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Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf and Worldly Realism$
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Pam Morris

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474419130

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474419130.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Emma: A Prospect of England

Emma: A Prospect of England

Chapter:
(p.83) Chapter 3 Emma: A Prospect of England
Source:
Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf and Worldly Realism
Author(s):

Pam Morris

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474419130.003.0004

In Emma, as in Sense and Sensibility, the plot tracks the movement of the young woman protagonist from a hierarchical, time-resisting place to a more socially heterogeneous space of horizontal relationships. In so doing, the novel engages with a dissensus in public opinion in post-revolutionary England as to who should count as perceptible within the national community. The text extends the terrain of what can be said and by whom to those traditionally deemed beneath notice, entering dialogically into public debates as to who legitimately constitute ‘the people’. The complex social energies propelling change and inter-class rivalry and emulation are ‘gathered’ within the most significant thing to feature in the story: a piano. The ironic treatment of the heroine’s self-willed subjective blindness continues Austen’s critique of idealism to which the text opposes a continuous emphasis upon bodily concern with food, shelter, and weather.

Keywords:   place/space, dissensus, national community, ‘the people’, piano, idealism, food

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