Jane Austen and the Morality of Conversation
'Beautifully subtle, magnificent, shimmering... notably well written... the fineness of Tandon's writing, its willingness to talk of both text and life, is unusual in contemporary criticism, and throws his own voice beyond the academy.' James Wood, The London Review of Books 'Tandon has written a magisterial work.' Choice Magazine 'A book brimming with insights and many acute perceptions... Bharat Tandon outlines a refreshing redirection for Austen studies...' Times Literary Supplement 'Tandon casts new light on all Austen's writing, and reminds us of just how funny Jane Austen can be, but also how wise, not least in knowing the limits of wisdom, understanding and knowledge, of ourselves and each other... Tandon's book is a delight.' Adrian Poole, Reader in English and Comparative Literature and Fellow of Trinity College, University of Cambridge Jane Austen and the Morality of Conversation is a challenging exploration of the conversations which Austen's novels depict, and the conversations which they perform. During the eighteenth century, the activity of conversation was repeatedly portrayed as a morally improving and socially cohesive activity. By the time Jane Austen was writing in the early nineteenth century, however, speakers and writers could not always work with such confidence. Many worried that manners were being eroded into mannerisms; many more were becoming conscious that their speech was fraught with the potential for deceit and misunderstanding. This important study investigates how Austen worked with, and played upon, the cracks and faultlines which time had uncovered in the ideals of polite conversation. In a wide-ranging argument, combining intellectual history and literary stylistics, Bharat Tandon explores such activities as flirtation and ventriloquism, in order to show how a form of conversational morality is what Austen's novels both describe and set out to achieve. At the same time, he surveys readers' reactions to Austen, from the nineteenth century to the present day, in order to investigate the possibilities and limitations of 'ethical' criticism. Written in a lively and accessible style, Jane Austen and the Morality of Conversation offers a re-evaluation of Austen's career that will be of interest to scholars and general readers alike.
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Addison Anne Austen-Leigh Austen’s ﬁction Austen’s letters Austen’s writing Cambridge Cassandra Austen Catherine century Chapter characters Clarissa comedy comic conﬁned conversation Cowper critical Darcy deﬁned deﬁnition Edmund eighteenth Elizabeth Emma Emma’s emotional English epistolary eyes Fanny Fanny Burney Fanny’s feeling ﬁction ﬁctional ﬁgure ﬁnal ﬁnd ﬁne ﬁrst Geoffrey Hill Harmondsworth Harriet heart Henry ibid imaginative implicature inﬂuence Jane Austen joke juvenilia Lady Susan language Leavis Leavis’s Les Liaisons dangereuses less literary lives London look Mangield manners Mansﬁeld Park metaphor mind Miss moral narration nature Northanger Abbey one’s Oxford University Press particular Penguin person Persuasion phrase picturesque plot poem poetic poetry polite Pride and Prejudice prose reader reading reﬂection rhetorical Richardson Samuel Richardson Sanditon sense Sense and Sensibility sentimental Shakespeare signiﬁcant sister social space speciﬁc Spectator speech story suggests things tion Tristram Tristram Shandy ventriloquism voice words Wordsworth