanger Abbey Austen combines a comic surface with a deep comic rhythm, educating the hero and heroine both through t h e i r growing attachment and t h e i r reactions to surface impediments. The comic rhythm develops impetus not only from the f r u s t r a t i n g attempts of Wickham and Lady Catherine to prevent El i z a b e t h and Darcy from marrying but also from the highly symmetrical plot s t r u c t u r e . 5 As i n Morthanger  Abbey, another p a i r of lovers, Jane and Bingley, who i n t u i t i v e l y recognise each others i n t r i n s i c worth, p a r a l l e l the major action. Distinguished as simple characters by Elizabeth (p. 42) they provide a contrast of constant devotion against which Darcy and Elizabeth appear more active and e x c i t i n g . Another p a i r , Lydia and Wickham, exhibit passion without the governing power of reason. So far removed from the mental or human alertness of any of the other comic figures and "only brought together because t h e i r passions were stronger than t h e i r virtue"(p. 312), the two serve as moral exempla rather than part i c i p a n t s i n the benevolent comic resolution. Both the comic surface and deep comic rhythm emphasise the unique comic positions o f Elizabeth and Darcy. Eli z a b e t h generates spontaneous physical v i t a l i t y , l i k e the excitement the Gardiner children display when t h e i r parents drive up to the Bennett's door. "Joyful surpr(£sse l i g h t e d up t h e i r faces, and displayed i t s e l f over t h e i r whole bodies, i n a vari e t y of capers and f r i s k s " ( p . 286). L i o n e l T r i l l i n g also notices Elizabeth's p h y s i c a l exhuberance: no q u a l i t y of the heroine of Pride and Prejudice i s more appealing than her physical energy. We think of Eli z a b e t h Bennett as i n physical movement; her love of dancing confirms our b e l i e f that she. moves g r a c e f u l l y . I t i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of her fi to smile; she l i k e s to tease; she loves to t a l k . E l i z a b e t h combines the dominant q u a l i t i e s of E l i n o r and Marianne Dashwood; t h e i r wit, v i t a l i t y , and capacity f o r action i n the l i m i t e d feminine world. Darcy, also capable of spontaneous action, a f t e r he has been educated and accepted by Elizabeth, displays a verbal wit equal to Elizabeth's as he parries question with compliment: "Why, e s p e c i a l l y , when you c a l l e d , did you look as i f youcidid not care about me?" "Because you were grave and s i l e n t , and gave me no encouragement." "But I was embarrassed." "And so was I." "You might have talked to me more when you came to dinner." "A man who had f e l t l e s s , might." (p. 381) Although he has^ "yet to learn to be laught at" (p. 371), Darcy has learned to laugh. With such energies, the comic combatants completely triumph over the s o c i a l delusion. That society which set out to make a r i g i d structure out of o b j e c t i f i e d human values, turning morality and love into money ©nd marriage, instead of being destroyed, sweeps along with the lovers to a comic conclusion with the r e v i t e l -i z a t i o n not of the structure but of the values i t re-presents. Unlike Catherine and Henry Ti l n e y or E l i n o r and Edward Ferrars, Elizabeth and Darcy need not re-t r e a t from the rest of society to preserve t h e i r union. Money and marriage, as long as they are humanely used, . present no danger to the lovers. In Pride and Prejudice recognition of the s o c i a l delusion, the comic education, does not destroy the s o c i a l delusion; instead the i n t r i n s i c values of s o c i a l convention are re-established. The novel achieves t h i s end not by burlesquing sentimental or Gothic f i c t i o n (both a r t i s t i c conventions) or by pushing the i n d i v i d u a l to the l i m i t s of s e l f -preservation to e s t a b l i s h self-knowledge, but rather by the simplest means of disguise and recognition.? Mistaking the mask f o r the face behind i t , as Lydia and Wickham mistake marriage f o r r e s p e c t a b i l i t y , creates part of the surface comedy of s o c i a l irony. The char-a c t e r i s t i c i r o n i e s of Elizabeth, Darcy and Austen her-s e l f , d i s s o c i a t i o n of material presented and material implied, recognise the inadequacies of word-masks to portray meaning. The comic resolution reconciles those enlightened enough to recognise masks with those who s t i l l see masks as the e s s e n t i a l part of the s o c i a l face. William H a z l i t t has said, "There i s nothing more powerfully humourous than what i s c a l l e d keeping i n comic character . . . consistency i n absurdity". 8  Pride and Prejudice p e r s i s t s i n i t s s o c i a l and verbal i r o n i e s i n spite of Darcy and Elizabeth's education, creating a sense that the whole s o c i a l machine could again r i g i d i f y human values the moment Mr. Bennett retreats to h i s l i b r a r y . However, t h i s idea i s hardly t r a g i c , entailing, as i t does, the p o s s i b i l i t y of another Elizabeth and Darcy. Pride and Prejudice marks the end of the f i r s t major development of Austen's a r t i s t i c career. The sense of f e s t i v i t y , of patterned dance under the guise of Fortune, the mating of the best of manhood with the f i n e s t of womankind, does not occur again. The ac-cumulation of self-knowledge which happens "off-stage" f o r Darcy and f o r Elizabeth through devices reporting "off-stage" events, such as Darcy's l e t t e r and Jane's l e t t e r s concerning Lydia's elopement, i s to be brought "on-stage" with the s u f f e r i n g heroine. The change i n only the hero and heroine, which they, d i r e c t primarily.at one another while the;/ rest .of the world, unchanged^' sees them i n t h e i r characteristic masks, can no longer be considered a s u f f i c i e n t l y strong moral conclusion. I t becomes more d i f f i c u l t f o r a Mrs. Bennett, Lady Catherine or Mr. C o l l i n s to l i v e on af t e r the f i n a l page i n order to maintain comic consistency. Education moves further away from the comic surface towards the deep impulses of growth. . lBoth R.W. Chapman i n h i s "Index of Characters, Ete." f o r Pride and Prejudice (p. 414) and G.L. Apperson i n A Jane Austen Dictionary (Oxford: Kemp H a l l Press Ltd., 1932) believe that Chamberlayne i s a member of the M i l i t i a . I f e e l that i t i s more l i k e l y that he i s a servant at the Forsters, e s p e c i a l l y considering the general attitudes towards servants expressed i n the novel, i . e . H i l l , p. 289. 2On a v i s i t to a London Gallery, Jane Austen saw "a small p o r t r a i t of Mrs. Bingley, excessively l i k e her . . . but there was no Mrs. Darcy" (Letters, p. 309) This suggests that Austen, l i k e many readers, pictured E l i z a b e t h v erbally, by what she said, rather than v i s u a l l y . ^The novel's o r i g i n a l t i t l e was " F i r s t Impressions", Minor Works, facing page 242. 4 F r y e , p. 456. 6See Dorothy Van Ghent, The English Novel: Form  and Function (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, I960) f o r a diagram of the p l o t structure, p. 105. 7 L i o n e l T r i l l i n g , "Mansfield Park", i n C r i t i c a l Essays, p. 128. See also David Daiches, A C r i t i c a l  History of English L i t e r a t u r e i n Two Volumes (New York: The Ronald Press Company, 1970), f o r a rhaptur-ous image of Pride and Prejudice as a dance on a "trimly kept grass p l o t " , p. 752. 8See H a z l i t t , the opening chapter discusses the c h i l d ' s delight i n the use of masks. ^ H a z l i t t , p. 14. C h a p t e r F o u r M a n s f i e l d P a r k I n M a n s f i e l d P a r k A u s t e n , f o r t h e f i r s t t i m e q u e s t i o n s the n a t u r e o f e d u c a t i o n . W h i l e m a i n t a i n i n g the c o n c e p t o f e d u c a t i o n u n i f i e d by r e a c t i o n t o a s o c i a l d e l u s i o n d e v e l o p e d i n P r i d e and P r e j u d i c e , t h e n o v e l e x p l o r e s two new a r e a s o f c o n f l i c t : t h e problem o f environment and e d u c a t i o n o r n a t u r e and n u r t u r e , and e d u c a t i o n ' s f u n c t i o n i n s o c i e t y . W h i l e i n N o r t h a n g e r  Abbey, Sense and S e n s i b i l i t y and P r i d e and P r e j u d i c e t h e p r o d u c t o f the e d u c a t i v e p r o c e s s has been a young l a d y o f w i t and r e s o u r c e s , i n M a n s f i e l d P a r k Fanny P r i c e p o s s e s s e s l i t t l e s u r f a c e v i t a l i t y and no w i t t o a t t r a c t the r e a d e r . Combining the t r a g i c o m e d y o f Sense and S e n s i b i l i t y w i t h t h e mask m a n i p u l a t i o n o f " P r i d e and P r e j u d i c e , the n o v e l e x p l o r e s the l i m i t s o f human a d a p t a b i l i t y t o e x t e r n a l c i r c u m s t a n c e s w i t h i n a d e l u d e d s o c i e t y . I n t h i s way A u s t e n d i v e r t s a t t e n t i o n f r o m t h e comic f l o w e r i n g o f e d u c a t i o n towards s t e a d y growth. The h e a v i l y b i o g r a p h i c a l o p e n i n g c h a p t e r s d e a l i n g w i t h Fanny's a r r i v a l a t M a n s f i e l d P a r k i n t r o d u c e t h e n a t u r e - n u r t u r e c o n f l i c t . Mrs. N b r r i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y c o n c e i v e s o f e d u c a t i o n as t h e magic panacea f o r a l l e v i l s of b i r t h : j'Give a g i r l an education, and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of s e t t l i n g well, without f u r t h e r expense to any body." (p. 6) S i r Thomas, although e s s e n t i a l l y agreeing with Mrs. Norris, fears the p o s s i b i l i t y of an e v i l nature: "Should her d i s p o s i t i o n be r e a l l y bad . . . we must not, f o r our own children's sake, continue her i n the family; but there i s no reason to suspect so great an e v i l . (p. 10) Fanny a r r i v e s : somewhat delicate and puny . . . small of her age, with no glow of complexion, nor any other s t r i k i n g beauty; exceedingly shy, and shrinking from notice; but her a i r , though awkward, was not vulgar, her voice was sweet, and when she spoke her countenance was pretty, (pp. 11-12) The f i r s t stage of Fanny's education, l i k e Catherine Morland's, consists of an adaptation to e x i s t i n g patterns: The place became les s strange, and the people l e s s formidable; and i f there were some amongst them whom she could not cease to fear, she began at l e a s t to know t h e i r ways, and to catch the best manner of conforming to them. (p. 17) Conforming to the w i l l of others and concealing her own "good q u a l i t i e s " ( p . 