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Free Indirect Speech and Jane Austen’s 1816 Revision of Northanger Abbey Narelle Shaw Synopsis (in 25 words or less) Shaw argues that the use of free indirect.

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Presentation on theme: "Free Indirect Speech and Jane Austen’s 1816 Revision of Northanger Abbey Narelle Shaw Synopsis (in 25 words or less) Shaw argues that the use of free indirect."— Presentation transcript:

1 Free Indirect Speech and Jane Austen’s 1816 Revision of Northanger Abbey Narelle Shaw Synopsis (in 25 words or less) Shaw argues that the use of free indirect speech, (F.I.S) a stylistic hallmark of Austen’s later novels, indicates that Northanger Abbey underwent significant revision in Summary The extent to which NA was revised & when such revision occurred, remains an area of debate amongst critics. Shaw accepts Southam’s assertion that NA was revised in 1816 between Austen’s other works, Persuasion and Sandition, influencing some aspects of NA. Volume II, or the ‘Gothic’ part of NA, seems to have undergone more substantial revision, evident in the frequent use of indirect speech compared to the limited use of this technique in Volume I. The characterisation of General Tinley, in particular, uses F.I.S to emphasise his arrogance, his duplicity and to vilify him. This article examines the use + effect of F.I.S and its relevance to the proposed 1816 revision of NA.

2 r-Abbey-2007-jane-austen jpg 1.Why does it matter if/when/how much Northanger Abbey was revised? The approximate dates of the revision affect the context NA was written (or re- written in) and the author’s perspective of the Gothic which she was mimicking, which is important to be aware of when analysing NA. Consider the developments of the Gothic novel between 1803 and Also bare in mind the parts she chose to revise more. It raises some questions. Why does the Bath section appear to have had little revision considering it deals with fashionable society and Austen stresses (in the preface) how much “places, manners, books and opinions” changed since it was first written? Why did Austen give the Gothic section more attention? How does Austen’s more ‘mature’ literary style and tastes as an author affect NA as a whole? Educated guesses/ analysis of NA help answer some of these questions. 2. What’s free indirect speech?

3 Paragraph 1 NA was revised, evident in preface (‘Advertisement by the Authoress’) + “strategic references contained in correspondences” after being written in 1803 but how much/when it was revised is still an area of debate. Critics have debated about the revision (always a possibility, nothing is certain) Marvin Mudrick + A. Walton Litz → “circumscribed revision no later than 1803”; Q.D Leavis + Darrell Mansell → 1809; Mary Lascelles, Yasmine Gooneratne. B.C Southam → 1816 = substantial alteration; J.F Burrows → “challenges the plausibility of wide-ranging, late revision” Debate draws attention to “transitional elements” i.e. contradiction between 2 sections of NA: “self-contained Gothic burlesque is grafted unceremoniously upon sentimental “comedy of manners”, the anomalous characterisation of General Tilney throw into contrast the cast of rigidly functional two dimensional characters, Jane Austen’s tentative handling of Henry Tilney counters the adroit development of Catherine Morland, the relatively immature narrative point of view is compensated by the stylistic polish, the consistency and assurance of the comic tone.” Impossible to say when exactly NA was revised but Shaw believes it was revised in 1816 in the parts “where Jane Austen incorporates free, indirect speech, the stylistic device associated with her mature novels”.

4 Paragraph 2 Shaw offers a definition of ‘free indirect speech’ (F.I.S) “Syntactical choice of tense and pronouns is dictated by the constituents of ordinary indirect speech – past tense dislodging present, the first person pronoun ceding place to third. A character's idiom is audibly mimicked by the author who retains ultimate control of the operative passage. Jane Austen’s use of inverted commas to designate such a passage clarifies her conscious election of the stylistic in preference to indirect speech.” + Graham Hough = ‘coloured narrative’. Jane Austen’s uses escalating amounts of free indirect speech in her novels, with the earlier works using it sporadically and the later works using it quite frequently. Therefore, Southam +others believe (due to the pattern + frequency of free indirect speech in NA) that “the juvenile novel was at least stylistically improved in 1816”. Paragraph 3 Only 4 examples of F.I.S in Volume I, primarily in Bath material. e.g. Description of Isabella’s reaction to Catherine liking Tilney (hinting at James) “She liked him the better for being a clergymen ‘for she must confess herself very partial to the profession’.” → useful technique in “accommodating Isabella’s prevarication and signaling her egotistical absorption in her own affairs” + Catherine’s interests are relegated to the more distant narrative perspective, because Isabella dominates.

