Jane Austen: Comedy and Social Structure

Richard A. Posner

in Subversion and Sympathy

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199812042
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199315888 | DOI:
Jane Austen: Comedy and Social Structure

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This chapter discusses Austen's subtle observations about social structure and its influence on conceptions of marriage and of women's prospects and possibilities. It argues that Austen's novels should not be seen as supplying a direct template for legal reform. To view them in this way would be to neglect much of what makes them valuable as works of literature: their imaginative insight, their humor, their account of social complexity. They are valuable to the law and to lawyers not for any specific recommendations they might be thought to contain but for the general insights into society and human beings they afford.

Keywords: marriage; women; legal reform; law; British novel

Chapter.  6911 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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