21) creates a pattern more d i f f i c u l t to break than Catherine's Gothic fantasy. Fanny's formal education, begun with the help of Edmund and the governess, broadens her thought but does not c u r t a i l her imitation: He knew her to be clever, to have a quick ap-prehension as well as good sense, and a fondness f o r reading, which, properly directed must be an education i n i t s e l f . Miss Lee taught her French, and heard her read the d a i l y portion of History, but he recommended the books which charmed her l e i s u r e hours, he encouraged her taste, and corrected her judgment; he made reading usef u l by t a l k i n g to her of what she read, and heightened i t s a t t r a c t i o n by judicious praise, (p. 22) Teaching where a desire to please exi s t s , Edmund's education functions to improve Fanny, j u s t as Fanny's education l a t e r functions to improve her s i s t e r , Susan (p. 397). The adaptation to pattern gives Fanny a learned appreciation of nature so that she expresses her regret f o r the loss of Sotherton's avenue of oaks with Cowper 1s l i n e s "'Ye f a l l e n avenues, once more I mourn your fate unmerited 1"(p. 56). L a t e r f on the evening a f t e r news has reached Mansfield that S i r Thomas w i l l return i n November, Fanny and Edmund look out a window: "Here's harmony!" said she, "Here's repose! Here's what may leave a l l painting and a l l music behind, and what poetry only can attempt to describe. . . . When I look out on such a night as t h i s , I f e e l as i f there could be neither wickedness nor sorrow i n the world; and there c e r t a i n l y would be l e s s of both i f the sublimity of Nature were more attended to . . ." "I l i k e to hear your enthusiasm, Fanny. I t i s a l o v e l y night, and they are much to be p i t i e d who have not been taught to f e e l as you do" (p. 113). Gradually Fanny's education moves towards self-expression embodied i n another aesthetic of nature. However, instead of using the aesthetic of nature as an aid to recognising i n t r i n s i c worth i n others, as Elizabeth Bennett does, Fanny, a l e s s - a c t i v e heroine, uses i t to recognise her own worth and eventually to free h e r s e l f from dependance on Edmund. Unfortunately Fanny's education takes place within a society which demands regularized or conventional behaviour. In order to e x i s t i n society she must construct, through her moral education, a s o c i a l "character", which w i l l stand f o r her i n society's transactions, while at the same time she must maintain her own i n d i v i d u a l f e e l i n g . Edmund elucidates t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p when he speaks to Miss Crawford of the clergyman's s o c i a l r o l e : "He . . . has the charge of a l l that i s of the f i r s t importance to mankind, i n d i v i d u a l l y or c o l l e c t i v e l y considered, temporally and e t e r n a l l y — . . . the guardianship of r e l i g i o n and morals, and consequently of the manners which r e s u l t from t h e i r influence. . . . The manners I speak of might rather be c a l l e d conduct, perhaps, the r e s u l t of good p r i n c i p l e s : the e f f e c t i n short of of those doctrines which i t i s t h e i r duty to teach and recommend (pp. 92-93). Against the natural background of Sotherton's wilderness, Edmund attempts to di s t i n g u i s h between manners founded on s o c i a l propriety and conduct founded on firm p r i n c i p l e s . Behind every action i n Mansfield Park the danger of turning proper conduct into cermonious manner, poses a constant threat. The planned journey to Maria's b r i d a l home, Sotherton, becomes a long ceremonious discussion of who s h a l l ride i n what carriage or whether Fanny should go; everyone conceals' h i s true motives, the various f e e l i n g s f o r Henry Crawford, behind a facade of s o c i a l pleasantries (pp. 76-79). At Sotherton J u l i a and Mary Crawford's reduction of d a i l y prayers and marriage to ceremonious actions depending on who i s standing before the a l t a r i n Sotherton chapel (pp. 86-89) prepares f o r the actual wedding of Maria and Mr. Rushworth: I t was a very proper wedding. The bride was elegantly dressed—the two bridesmaids were duly i n f e r i o r — h e r father gave her away—her mother stood with s a l t s i n her hand, expecting to be a g i t a t e d — h e r aunt t r i e d to c r y — t h e service was impressively read by Dr. Grant. Nothing coulad be objected to when i t came under the discussion of the neighbourhood, except that the carriage which conveyed the bride and bridegroom and J u l i a from the church door to Sotherton, was the same chaise Mr. Rushworth had used f o r a twelvemonth before. (p. 203) The whole occasion, robbed of any f e e l i n g , has become mere propriety. This d i s s o c i a t i o n of s e n s i b i l i t y can only be healed with the successful construction of a f u n c t i o n a l " s o c i a l character". Fanny's education provides her with a sound < character; Maria Bertram's does not: S i r Thomas . . . became aware how unfavourable to the character of any young people, must be the t o t a l l y opposite treatment which Maria and J u l i a had been always experiencing at home, where the excessive indulgence and f l a t t e r y of t h e i r aunt had been continually contrasted with h i s own severity. . . . bad as i t was, he gradually grew to f e e l that i t had not been the most d i r e f u l mistake i n h i s plan of education. Something must have been wanting within, or time would have worn away much of i t s i l l e f f e c t . Re feared that p r i n c i p l e , active p r i n c i p l e , had been wanting, that they had never been properly taught to govern t h e i r i n c l i n a t i o n s and tempers, bytthat sense of duty which can alone s u f f i c e . . . . Maria had destroyed her own character (pp. 462-465). Lacking p r i n c i p l e , Maria's conduct destroys her s o c i a l mask. Both Henry and Mary Crawford have inadequate s o c i a l masks ?and s u f f e r from what Denis Donahue c a l l s "The two great temptations which l i e across the path of truth i n Jane Austen's f i c t i o n . . . 'charm' and 'selfishness'."^ Miss Crawford's s p r i g h t l i n e s s of mind, "her ta l e n t s f o r the l i g h t and l i v e l y " (p, 81), almost obscures the selfishness which she i s conscious of hersi&f (p. 68). Like h i s s i s t e r , Henry Crawford has not been nurtured i n the best of households. Possessed of a pleasing character, he sets out to break Fanny's heart, or rather to make i t over i n h i s own image: "I w i l l not do her any harm, dear l i t t l e soul! I only want her to look kindly on me . . . ' to think as I think, be interested i n a l l my possessions and pleasures." (p. 231) Unsuccessful u n t i l he makes Fanny's brother a lieutenant, through the inte r c e s s i o n of h i s uncle, the Admiral, Henry further improves on h i s v i s i t to Portsmouth. However, the b e n e f i c i a l e f f e c t s of the acquaintance cannot overcome h i s poor education and lack of p r i n c i p l e : Henry Crawford, ruined by early independence and bad domestic example, indulged i n the freaks of a cold-bHiooded vanity a l i t t l e too long. . . . Would he have persevered, and up-rightly, Fanny must have been h i s reward (p. 467). Our consciousness of the mmotives or circumstances behind the Crawfords' actions does not always prevent our f e e l i n g sympathetic to t h e i r v i t a l i t y . Both of them, l i k e E l i z a b e t h and Darcy, are aware of the ceremonious propriety of the deluded society i n which they l i v e . F i n a l l y Austen asks us to judge them on e t h i c a l rather than aesthetic grounds, assessing t h e i r s e l f i s h conduct rather than t h e i r engaging manners. The passion f o r creating characters or ceremony creates much of the novel's surface comedy. But Mansfield Park has a deep comic rhythm as wells; Fanny's i n d i v i d u a l growth, which at times opposes the surface comedy on e t h i c a l grounds. The outstanding example of surface comedy, the assumption of a character un-suited to a p a r t i c u l a r s o c i a l role or a character not created from one's own experience, occurs i n the play sequence a f t e r Mr. Yates a r r i v a l at Mansfield. L i o n e l T r i l l i n g emphasises the moral aspects of t h i s sequence at the expense of the comic: The play i s Kotzebue's Lover's Vows and i t deals with i l l i c i t love and a bastard, but Jane Austen, as her l e t t e r s and novels c l e a r l y show, was not a prude. Some of the scenes of the play permit Henry Crawford to make love i n public, but t h i s i s not s a i d to be d e c i s i v e l y objectionable. What i s decisive i s a t r a d i t i o n a l , almost primitive, f e e l i n g about dramatic impersonation. . . . the f e a r that the impersonation of a bad or i n f e r i o r character w i l l have a harmful e f f e c t upon the impersonator, that, indeed, the impersonation of any other s e l f w i l l diminish the i n t e g r i t y of the r e a l s e l f . 