chapter  Chapter XIX
55 Pages

And Jane Austen

WithHarrison R. Steeves

Jane Austen’s juvenilia have considerably more interest than is com monlyto be found in precocious authorship. The oldest form of any of Miss Austen’s completed novels, the “Elinor and Marianne” which her sister Cassandra believed Jane wrote in or about 1795, followed closely upon these amusing exercises of fledgeling talent. To one who has first become acquainted with Miss Austen’s maturer novels, Sense and Sensibility is lacking in subtlety and quiet irony. Miss Austen has created Vie de Marianne as the expiring echo of eighteenth-century sentimentality—of rapturous surrender to emotion and vanity in feeling and feeding it. Miss Austen has cut herself completely free, however, from Miss Fanny Burney’s comic chorus and elaborate comic business. Possibly Miss Austen would have been unhappy if she had felt that her story would be taken to be downright condemnation of Gothic and sentimental fiction.