S-Space College of Humanities (인문대학) Institute of Humanities (인문학연구원) Journal of humanities (인문논총) Journal of Humanities vol.04 (1979) (인문논총)
Jane Austen 연구
A Study on Janc Allsten
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 인문대학
- 인문논총, Vol.4, pp. 25-40
- Jane Austen wrote most of her novels when Wordsworth was emphasizing the value
and dignity of ordinaiy experiences and s~mple language in poetry. She was the very
novelist that was aware that a ilovelist's duty IS not to demonstrate a ceitain theory, nor
to evoke the stereotyped emotional lesponses mechan~call~.
She was Lorn a daughtel of a country clergyman ancl ~emained In the country all her
life. Collsequently her scope of knowledge is limited. She compared her work to a 2-inchsquare
ivory and this comparison is a proper one. The surface of the ivory was really
small, but the sculptor who worked on it is one of the greatest artlsts. Even today one
needs professional literary training in order to appleciate her excellent merits p~operly,
for one cannot grasp the thing beyond the surface without special tlaining.
Already at 15, in her Love and F?zet~dsl~z$A, usten showed how she was well aware
of the folly of the sentimental novels. All through her llfe she saw through the absuidity,
contradicitons and vain modifications which were pievalent in the novels of that period
She managed to avoid these defects with care T h ~ fsa ct can be said to be a revolution
of the concept of the novelist's duty.
Miss Austen wrote the following six novels Nottha72ge~ Abbey(1797n~1803n~1816),
Seme axd Se)2szbrlzty(1797-1811), Pt zcle a d Ptejud~ce(1796-1812)' and Mallsjield Pa? k
(1811-1813), ~!hnaza(1814-1815), and Pe?sztastot~(1815-1816). The matelial dealt in
the worlts is small in scope But ~f we considel how she dealt with the material artistically,
we are not to be disappo~nted. Flom the viewpoint of plot, these novels can be
said trivial, wherease the dramatic truth and the vivid characterization are almost equal
Austen limited the scope of her works on ptlrpose. She united the tradtion of poetic
satire and sentimental novel in her works. She revealed in her tvoiks her interest in man
and his actions as a dramatist. She intended to reveal her character by his or her words
an3 actions. Analyzing the satire and various emotions, tve come to perceive how dramatic
Austen's characters' conversatiol~s are. By 'dramatic,' we mean that the author does not
describe the 'character directly but let him or her reveal himself or herself.
Austen's satire depends on her sense of the character's mutability and complexity. But
her vision 1s not Proust's relat~ve one. Her sense of the mutabitity IS full of vigor and
well balanced by her positive belief in man. Trivial conversations are constantly illuminated
by her excellent sense and her firm belief in the possibility that she can pass a sound
Jane Austen analyzes man, a civilized monster, In her novels. As one critic pointed out,
we can notice "contlolled hatred" in her attitude of the analysis. In other words we are
shown that man clothed in grand constumes do so many unreasonable things. Through
the analyses of these absurd behaviois, sens~tivei ndividuals are revealed to struggle with
various social conditions delicately and laboriously.
Austen was satisfied with the fact that she was only a novelist, nothing less or mole.
That is to say, she let the story stand on its own. She did not seek to justify the novel
with grand themes and extravagant ethics.
Austen's balance, economy and self-control in her art made her perform the task of
unifying all the materials of the wolk marvellously. Her detachment is closely related to
her balance. Keeping artistic distance lets he1 describe her cha~acters more reahstically.
Thus she tried 10 let the readers see for themselves. In shis respect, she is one of the
pioneers of modern novelists. Actually we do not go too far when we say that the socalled
James's "Mutual Irradiation" method is a highly developed form of Austen's
All in all, Jane Austen is the writer who let us see the profound feel~ngs beyond the