2 While some of the characters do lose t h e i r i n t e g r i t y the comic rather than moral loss stems from the selec-t i o n of the play, the l a t e r s e l e c t i o n of roles and the inadequacies of some of the performers, a l l of which parodies the normal process of education. In Saturnalian fashion, Henry Crawford admits: "I could be f o o l enough at t h i s moment to under-take any character that ever was written . . . I could rant or storm, or sigh, or cut capers i n any tragedy or comedy i n the English language." (p. 123) Not only does Tom Bertram abdicate h i s role as h e i r -apparent, i n the reversed world of the play he becomes a member of the servant cl a s s , a rhyming butler. Overthrowing h i s absent f a t h e r 1 s moral universe, he transforms the b i l l i a r d room into the theatre and h i s father's room into a place where make-up and disguises are put on: "the doors at the f a r t h e r end, communicating with each other as they may be made to do i n f i v e minutes, by merely moving the bookcase i n my father's room . . . my father's room w i l l be an excellent green-room. I t seems to j o i n the b i l l i a r d - r o o m on purpose, (p. 125) Only Fanny sees a l l the ceremony attached to s e l e c t i n g a play as the r e s u l t of disguised s e l f - i n t e r e s t : Fanny looked on and l i s t e n e d , not unamused to observe the selfishness which, more or less disguised, seemed to govern them a l l , and wondering how i t would end. (p. 131) Instead of ending,.the parody becomes more intense. The f i r s t casting objective, t r y i n g to matehh a part with acting a b i l i t y , l i k e matching conduct with p r i n -c i p l e s , soon gives way to "type-casting", matching roles with physical appearances. When Crawford suggests that J u l i a play Amelia, Tom Bertram i n s i s t s on Mary Crawford because "Amelia should be a small, l i g h t , g i r l i s h , skipping f i g u r e " and "Miss Crawford . . . looks the part"(p. 135). The reverse of the e x t e r i o r world i m p l i c i t i n the created world of Lover's Vows, one of the most complex s t r u c t u r a l devices ever used by Austen, prisents a comedy of s o c i a l delusions. However, unlike Pride and Prejudice where s o c i a l delusions o b j e c t i f i e d i n money and marriage were r e v i t a l i z e d , Mansfield Park does not condone the f a l s e assumption of r o l e s . To recognise f a l s e l y assumed roles has become so d i f f i c u l t , even the hero and heroine are victims of the Crawfords' fi n e exteriors, that any f a l s e assumption s o c i a l disguise, however comic, mmust be -regarded as dangerous and unethical. Austen's other treatments of morality have tended to accept manners, r i g h t conduct and r e s p e c t a b i l i t y as appropriate symbols f o r superior ethics. I f economic status became too excessive an element of s o c i a l r e s p e c t a b i l i t y , as i n Northanger Abbey and Sense and S e n s i b i l i t y , the lovers were secluded from the p r e v a i l i n g s o c i a l delusion. The peaceful co-existence of delusion and understanding i n Pride and Prejudice necessitated a c e r t a i n amount of r e - l o c a t i o n accomplished through Darcy's wealth. In the previous novels moral e v i l s had e i t h e r been abstract or distanced with a b l u r of r e s p e c t a b i l i t y : the Thorpes fade away, Colonel Brandon's bastard c h i l d turns out not to be h i s , Lydia and Wickham achieve formal r e s p e c t a b i l i t y i n marriage. Not so i n Mansfield  Park, those who do wrong are punished: Mrs. Norris, the only character excessively m a t e r i a l i s t i c , i s e x i l e d with Maria, Tom Bertram loses h i s health, S i r Thomas loses h i s daughters and the Sotherton connection, Mary Crawford loses Edmund, and Maria Rushworth loses her r e s p e c t a b i l i t y . No peaceful co-existence or t i d y seclusion i s permitted. Lady Bertram, Fanny, Edmund, S i r Thomas and Susan do, however, begin to grow. Having learned his lesson, Tom Bertram recovers h i s health. The s p l i t between comic, ceremonious propriety and serious p r i n c i p l e d conduct, does not destroy the main characters. The comedy of fortunate circumstance, v i t a l i t y and symmetry, g l o r i o u s l y achieved i n Pride and  Prejudice.has no place i n the darker world of Mansfield  Park; the absence of sparkling wit suggests a quieter tragicomic delight i n the growtn of the i n d i v i d u a l . Both Edmund and Fanny must assimilate experience and use i t to function i n a regenerative pattern. Edmund, more e r r a t i c than Fanny, succumbs to tne temptations of Mary Crawford 1s natural manner, withdraws, i s ordained, almost succumbs again, and, eventually discerning Mary's selfishness, he finds Fanny, the object of h i s nurturing, the worthy re-c i p i e n t of h i s love. §?anny presents a picture of steady growth as she leans to assert herself. Grad-u a l l y she breaks away from dependence on Edmund, f i r s t by not approving h i s decision to act i n the play (pp. 155-156) and l a t e r by refusing to advise him about Miss Crawford (p. 269). Her l a t e r r e f u s a l to conform to the wishes of S i r Thomas and Henry Crawford, breaking the e a r l y pattern of adaptability and compliance, shows further comic growth. The largest pattern which she must break, created by her imagination, concerns her family. Her v i s i t to Portsmouth, a s t r u c t u r a l device which balances the attempt to overthrow s o c i a l order i n the play sequence, creates an expanded v i s i o n of the world. Her own home, l i k e the play, i s chaotic: William was gone;—and the home he had l e f t her i n was—Fanny could not conceal i t from h e r s e l f — i n almost every respect the reverse of what she would have wished. I t was the abode of noise, disorder, impropriety. Nobody was i n t h e i r r i g h t place, nothing was done as i t ought to be. (pp. 388-389) The physical d e b i l i t a t i o n which Fanny suffers i n Portsmouth, matches the moral d e b i l i t a t i o n suffered by the others because of the play. The return to Mansfield Park, almost a retreat into a green world, brings Fanny home to a place where the aesthetic of nature promoting the apprehension of what l i e s behind s o c i a l masks, has made some r a d i c a l changes. Maria, Mrs. Norris and the Crawfords have gone; Fanny returns with spring: Her eye f e l l every where on lawns and plantations of the freshest green; and the trees, though not f u l l y clothed, were i n that d e l i g h t f u l state when further beauty i s known to be at hand (p. 446). Focusing on the accumulation of experience i n a more psychologically determined manner, Austen allows us to see Fanny from the age of ten t i l l the time of her marriage without purely sequential authorial commentary l i k e that given i n Northanger Abbey: "Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday have now passed i n review before the reader"(p. 97). Instead of p a r c e l l i n g events i n t h i s precise manner, Austen, when she does enter the novel, discusses time very ambiguously: I purposely abstain from dates on t h i s occasion, that every one may be at l i b e r t y to f i x t h e i r own . . . I only i n t r e a t every body to believe that exactly at the time when i t was quite natural that i t should be so, and not a week e a r l i e r , Edmund did cease to care about Mary Crawford, and became as anxious to marry Fanny, as Fanny h e r s e l f could desire, (p. 570) This comment, shifts, the cause f o r s o c i a l or i n d i v i d u a l changes from the ex t e r i o r form of the world, whether chrono-l o g i c a l l y apportioned time or fortunate circumstance, to i n t e r i o r experience. In t h i s way the deep rhythms of growing love and i n d i v i d u a l growth are brought to a natural union, experienced and ready to contribute to the new s o c i a l growth. As serene and organic as the conclusion i s , i t s t i l l leaves some a r t i s t i c problems. The r e s t r i c t i o n of surface comic elements to a primarily immoral posi-t i o n and the increased emphasis on inner delight creates a problem f o r the reader who f e e l s sympathetic to a l l the comic elements. The condemnation of imaginative and a r t i s t i c v i t a l i t y i n Henry and Mary Crawford i s p a r t i c u l a r l y d i f f i c u l t to appreciate. Austen, herself, must have f e l t the attractiveness of comic imagination f o r i n Emma she attempts to marry imagination to reason. Footnotes iDenis Donahue, "A View of Mansfield Park" i n C r i t i c a l Essays on Jane Austen, ed. B.C. Southam (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1968), p. 45. 2 T r i l l i n g , "Mansfield Park", p. 132. Chapter Four Emma The novel's f i r s t sentence c l e a r l y shows Emma Woodhouse as older and further removed from a formal education but j u s t as inexperienced as any of the previous Austen heroines: Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and righ, with a comfortable home and a happy di s p o s i t i o n , seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had l i v e d nearly twenty-one years i n the world with very l i t t l e to distress or vex her. (p. 5) The marriage of her governess, Miss Taylor, to Mr. Weston, leaves Emma i n great danger of su f f e r i n g from i n t e l l e c t u a l solitude. She dearly loved her father, but he was no companion f o r her i n conversation, r a t i o n a l or p l a y f u l , (p. 7) Emma's ardent c r i t i c , Mr. Knightley, f e e l s that she w i l l not receive a r a t i o n a l education from the habit of reading: "Emma has been meaning to read more ever since she"was twelve years old. I have seen a great many l i s t s of her drawing up at various times of books that she meant to read reg u l a r l y through . . . and I dare say she may have made out a very good l i s t now. But I have done with expecting' any course of steady reading from Emma. She w i l l never submit to any thing re-quiring industry and patience, and a subjection of the fancy to the understanding, (p. 37) Emma possesses that attractiveness of character which Henry and Mary Crawford displayed i n t h e i r active although immoral use of creative imagination. Given "the power of having rather too much her own way," (p. 5) which destroys any s o c i a l r e s t r a i n t s , and thinking she has"made the match" (p. 11) between Miss Taylor and Mr. Weston, Emma's fancy selects Harriet Smith to be made over, as her companion, "a g i r l who wanted only a l i t t l e more knowledge and elegance to be quite perfect"(p. 23). A reverse of the functionalism of education i n Mansfield Park where Fanny's education helped her s i s t e r , Susan, Emma's education instead of a l l e v i a t i n g a p a i n f u l s i t u a t i o n causes Harriet to f e e l d i s s a t i s f i e d with a reasonably pleasant one, her attachment to the Martins. The e f f e c t becomes more comic when Emma fancies a r t i f i c i a l surges of " v i t a l f e e l i n g " by matching Harriet and Mr. Elton: She thought i t would be an excellent match; and only too palpably desirable, natural and probable, f o r her to have any merit i n planning i t . . . . I t was not l i k e l y , however, that any_body should have equalled her i n the date of the plan, as i t had entered her b r a i n during the f i r s t evening of H arriet's coming to H a r t f i e l d . (pp. 34-35) Like Catherine's Gothic fantasy, Emma's imagination quickly glosses over r e a l i s t i c elements, "a want of elegance of feature" i n Mr. Elto n , to f i n d him "a very pleasing young man, a young man whom any woman not f a s t i d i o u s might l i k e " ( p . 