Specimen Passage and Commentary
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The discussions of the preceding sections have isolated certain aspects of Jane Austen’s approach to thematic and technical issues, but we have to recognise that this sort of critical division is an artificial exercise, intended only to guide you in your reading. Jane Austen herself does not separate the fictional elements in this way, but combines them to form a closely knit, coherent whole. The best way of observing this coherence is through close analysis of individual passages from the text. The extract I have chosen, as an example of how this sort of study can extend an understanding of the total work, comes from Chapter 8 of Persuasion. It shows us something of the range and the density of Jane Austen’s art in this novel. She is a highly disciplined and extraordinarily economical author, and as readers we have to work hard in order to see how she exploits the resources of language to their full effect.
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