Does Jane Austen's work belong more to the eighteenth century neo-classical tradition or to the turn of the century romantic tradition?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Jane Austen’s work is far more closely affiliated with the long eighteenth century tradition of neo-classicism than with the Gothic or the gothic-influenced romantic writers such as the Brontë sisters. Jane Austen`s literary values are very much the Augustan ones. Although she defends the novel as a genre against its detractors (most famously in the impassioned defence of the novel in Northanger Abbey), she admires most the non-fiction of Blair, Addison, and Steele, and the poetry of Pope and Dryden. The novelists she most admires are not the Gothic ones but Richardson and other more distinctly 18th century figures. Her style emulates the well-balanced periods of the Augustans, as opposed to the more expressive and irregular sentences of the Romantics.


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