35). The power of Emma's fancy destroys the good e f f e c t s of education, the a b i l i t y to make discerning judgments (Sense and  S e n s i b i l i t y ) and the capacity f o r human sympathy (Pride and Prejudice). Emma f i r s t loses her a r t i s t i c s e n s i b i l i t y , improving on Harriet's actual dimensions while painting her picture (p. 47), then the moral scruple which would not have allowed her to romanticize H a r r i e t ' s bastardy (p. 27) and f i n a l l y her.capacity to sympath-iz e with the f a u l t s of others. The loss of these forms of education through f a n c i f u l s e l f - d e c e i t and t h e i r subsequent recovery through the agency of Mr. Knightley provide the comic surface and the deep comedy of Emma1s education. The comedy i n Emma presents the consummation of Austen's former work. In Horthanger Abbey surface comedy developes from s t a t i c burlesque caricatures and the deep comedy of growing love derives from the overcoming of exterior f r u s t r a t i o n s . The education through tragicomedy i n Sense and S e n s i b i l i t y undermined the burlesque and emphasises, perseverence and the a l l e v i a t i o n of excessive sense and excessive s e n s i b i l i t y through sympathy. Pride and Prejudice reintroduces elements of burlesque caricature and emphasises the growing love between Darcy and Elizabeth, connecting them through the discovery of society's deluded view of people as objects. The ceremonious propriety and the growth to independence of the heroine provide ethically- c o n f l i c t i n g sources of comedy i n Mansfield Park. A l l of these works have major a r t i s t i c problems. Outward forms of comedy i n Northanger Abbey prevent an adequate re-presentation of the heroine. Correcting t h i s inadequacy with a u n i f i e d education, more subjective analysis of the heroines and the introduction of t r a g i c elements i n experience i n Sense and S e n s i b i l i t y allowis, e t h i c a l proofs to overbalance the comic and dramatic structure, f o r c i n g the lovers to retreat from a malicious society. The comic education i n Pride and Prejudice, the di s -covery of the p r e v a i l i n g s o c i a l delusion and the re-v i t a l i z a t i o n of s o c i a l l y r i g i d i f i e d structures, c u r t a i l s the subjective analysis of the hero and heroine. The heroine's recovery i n Mansfield Park only introduce® the c o n f l i c t between the condemned, but at times, a t t r a c t i v e comic surface and the e t h i c a l l y approved deep comic growth, leaving the reader d i s s a t i s f i e d with the judgments he has to make while appreciating the f a c t that the lovers' union i s not secluded. A l l these representations and t h e i r a r t i s t i c problems indicate that Austen i s t r y i n g to achieve an a r t i s t i c union of the surface and deep comic elements while -oo-maintaining a c l e a r l y defined e t h i c a l structure. Emma presents t h i s union by dealing with the education of the two f a c u l t i e s with access to the surface and deep comic elements, fancy and understanding. By increasing the subtlety of the t r a g i c elements through greater i n t e r n a l i z a t i o n and r e s t r i c t i n g the l o c a t i o n to Highbury, Austen maintains the education of sympathy but evades the obtrusive ethics present i n Sense and S e n s i b i l i t y and Mansfield Park. Making the s o c i a l delusion a f a u l t of the f a c u l t y of fancy rather than the f a u l t of r i g d d i f i e d s o c i a l or moral structures avoids the excessive a t t r a c t i o n to surface elements present i n Northanger Abbey and Pride and Prejudice. Austen robs no one of the capacity to f e e l or to reason, creating a f r u i t f u l and eventful society and saving the novel from burlesque. In Highbury, Austen creates a material and mental cornucopia. None of her previous novels have so many references to food: pork and apples go to the Bateses, who dispense cake to t h e i r guests; strawberries and a c o l d supper are produced at Donwell Abbey; the Weston's b a l l at The Crown has a sit-down dinner; the Coles have a dinner; the Woodhouses reciprocate; a p i c n i c takes place at Box H i l l ; and tea i s frequently taken at H a r t f i e l d . The reason f o r Mr. Elton's proposal to Emma, whom he imagines i s i n love with him, Emma considers to be an overindulgence i n "Mr. Weston's good wine"(p. 129), i r o n i c a l l y suggesting the l i n k between material a n d m e n t a l f m i t f u l n e s s . Highbury abounds i n such run-away fancies: Mr. Woodhouse imagines him-s e l f i n danger of sickness; Mrs. E l t o n imagines that she and her husband are s o c i a l leaders; Harr i e t imagines Mr. E l t o n returns her love and t h e n l l a t e r imagines the same thing with Mr. Knightley; Mr. and Mrs. Weston fancy a union between Emma and Frank C h u r c h i l l . Of course, Emma's own fancies create the novel's major action: she imagines a past and a married future f o r H a r r i e t Smith; she imagines an in t e r e s t between Mr. Dixon and Jane Fairfax; and, she imagines h e r s e l f i n f a l l i b l e . The Frank Churchill-Jane F a i r f a x disguised engagement deceives the Highbury inhabitants, promoting a good number of delusions. The motif of disguise becomes both comic and pathetic when Miss Bates' nimble and e r r a t i c chatter causes everyone, and es p e c i a l l y Emma, to believe she has no reason and consequently no fe e l i n g s . I r o n i c a l l y Miss Bates' speech i s no disguise at a l l ; quite accurately she says, "'What i s before me, I see'"(p. 176), what she sees, she t e l l s . 1 Although she possesses no imagination, she makes no use of her reason. Reason also achieves a f r u i t f u l stature i n Highbury. Jane Fairfax, one of the most reasonable characters, combines beauty and accomplishments with a capacity f o r moral error, which the reader regrets because of the person Jane i s , rather than the morality she sins against. Distinguished by hi s f o r t h r i g h t attitudes to p r a c t i c a l l i f e , Mr. Knightley also possesses verbal and i n t e l l e c t u a l wit. Instead of robbing him oif humour or gi v i n g him a purely i r o n i c wit, Austen allows Knightley some seemingly di s i n t e r e s t e d word-play, including a b i - l i n g u a l pun on Frank C h u r c h i l l : "Emma, your amiable young man can be amiable i n French, not i n English. He may be very •amiable,' have very good manners, and be very agreeable; but he can have no English delicacy towards the fee l i n g s of other people: nothing r e a l l y amiable about him." (p. 149) This t o t a l s o c i a l fecundity, an extension of " v i t a l f e e l i n g " , contrasts, but does not always c o n f l i c t with, Emma's fancies which create a r t i f i c i a l surges of v i t a l f e e l i n g . The a c t i v i t y of Highbury, when Emma and Har r i e t go to Fords the day a f t e r the Coles* dinner-party, not only r e f l e c t s the state of Emma's mind but also i l l u s t r a t e s the p a r t i c u l a r contrast between surface and deep comedy: Harri e t , tempted by every thing and swayed by h a l f a word, was always very long at a purchase; and while she was s t i l l hanging over the muslins and changing hem-mind, Emma went to the door f o r amusementl—Much could not he hoped from the t r a f f i c of even the busiest part of Highbury;— Mr. Perry walking h a s t i l y by, Mr. William Cox l e t t i n g himself i n at the o f f i c e door, Mr. Cole's carriage horses returning from exercise, or a stray letter-boy on an obstinate mule, were the l i v e l i e s t objects she could presume to expect; and when her eyes f e l l only on the butcher with hi s tray, a t i d y o l d woman t r a v e l l i n g homewards from shop with her f u l l basket, two curs quairrelling over a d i r t y bone, and a s t r i n g of dawdling children around the baker's l i t t l e bow-window eyeing the gingerbread, she knew she had no reason to com-p l a i n , and was amused enough; quite enough s t i l l to stand at the door. A mind l i v e l y and at ease, can do with seeing nothing, and can see nothing that does not answer, (p. 233, my i t a l i c s ) Emma expects to see f a m i l i a r objects, and people doing busy jobs; instead she sees l i v e l y human, but anony-mous, a c t i v i t y . Reality's a c t i v i t y more than matches that of her imagination; i n f a c t , i t shows the l i m i t e d sphere of Emma's v i s i o n of l i f e . Somehow Emma's at t r a c t i v e , f a n c i f u l imagination, the surface comedy, must be sympathetically a l l i g n e d with the deeper comedy of Highbury's v i t a l i t y . None of Austen's previous novels l i n k comedy and education through sympathy with the appearance of spontaneity that Emma possesses. By l o s i n g a r t i s t i c , moral and s o c i a l s e n s i b i l i t y under the s p e l l of her sel f - d e c e i v i n g fancies and regaining them with the help of experience and love, Emma learns the p o s i t i v e , v i t a l q u a l i t y of understanding. Although Jane Fairfax's superior playing prompts Emma to practice "vigourously an hour and a hal f " ( p . 