Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Jane Austen in the middle of Persuasion and had to put the book aside, wracked as I was with sobs, shortness of breath and flooding tears as I read "no one so proper, so capable as Anne!"  Of course you have to know the book to understand why that reduced me, but for the present I merely want to note how astounding is Jane Austen's range. Is there another novelist so well-equipped to move from the facetious to the sincere, and through all the gradations thereof?  Not in my experience.  Her touch is so sure, so full of authority, that reading her is closer to lived experience than reading almost anyone else. She and Dickens.  The rest slavering after.

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