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Sunday, 11 September 2016

Sir Walter Scott and Jane Austen's 'Emma'

Sir Walter Scott wrote about Emma for the Quarterly Review of March, 1816. He recognized that Jane Austen was re-establishing the novel and that depicting the realism of ordinary life as skilfully as she did required great artistry. His review is ponderous and wordy (you can find it on the Internet) so I am not quoting it here. But he was one of the first to show such insight.

Many other nineteenth-century critics failed to notice Jane's artistry, mainly because they were so imbued with the notion that a writer who concerns herself with ordinary, everyday people must be an ordinary, everyday writer. Many failed to notice her concern with values and principles.