231), i t is.her attachment.to Mr. Knightley that begins to return to Emma the a r t i s t i c s e n s i b i l i t y she s a c r i f i c e d while drawing Harriet. Like Elizabeth Bennett on a s i m i l i a r v i s i t , Emma, at Donwell Abbey, Knightley 1s home, shows her natural t a s t e : She f e l t a l l the honest pride and complacency which her a l l i a n c e with the present and future proprietor could f a i r l y warrant . . . i t s abund-ance of timber i n rows and avenues, which neither fashion nor extravagance had rooted up . . . the delici o u s shade of a broad short avenue of limes, which stretching beyond the garden at an equal distance from the r i v e r , seemed the f i n i s h of the pleasure grounds.—It l e d to nothing; nothing but a view at the end over a low stone wall with high p i l l a r s , which seemed intended, i n t h e i r erection to give the appearance of an approach to the house, which never had been there. Disputable, however, as might be the taste of such a termination, i t was i n i t s e l f a charming walk (pp. 358-360). The picturesque style which might have delighted a young Marianne Dashwood does not merit approval here, providing instead an i r o n i c comment on Emma's a r t i f i c i a l and imaginative conception of her own "approach" to Donwell Abbey through "young Henry", her s i s t e r , Isabella's son. While Emma has enough a r t i s t i c taste to rej e c t the f a l s e approach i n i t s o b j e c t i f i e d form, she does not yet see the f a l s e approach of her imagination. The following day Emma shows the extent of her sym-pathetic deficiency as she and Frank C h u r c h i l l amuse themselves by speculating on the thoughts of the other p i c n i c e r s . Frank says that Emma "only demands from each of you eit h e r one thing very clever . . . or two things moderately c l e v e r — or three things very d u l l indeed" (p. 370). Like Mrs. Jennings, Miss Bates, p a t h e t i c a l l y f a m i l i a r with her own l i m i t a t i o n s , exclaims: "then I need not be uneasy . . . I s h a l l be sure to say three d u l l things as soon as ever I open my mouth, shan't I?" (p. 370). Emma, whose fancy has released her wit from any l i m i t a -t i ons of moral or c i v i l r e a l i t i e s , f a l l s : Emma could not r e s i s t . "Ah! ma'am, but there may be a d i f f i c u l t y . Pardon me—but you w i l l be l i m i t e d as to number— only three at once." (p. 370) This, to the woman whom Emma has previously described to H a r r i e t as one of the most sympathetic people i n Highbury: "she i s only too good natured and too s i l l y to su i t me; but i n general she i s very much to the taste of every body . . . I r e a l l y believe i f she had only a s h i l l i n g i n the world, she would be very l i k e l y to give away sixpence of i t " (p. 85). Emma's behaviour, a form of surface comedy performed merely f o r e f f e c t , betrays her lack of f e e l i n g f o r the kind dullness of every day l i f e . When Knightley speaks of her i n s u l t to Miss Bates: Emma rec o l l e c t e d , blushed, was sorry, but t r i e d to laugh i t o f f . "Nay, how could I help saying what I did? . . . I dare say she did not understand me." (p. 374) Knightley does not, however, allow Emma's fancy to obscure the reason or feeli n g s of others: "Were she a woman of fortune, I would leave every harmless absurdity to take i t s chance . . . Were she your equal i n s i t u a t i o n . . . She i s poor; she has sunk from the comforts she was born to; and i f she l i v e to old age must probably sink more. Her s i t u a t i o n should secure your compassion." (p. 375) Knightley discloses the tragedy of Highbury, the i n -equality of s i t u a t i o n i n the land of plenty, which only good manners and good sense can compassionately counter-act. On the surfac§ Highbury g l i t t e r s , but t h i s surface can only be maintained through a knowledge of the s o c i a l structures and charitable, not f a n c i f u l , attempts to resolve them. In t h i s way Emma aligns surface and deep comedy but, unlike Pride and Prejudice, the novel -does not achieve i t s resolution through the r e v i t a l -i z a t i o n of r i g i d i f i e d structures. The s o c i a l system i s f l e x i b l e ; one can move down the class-scale, l i k e Miss Bates, or with some d i f f i c u l t y and good manners one can move up, l i k e the Coles. A l l i s well i n Highbury as long as no one i s denied h i s own humanity. Emma's i n s u l t denies Miss Bates her i n d i v i d u a l i t y , and reduces Emma to the stature of the a r t i f i c i a l Mrs. Elton. Repentent, Emma pays an early morning c a l l the next day to Miss Bates and makes every attempt at c i v i l i t y . Moving from repentence to sympathy, Emma inquires a f t e r Jane. Miss Bates, i n her most l u c i d speech of the novel, d e t a i l s Jane's acceptance of employment. This further evidence of so c i a l - s c a l e arouses Emma's sympathy even more: Her heart had been long growing kinder towards Jane; and t h i s picture of her present sufferings acted as a cure of every former ungenerous sus-p i c i o n , and l e f t her nothing but p i t y . . . She spoke as she f e l t with earnest regret and s o l i -citude (pp. 379-380). As well as a l l e v i a t i n g the s i t u a t i o n i n which she has placed Miss Bates, Emma's sympathy counteracts her e a r l i e r f a n c i f u l suspicions of Jane's attachment to Mr. Dixon. When Ha r r i e t confesses her love f o r Mr. Knightley, Emma's sympathetic education becomes f u l l y conscious. She immediately r e a l i z e s that her own attachment to Donwell Abbey i s the re s u l t of her attachment to i t s owner. This l a s t lesson, the hardest to bear because with i t she must acknowledge her own vanity and self - d e l u s i o n , becomes a double lesson i n sympathy. The creator of Harriet's i l l u s i o n s must not destroy H a r r i e t ; the imagination must acknowledge i t s previous lack of reason and compassion. The height of H arriet's aspirations promotes the regeneration of Emma's moral s e n s i b i l i t y . Class l e v e l s e x i s t f o r the protection of the i n d i v i d u a l s within them; i f she had l e f t H a r r i e t alone, no harm would have been done. This further acknowledgement of the importance of s o c i a l structures and Mr. Knightley's declaration of love complete Emma's education. Although t h i s r e a l i z a t i o n comes mainly through Emma's attachment to the reason-able Mr. Knightley, the novel does not subordinate s e n s i b i l i t y to sense, or imagination to reason. No re s o l u t i o n can take place, no "new s o c i a l u n i t " can form, without the help of imagination. Emma and Knightley do not f e e l able to marry without the support and consent of the most imaginative Mr. Woodhouse: In t h i s state of suspense they were befriended not by any sudden i l l u m i n a t i o n of Mr. Woodhouse's mind, or any wonderful change of his nervous system, but by the operation of the same system i n another way.—Mrs. Weston's poultry-house was robbed one night of a l l her t u r k i e s — e v i d e n t l y by the ingenuity of man. Other poultry-yards i n the neighbourhood also s u f f e r r e d . — P i l f e r i n g was housebreaking to Mr. Woodhouse's fears. . . . The strength, resolution, and presence of mind of the Mr. Knightleys, commanded hi s f u l l e s t attend-ance, (pp. 483-484) A threat to Highbury's fecuridity, the poultry theft becomes a personal threat to the only character who consistently r e s i s t s change, promoting a resolution through "the operation of the same system i n another way." The cornucopia of Highbury, i t s imagination, s t i l l e x i s t s , but instead of working against Emma by c o n f l i c t i n g with the deeper human aims, i t works f o r her, rewarding her education. In Mansfield Park and Sense and S e n s i b i l i t y the heroines were educated through exposure to trag i c forces which directed them towards the v i t a l patterns of l i f e . In Pride and Prejudice and, to a l i m i t e d degree, gorthanger Abbey, the heroines were educated from r i g i d to f l e x i b l e patterns of l i f e through f o r t u i -tous circumstances, chance meetings and released f r u s t r a -t i o n s . In Emma the power of capricious imagination u n i f i e s the two types of education. Emma*s s e l f -r e a l i z a t i o n stems from her near t r a g i c attempts to impose form on an external world already endowed w$th humane and reasonable forms. Fortunate circumstance, such as the poultry t h e f t , increases the sense of s o c i a l v i t a l i t y . Asin Fanny Price's education,, the'comic process of Emma's education makes func t i o n a l what Emma has learned formally as moral decorum and proper s o c i a l behaviour. I f Highbury had any f a u l t f o r Austen, i t might be the f a u l t of I l l y r i a , a world o f imagination and dreams come true, which at times obscures e t h i c a l considerations by focusing on ind i v i d u a l s . In Persuasion Austen explores the r e l a t i o n of the i n d i v i d u a l to the comic society i n le s s imaginative surroundings, t r y i n g to create a more plausible s o l u t i o n to the c o n f l i c t s of reason and emotion, ethics and aesthetics. Footnotes iSee Mary L a s c e l l e s , Jane Austen and Her Art, rev.ed. (1939; (London: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1963), f o r an analysis of Miss Bates' speech as tangential rather than e r r a t i c (pp. 93-9S) and her function i n Emma as the r e t e l l e r of a l l the events i n