Jane Austen Questions and Answers

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How would one describe Jane Austen as a novelist?

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As a novelist, Austen vehemently defended the new genre of the novel, which was constantly under fire as being a corrupting influence, especially to young women. Her most famous literary defense can be found in the novel Northanger Abbey, which is, itself, a parody of the gothic romance novel. Austen makes great fun of the idea that a young woman is so credulous and overwrought with imagination that she would actually believe herself to be the subject of such a novel. Further, Austen's satire of early nineteenth-century upper-class society in Pride and Prejudice can be so subtle that people often miss it entirely and just think that she's writing a charming little love story. In reality, she is intelligently and compellingly pointing out the plight of women in this stratum of society: how, often, they must choose...

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