Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Jane Austen: the original clean romance writer

While browsing the library stacks today, I only just realized that Jane Austen is not shelved with the romance books even though she is considered by most to be a foundational author of the romance genre. No doubt this separation is due to her novels' status as classical literature across multiple genres. 

Still, her books have the hallmarks of traditional romance- the main character's love life occupies the central story line and, while there may be some conflict, the ending is always happy or optimistic. 
Who could possibly forget Pride and Prejudice's Ms. Bennett and Mr. Darcy? 
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Thanks to widespread sensibilities of 18th century English gentry, her novels are most definitely clean. John Mullan, writing for the British Library, explains the chaste nature of Austen courtship was due to familial expectations, marriage as a transaction, and the young age of the characters. Think Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, or Sense and Sensibility.   
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