Highbury (pp. 177-178). Chapter Six Persuasion Persuasion resolves many of the a r t i s t i c and e t h i c a l problems which the c o n f l i c t between reason and emotion have presented i n the e a r l i e r novels. In Anne E l l i o t , Austen re-examines the passive or incapacitated heroine. Possessing neither E l i z a b e t h Bennett's wit nor Emma Woodhouse's imaginative v i t a l i t y , she descends from the l i n e of heroines which includes E l i n o r Dashwood, Jane Bennett and Fanny Pri c e . However, she does not possess t h e i r youth or beauty. Like a l l three, Anne perseveres i n her attachment to the man of her choice despite s o c i a l obstacles. Only Mansfield Park r i v a l s Persuasion f o r a widely t r a v e l l e d view of both s o c i a l and physical worlds. Surface comedy, again the product of r i g i d patterning, never f a r from the burlesque, c o n f l i c t s with the deep comedy of persistent love. Education, observed only as behaviour not as an Index to moral judgment or human sympathy, now serves to unite Wentworth, a v i c t i m of r i g i d s o c i a l patterns, and the persevering Anne. Like Fanny, Anne uses her formal education to r e h a b i l i t a t e someone else. She advises Captain Benwick, the man to l a t e r save Wentworth from a f a l s e marriage, to read "a l a r g e r allowance of prose i n h i s d a i l y study" e s p e c i a l l y memoirs of characters of worth and s u f f e r i n g . . . as calculated to rouse and f o r t i f y the mind by the highest precepts, and the strongest examples of moral and r e l i g i o u s endurances (p. 101). When she finds h e r s e l f the confidante of everyone at Uppercross, Anne's behaviour exhibits the completeness of her moral education: She could do l i t t l e more than l i s t e n p a t i ently, soften every grievance, and excuse each to the other; give them a l l hints of the forbearance necessary between such near neighbours, and make those hints broadest which were meant f o r her s i s t e r ' s benefit, (p.46) Well-schooled i n decorum and c i v i l i t y and capable of understanding and assessing the actions of others, Anne attempts to reconcile a complex s i t u a t i o n . The a r r i v a l of Captain Wentworth and the ensuing tangled rel a t i o n s h i p s with the Musgrove s i s t e r s and Charles Hayter expose the major deficiency i n Anne's character, her i n a b i l i t y to act. She expresses a s i l e n t wish that her role as moral mediator might have a r t i s t i c scope: Anne longed f o r the power of representing to them a l l that they were about, and of pointing out some of the e v i l s they were exposing:themselves to. She did not attribute guile to any of them. (p. 82) Anne becomes more active as the novel develops. Instead of maintaining a r t i s t i c detachment, she becomes a moral exemplar f o r Captain Wentworth by a c t i v e l y p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n society: Her character was now f i x e d on h i s mind as per-f e c t i o n i t s e l f , maintaining the l o v e l i e s t medium . of f o r t i t u d e and gentleness . . . At Lyme, he had received lessons of more than one sort. The passing admiration of Mr. E l l i o t had at l e a s t roused him, and the scenes on the Cobb, and at Captain H a r v i l l e ' s had f i x e d her su p e r i o r i t y . (pp. 241-242) Anne achieves the capacity to act through a series of d i s l o c a t i o n s . Cast out of Kellynch by her father's inadequacies, i n s t a l l e d as v i s i t o r at Uppercross, and then as v i s i t o r to Lyme and Bath, Anne becomes more active as her v i s i o n of the world expands. Again Austen uses the description of s e t t i n g to echo the heroine's f e e l i n g s . In much the same way that the street i n front of Ford's r e f l e c t e d the a c t i v i t y of Emma's mind, the description of Lyme and i t s environs creates a perfect s e t t i n g f o r Anne: Charmouth, with i t s high grounds, and extensive sweeps of country, and s t i l l more i t s sweet r e t i r e d bay, backed by dark c l i f f s , where fragments of low rock among the sands make i t the happiest spot f o r watching the flow of the t i d e , f o r s i t t i n g i n unwearied contemplation (p. 95) Retired sweetness and "unwearied contemplation" char-acterize Anne i n her passive r o l e . But freed from the r e s t r a i n t s of her family's s t e r i l e sense of s o c i a l p o s i t i o n and aided by the changed setting, Anne blooms again and acts when Louisa has her near f a t a l f a l l on t h e i r f i n a l day i n Lyme. B e l i e v i n g i n .nature rather than artiflciality,; Anne r e g r e t f u l l y accompanies Lady Russell to Bath: Lady Russell . . . entering Bath on a wet afternoon . .' . amidst the dash of other carriages, the heavy rumble of carts and drays, the bawling of newsmen, muffin-men and milkmen . . . made no protest. . . . Anne did not share these f e e l i n g s . She pe r s i s t e d i n a very determined, though faery s i l e n t , d i s i n c l i n a t i o n f o r Bath; caught the f i r s t dim view of the extensive buildings, smoking i n the r a i n , without any wish of seeing them better (p. .135). Detesting the a r t i f i c i a l i t y of Bath's society, Anne t e l l s Wentworth, at Lady Dalrymple's concert, that the Lyme experience was not i n the l e a s t d i s t r e s s i n g : "The l a s t few hours were c e r t a i n l y very p a i n f u l . . . but when pain i s over, the remembrance of i t often becomes a pleasure. One does not love a place the l e s s f o r having sufferred i n i t , unless i t has been a l l suf f e r i n g , nothing but s u f f e r i n g — w h i c h was by no means the case at Lyme. . . . So much novelty and beauty! I have t r a v e l l e d so l i t t l e , that every fresh place would be i n t e r e s t i n g to me—but there i s r e a l beauty i n Lyme" (pp. 183-184). the sentiment i s Although^more op t i m i s t i c than Keats's " i n the very temple of D e l i g h t / V e i l ' d Melancholy has her sovran s h r i n e , " 1 the mixture of strong emotions, j o y and sorrow " r e c o l l e c t e d i n t r a n q u i l l i t y " 2 suggests that emotional as well as i n t e l l e c t u a l sympathy has been absorbed into the process of education. Made comic instead of t r a g i c through the agency of memory which expands the distance from which the experience i s viewed, emotional sympathy reinforces the po s i t i v e actions at Lyme, preparing f o r the strength of Anne's attachment to Mrs. Smith i n Bath. Langer's concept of " v i t a l f e e l i n g " given expression, would applyy to Anne's education; she gains the a b i l i t y to act and display her feelings* Both the r a t i o n a l mind and the i r r a t i o n a l emotions educate Anne from passive perseverence to a display of strong emotion when she speaks to Captain H a r v i l l e of Benwick's a f f e c t i o n f o r Louisa Musgrove: "Oh!" c r i e d Anne eagerly, "I hope I do j u s t i c e to a l l that i s f e l t by you, and by those who resemble you. God f o r b i d that I should undervalue the warm and f a i t h f u l f eelings of any of my fellow-creatures. . . . A l l the pr i v i l e g e that I claim f o r my own sex ( i t i s not a very enviable one, you need not covet i t ) i s that of lo v i n g longest, when existence or when hope i s gone." (p. 235) The surface s o c i a l world, beset with comic delusions of heirarchy, from which Wentworth, Anne's opposite, makes h i s way to a knowledge of the v i g a l p r i n c i p l e s of conduct, proves as much a hazard to the loversfe union as Anne's p a s s i v i t y . The danger l i e s i n Wentworth's acceptance of surface actions and judgments. He exhibits t h i s tendancy i n the conversation with Louisa Musgrove which Anne overhears: "Your s i s t e r i s an amiable creature; but vours i s the character of decision and firmness . . . I t i s the worst e v i l of too y i e l d i n g and indecisive a character, that no influence over i t can he depended on. . . . Here i s a nut . . . To ex-emplify, a b e a u t i f u l glossy "nut, which, blessed with o r i g i n a l strength, has o u t l i v e d a l l the storms of autumn. Not a puncture, not a weak spot any where . . . My f i r s t wish f o r a l l , whom I am inte r e s t e d i n , i s that they should be f i r m . " (p. 88) Such determination without a conception of p r i n c i p l e only teaches Louisa to act f o r c e f u l l y , not r a t i o n a l l y , i n the expectation of reward, a lesson which Wentworth regrets when Louisa "determines" to jump down the steps at Lyme and f a l l s (p. 109). In h i s confession to Anne, a f t e r she has accepted h i s proposal, he admits that h i s pride prevented him from recognising her worth: In h i s preceding attempts to attach himself to Louisa Musgrove (the attempts of angry pridel) . . . he had not understood the perfect excellence of the mind with which Louisa's could so i l l bear a comparison . . . He had learnt to distinguish between the steadiness of p r i n c i p l e and the obstinacy of s e l f - w i l l , between the darings of heedlessness and the r e s o l u t i o n of a c o l l e c t e d mind. (p. 242) Such unwarranted pride dominates the novel's surface comedy where i t i s mocked as f a l s e vanity. S i r Walter E l l i o t , and h i s daughters, Elizabeth and Mary, t y p i f y f a l s e l y based pride. Resisting change and present circumstance with more vigou? than Mr. Woodhouse, S i r Walter retreats into the Baronetage where he found occupation f o r an i d l e hour, and consol-ation i n a distressed one . . . any unwelcome sensations, a r i s i n g from domestic a f f a i r s , changed n a t u r a l l y into p i t y and contempt (p.3). L i k e the burlesque port r a i t u r e of Northanger Abbey, though l e s s benevolent, the picture of S i r Walter given i n the novel's opening pages draws the l i m i t s of h i s past present and future actions: Vanity was the beginning and the end of S i r W a l t e r ' E l l i o t ' s character; vanity of person and s i t u a t i o n , (p. 4) Opposed to the E l l i o t s and at times to Captain Wentworth are the Crofts who rent Kellynch H a l l . Having no excessive sense of personal dignity ( t h e i r carriage i s always overturning) nor personal vanity (the Admiral removes the mirrors from S i r Walter's dressing room, p. 128), they represent the happy normalcy and deep comic v i t a l i t y of a well-matched couple. Anne ac-knowledges them as the proper owners of the Kellynch natural world: she had i n f a c t so high an opinion of the Crofts . . . that howeger sorry and ashamed f o r the necessity of the removal, she could not but i n conscience f e e l that they were gone who deserved not to stay, and that K e l l y n c h - h a l l had passed into better hands than i t s owners', (p. 125) However, the Musgroves rather than the Crofts prove to be the major educating force f o r Wentworth. In spite of the outwardly ludicrous and offensive effusions of Mrs. Musgrove,over her son whom al i v e nobody had cared f o r , Wentworth, a f t e r a minimal display of dis t a s t e , commiserates with her: There was a momentary expression i n Captain Wentworth's face . . . a ce r t a i n glance of h i s b r i g h t eye, a c u r l of h i s handsome mouth, which convinced Anne, that instead of sharing i n Mrs. Musgrove's kind wishes as to her son, he had probably been at some pains to get r i d of him . . . i n another moment he was p e r f e c t l y c o l l e c t e d and serious . . . Mrs. Musgrove was of a comfortable substantial s i z e , i n f i n i t e l y more f i t t e d by nature to express good cheer and good humour, than tenderness and sentiment . . . Personal size and mental sorrow have c e r t a i n l y no necessary pro-portions. A large bulky figure has as deep a r i g h t to be i n deep a f f l i c t i o n , as the most grace-f u l set of limbs i n the world. But f a i r or not f a i r , there are unbecoming conjunctions, which reason w i l l patronize i n vain,—which taste cannot t o l e r a t e , — w h i c h r i d i c u l e w i l l seize. (pp. 67^68) Wentworth, hardly i n a p o s i t i o n to r i d i c u l e the con-jun c t i o n of appearance and r e a l i t y or reason and emotion, learns even more from Louisa's f a l s e deter-mination. J u s t as strong emotion r e c o l l e c t e d i n t r a n q u i l l i t y forms part of Anne's education, turning tragedy into comedy with the absorption of the i n -cidents at Lyme into a l a r g e r v i s i o n of l i f e , f a l s e emotion r e c o l l e c t e d l u d i c r o u s l y and f a l s e determination acted upon near t r a g i c a l l y , promote Wentworth's re-cognition of Anne's worth. Once Captain Benwick f a l l s i n love with Louisa, Wentworth begins to descend from the surface comedy to the deep comedy of love. Both Anne's learned capacity f o r action and Wentworth*s acquired a b i l i t y to discriminate between surface values and r e a l worth free them from f r u s t r a t i n g r e s t r a i n t s . The r e s t r a i n t s of family and Lady Russell who, when o f f e r i n g advice, "was i n the place of a parent"(p. 346), forced Anne "into prudence i n her youth"(p. 30). Freed from the r e s t r a i n i n g e f f e c t s of h i s pride, only jealousy of Mr. E l l i o t (p. 241) prevents Wentworth from declaring himself u n t i l he overhears Anne speaking with Captain H a r v i l l e . With the overcoming of these obstacles, he proposes and the comic re s o l u t i o n takes place. With the comic re s o l u t i o n comes a v i t a l physical regeneration. The sense of physical beauty, parodied as vanity i n S i r Walter, receives i t s proper r e h a b i l i t a t i o n i n Anne through the power of a f f e c t i o n . When Wentworth t e l l s her: "to my eye you could never a l t e r " f^hej smiled and l e t i t pass. . . . the value oT such homage was inexpressibly increased to Anne, by "comparing i t with former words, and f e e l i n g i t to be the r e s u l t , not the cause of a r e v i v a l of h i s warm attachment, (p. 243) Instead of seinmonizing, Anne's inward comment allows the restoration of the balanced between aesthetics and ethics to take place n a t u r a l l y . The central figure of moral good, the detestor of a r t i f i c i a l i t y , now has an e x t e r i o r equal to her moral beauty. This r e s t o r a t i o n creates an atmosphere of unselfishness. The magnanimity of Anne's not speaking r e c a l l s E l i z a b e t h Bennett's decision not to tease Darcy or Mr. Woodhouse's f i n a l act of imagination. But, while both Pride and Prejudice and Emma s t r i v e to maintain the smooth surface of s o c i a l appearance, Persuasion looks on the damaging e v i l s of pride i n S i r Walter and charm i n Mr. E l l i o t only to laughingly dismiss them. Because Persuasion d i f f e r s so sharply from Emma, appearing to retreat from that ex c i t i n g , imaginative, "green world" of Highbury to a burlesque of s o c i a l attitudes and i n d i v i d u a l posings, some c r i t i c s have thought the novel was u n f i n i s h e d . 3 In p a r t i c u l a r , the s o c i a l structure i n Persuasion, divided sharply between those characters concerned with appearance and po s i t i o n and those who are warmly human and unself-conscious, allows f o r as many disguises as are present i n Mansfield Park. But the e t h i c a l elements i n the comic re s o l u t i o n suggest anything but retreat. S i r Walter and Eliz a b e t h do not recdive a punishment equal to that of Mrs. Norris or J u l i a Rushworth. No one r e a l l y worries about S i r Walter who " ' w i l l never set the Thames on f i r e ' " ( p . 32). As f o r h i s daughter, whom "Thirteen winters' revolving f r o s t s had seen . . . opening every b a l l of c r e d i t which a scanty neighbour-hood afforded"(p. 7), no one i s pained to hear that she "must long f e e l that to f l a t t e r and follow others, without being f l a t t e r e d and followed i n turn, i s but a state of h a l f enjoyment"(p. 251). Even Mr. E l l i o t , the wearer of a more incidious disguise, may receive h i s j u s t , but humourous, reward from the f a l s e "Penelope" (p. 2 3 ) , 4 Mrs. Clay: He soon quitted Bath; and on Mrs. Clay's q u i t t i n g i t likewise soon afterwards, and being next heard of as established under h i s protection i n London, i t was evident how double a game he had been, playing . . . Mrs. Clay's affections had overpowered her i n t e r e s t , and she had s a c r i f i c e d , f o r the young man's sake, the p o s s i b i l i t y of scheming longer f o r S i r Walter. She has a b i l i t i e s , as well as aff e c t i o n s ; and i t i s now a doubtful point whether his cunning, or hers, may f i n a l l y carry the day; whether a f t e r preventing her from being the wife of S i r Walter, he may not be wheedled and caressed at l a s t into making her the wif§ of S i r William. (p. 250, my i t a l i c s ) The abrupt change to the present tense suggests that the comic world w i l l go on to d e l i v e r i t s own v i t a l , poetic j u s t i c e . I f Mr. E l l i o t i s to be punished, the punishment w i l l equal h i s crimes. Anything but a retreat, the r e c o n c i l i a t i o n of surface and deep comedy i n Persuasion i s the l e a s t d i s s a t i s f y i n g of a l l of Austen's resolutions. By creating a comic process invfc&h Anne's education to expression i n the surface world and Wentworth*s education to the recognition of deep f e e l i n g balance the two types of comedy by reaching toward one another, Austen unites the e f f e c t s of fortunate circumstance and v i t a l i n d i v i d u a l delight. Major events such as the Crofts renting Kellynch, Louisa's f a l l at Lyme, Mrs. Smith's appearance at Bath, fortunate circumstances which move Wentworth and Anne clo s e r together, alternate with seemingly minor occurances as Anne's overhearing Wentworth and Louisa, or Wentworth's overhearing Anne and Captain H a r v i l l e . The hero and heroine achieve more than the tragicomic education of E l i n o r Dashwood or Fanny Price, more than the sympathetic educationoo'f Emma Woodhouse; they achieve a perfect union of surface and depth. Persuasion appears to be a f i n i s h e d novel, not only because of Austen's comment to her niece on i t s readiness f o r p u b l i c a t i o n , 6 but also because Austen treatment of the characters and the action, the comedy and the education, grows out of everything she has previously written. With such a growth, such a perfect union, pernicious a r t i s t i c and e t h i c a l problems have f a l l e n away. Austen has learned about her c r a f t what Mrs. Smith has learned about gossip: " I t does not come to me i n quite so d i r e c t a l i n e as that; i t takes a bend or two, but nothing of consequence. The stream i s as good as at f i r s t the l i t t l e rubbish i t c o l l e c t s i n the turnings i s e a s i l y moved away." (pp. 204-205) For Austen, the "stream" i s not only "as good as at f i r s t " , i t has revealed s u r p r i s i n g depth and v i t a l i t y . Footnotes xJohn Keats, "Ode on Melancholy", The P o e t i c a l  Works of John Keats, ed. H.W. Garrod (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1958T7 P- 275, 11. 25-26. ; 2 W i l l i a m Wordsworth, "Preface to the Second E d i t i o n of L y r i c a l Ballads", i n The Major C r i t i c s : The Development of English L i t e r a r y C r i t i c i s m , ed. Charles S. Holmes, et a l . (New York: A l f r e d A. Knopf, 1965), p. 204. ^See W.A. Craik, Jane Austen: The Six Novels (London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1965), p. 188. 4The numerous Homeric references suggest that Persuasion might he seen as a reworking of the return of Odysseus, from Penelope's point of view (the true Penelope, Anne E l l i o t ) . 5"I have a something ready f o r Publication, which may perhaps appear about a twelvementh henc4." (Letters, p. 484) "You w i l l not l i k e i t , so you need not be impatient. You may perhaps l i k e the Heroine, as she i s almost too good f o r me." (Letters, p. 487) — £><S' Afterword From t h i s examination of Austen's s i x novels we can observe that f i v e major concerns are treated as aspects of the comic education: reason, emotion, imagination, aesthetics and ethics. In the main, the c e n t r a l characters can be divided into those who attempt to impdse s u p e r f i c i a l and often r i g i d patterns derived from these f i v e concerns on the e x i s t i n g structure of r e a l i t y and are comically educated through the breaking of those patterns and the esta b l i s h i n g of new perspectives, and those who, with a deep understanding of these concerns, are educated to a surface expression of t h e i r inner v i t a l i t y through the comic action of f r u s t r a t i o n and release. In Northanger Abbey Catherine Morland, v i c t i m i z e d by her Gothic imagination, gains p r a c t i c a l aesthetic and e t h i c a l values from her emotional attachment to Henry Tilney, a character of reason and wit. Surface comedy o r i g i n a t i n g i n parodied aesthetic s e n s i b i l i t y ; gives way to the deep comedy of growing love. Northanger  Abbey f a i l s a r t i s t i c a l l y , however, because the reader does not know enough of the i n t e r i o r i d e n t i t i e s of the characters; the surface comedy i s more v i t a l . Attempting to correct t h i s deficiency i n Sense  and S e n s i b i l i t y . Austen employs double heroines, E l i n o r and Marianne, reason and emotion or deep comedy and surface comedy. Marianne's taste f o r the Gothic picturesque, a f a l s e aesthetic, opposes and eventually gives way to the aesthetic of nature espoused by Edward. E l i n o r , contrasted with her more expressive s i s t e r , must learn to give surface expression to the love she f e e l s deeply. The education of sympathy, enacted with the help of Lucy Steele and Willoughby who have a nearly t r a g i c e f f e c t upon the heroines, causes the loss of selfishness, whether reasonable or emotional, and creates an expanded understanding of the surrounding world. Neither Sense and S e n s i b i l i t y nor Northanger Abbey can provide an e t h i c a l l y s a t i s f y i n g society, and the lovers are therefore secluded at the end of the novels. I n Pride and Prejudice Darcy and Elizabeth, both representatives of reason and emotion, are victims of the p r e v a i l i n g s o c i a l delusion, the dehuminization of people into objects. Elizabeth's education occurs as she turns from the f a l s e aesthetic and ethic of appear-ance, embodied i n Wickham, to the true aesthetic of unadorned nature. Darcy i s educated by what Elizabeth t e l l s him of his appearance when he proposes. Both move from an inaccurate perception -of surface values, where neither i s p a r t i c u l a r l y self-aware, to s e l f -r e a l i z a t i o n and a deep understanding of t h e i r mutual love from which they r e v i t a l i z e the dehumanized s o c i a l values. In the successful resolution both characters t r i -umph over the s o c i a l pattern of r i g i d o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n . Another passive heroine, Fanny Price i n Mansfield  Park reintroduces strong e t h i c a l considerations as she gradually learns to express h e r s e l f . She and Edmund, both b e l i e v i n g i n the deep values of l i f e , balance Mary and Henry Crawford who believe i n surface values. The creators of surface comedy, which depends on the fa l s e aesthetic and ethic of ceremony and s e l f - i n t e r e s t e d manners, are punished and the p r a c t i t i o n e r s of the deep comedy of growing love are rewarded. This resolution does not prove e n t i r e l y s a t i s f a c t o r y because here, as i n Northanger Abbey, the surface comedy contains a c e r t a i n amount of v i t a l i t y , e s p e c i a l l y i n the characters of Mary and Henry, which the deep comedy needs. In Emma Austen returns to a separation of deep comedy and surface comedy i n Mr.. Knightley and Emma. Emma's imagination tempts her to t r y to restructure the already pro-ductive Highbury society. Again a fa l s e aesthetic, revealed by Emma's a l t e r a t i o n of a c t u a l i t y i n Harriet's por-t r a i t , gives way to a true aesthetic of nature. ±y — Gradually Emma's imaginative pre-conceptions are eroded by r e a l i t y and f i n a l l y destroyed through her sympathetic understanding of Miss Bates's s i t u a t i o n and the recognition of her own love f o r Knightley. However, sensing the danger of the c a p i t u l a t i o n of emotion and imagination to pervasive reason, Austen d e f i n i t e l y establishes Highbury as an imaginative society. But, a well-defined and functional ethic i s not always c l e a r i n Highbury where i n d i v i d u a l imagination may at any time attempt to r i g i d i f y the s o c i a l structure. In her f i n a l novel, Persuasion. Austen attempts to solve t h i s e t h i c a l deficiency by having Anne represent the deep comedy and Wentworth the surface comedy. Anne's ac q u i s i t i o n of emotional expression meets Wentworth's recognition of her love amid a world prone to delusions of f i x e d s o c i a l order. P a r t i a l punish-ment of the deluded characters, rather than t o t a l banishment, constitutes part of the benevolent e t h i c a l resolution, but the perfect match of Anne and Wentworth developes i t even more powerfully. The aesthetic of natural beauty and emotion, "recollected i n t r a n q u i l l i t y " , suggests a union of aesthetics with the ethic of temperance or patience. The problems faced and t h e i r attempted s o l -utions i n the s i x novels show that the f i c t i o n a l worlds painted on "the l i t t l e h i t (two Inches wide) of Ivory"l were large enough f o r a r t i s t i c and p h i l o -sophical contentions of size and resolutions of s a t i s f a c t i o n . Footnotes •Austen, L e t t e r s , p. 469. A Selected Bibliography Addison, Joseph. The Spectator. 4 vols. Ed. Donald F. Bond. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1956. Apperson, G.L. A Jane Austen Dictionary. Oxford: Kemp H a l l Press Ltd., 1932. Austen, Jane. Jane Austen's L e t t e r s : to her s i s t e r  Cassandra and others. Ed. R.W. Chapman. 2nd ed., 1932; rpt. London: Oxford Univ e r s i t y Press, 1952. . The Works of Jane Austen. 6 vols. Ed. R.W. Chapman. London: Oxford Univ e r s i t y Press, 1954. Bergson, Henri. Laughter i n Comedy: An Essay on Comedy tt>y) George Meredith fand) Laughter Iby] Henri Bergson. Ed. Wylie Sypher. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1956. Chapman, R.W. J ane Austen: Facts and Problems. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1948. Craik, W.A. Jane Austen: The Six Novels. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1965. Daiches, David. A C r i t i c a l History of English L i t e r a t u r e i n Two Volumes. New York: The Ronald Press Company, 1970. Donahue, Denis. "A View of Mansfield Park" i n C r i t i c a l  Essays on Jane Austen. Ed. B.C. Southam. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1968. Frye, Northrop. "The Argument of Comedy" i n Theories of Comedy. Ed. Paul Lauter. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1964. Guarini, Giambattista. "The Compendium of Tragicomic Poetry','"in L i t e r a r y C r i t i c i s m : Plato to Dry den. Ed. Allan" H. G i l b e r t . D e t r o i t : Wayne State Univ e r s i t y Press, 1962. H a z l i t t , William. Lectures on the English Comic Writers. London: Taylor and Hessey, 1819. Keats, John. The P o e t i c a l Works of John Keats. Ed. H.W. Garrod. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1958. Langer, Susanne K. Feeling and Form; A Theory of  Art Developed from Philosophy i n a New Key. London: Bout ledge & Kegan Paul Limited, 1953. L a s c e l l e s , Mary. Jane Austen and Her Art. Rev. ed., 1939; rpt. London: Oxford Univ e r s i t y Press, 1963. L i t z , A. Walton. Jane Austen: A Study of her A r t i s t i c  Development. New York: Oxford Univ e r s i t y Press, 1965. Meredith, George. An Essay on Comedy. See Bergson. Rahv, P h i l l i p . The Mgtb and the Powerhouse. New York: The Noonday Press, 1966. Southam, B.C. J ane Austen 1 s L i t e r a r y ManuscriTPts: A study of the n o v e l l i s t ' s development through the  surviving papers. London: Oxford Univ e r s i t y Press, 1964. T r i l l i n g , L i o n e l . The L i b e r a l Imagination. New York: The Viking Press, 1950. "Mansfield Park" i n Jane Austen: A C o l l e c t i o n  of C r i t i c a l Essays. Ed. Ian Watt. Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.: Prentice H a l l , Inc., 1963. Van Ghent, Dorothy. The English Novel: Form and Function. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1960. Watt,.Ian. "On Sense and S e n s i b i l i t y " i n Jane Austen: A C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays. See T r i l l i n g . Wiesenfarth, Joseph. The Errand of Form: An Essay of Jane Austen's Art. New York: Fordham Un i v e r s i t y Press, 1967. Wordworth, William. "Preface to the Second E d i t i o n of L y r i c a l B a l l ads" i n The Ma.ior C r i t i c s : The Development  of English L i t e r a r y C r i t i c i s m . Ed. Charles S. Holmes, et a l . New York: A l f r e d A. Knogf, 1965, 

Cite

Citation Scheme:

        

Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics

Share

Embed

Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                        
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            src="{[{embed.src}]}"
                            data-item="{[{embed.item}]}"
                            data-collection="{[{embed.collection}]}"
                            data-metadata="{[{embed.showMetadata}]}"
                            data-width="{[{embed.width}]}"
                            data-media="{[{embed.selectedMedia}]}"
                            async >
                            </script>
                            </div>
                        
                    
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:
https://iiif.library.ubc.ca/presentation/dsp.831.1-0102039/manifest

Comment

Related Items