5 Paragraph 4 Another example, showing Austen’s quiet irony & emphasising Mrs. Allen’s silliness → more engaging for reader, despite boring topic “Mrs. Allen’s opinion was more positive. ‘She had no doubt in the worl of it being a very fine day, if the clouds would only go off, and the sun keep out’.” Paragraph 5 Last examples in Volume I, at Catherine’s visit to the Tilney residence in Bath. e.g. General criticising the butler, William “’What did William mean by it? He should make a point of inquiring into the matter’.” + Catherine, unaware of the General’s reasoning behind having her spend the day with Ms. Tilney “’Oh no; Catherine was sure they (the Allens) would not have the least objection, and she should have great pleasure in coming’.” → comically disarms villain (because she’s naive) while the “intrusion of the narrator’s voice opportunely underlined the irony.” Paragraph 6 Gothic section of Volume II employs lots of F.I.S e.g. Isabella's explanation of the Tilney’s unhappiness “’Such insolence of behaviour as Miss Tinley's she had never heard of in her life!’”. → Isabella receives her due because she doesn’t succeed in her attempts to secure a wealthy marriage

6 F.I.S (here) is used as a witticism at Isabella’s expense with this “subtle signposting and the clumsily managed narrative viewpoint for which Mudrick generally faults Northanger Abbey stand in telling juxtaposition.” Paragraphs Catherine + F.I.S E.g. When Catherine is scared on her first night at the Abbey: “’She should take her time; she should not hurry herself… But she would not make up her fire that would seem cowardly.’ ” + finding the cabinet “though she had never ‘from the first had the smallest idea of finding anything… it would be foolish not to examine it’.” → Austen uses F.I.S “to comic effect, emphasising the conviction with which Catherine believes in a Gothic world. The recourse to F.I.S here is also sound for aesthetic reasons, as the passage introduces a varied note to an extended section of narrative.” E.g. When thinking of Mr. Tilney “’a kind remembrance for her absent friend’” → “Austen highlights Catherine's emotion by expressing her farewell in F.I.S”

7 Paragraph 9 F.I.S used for General Tilney’s dialogue E.g. General’s duplicity emphasised when narrator reveals his unpleasant disposition, immediately followed by pleasant indirect speech re: riding with Henry → “The arrangement belies any genuine solicitude and exposes the General's caddishness”. (Also Catherine should know better after John Thorpe affair) Paragraph 10 F.I.S: Catherine + General’s dialogue reveal how they have different purpose and don’t really understand the other’s meaning (General = greedy, Catherine = oblivious). In this example, the General doesn’t benefit :. justice as villain “…he suppose however, ‘that she must have been used to much better sized apartments at Mr. Allen’s?’ ‘No indeed,’ was Catherine’s honest assurance.” Paragraph 11 F.I.S “which is tantamount to literary dubbing, beneficially lends itself to situation comedy.” e.g. when General is giving Catherine a tour and thinks she’s bored, when she couldn’t be more interested → emphasises miscommunication + has a humourous effect.

8 “The distancing effect contingent upon the substitution of third for first person pronouns technically dramtises the lack of accord between the two characters. The monologue, surreptiously orchestrated by Austen, stands as a satiric testament to the General’s suspect notions of hospitality.” Paragraph 12 F.I.S also develops the General as the villain (which he is because he thwarts the herioine’s attempt to win the ‘prince’, poor Tilney  ) as he = arrogant etc E.g. “the General… modestly owned that ‘without any ambition of that sort himself… he did believe [his gardens] to be unrivalled in the kingdom.’” → “Austen manages the mimetic technique with undeniable aplomb, economically exploiting its potential for advancing characterisation” Paragraph 13 On evidence of other novels, e.g. Emma, Mansfield Park, “F.I.S constitutes a hallmark of Jane Austen’s maturity” while the pattern + distribution “arguably illuminates her working interests in 1816” Volume I = 4 brief examples of F.I.S, Volume II = many, especially surrounding General Tilney, so why does the Bath section deserve less textual revision than the Gothic section?

9 Paragraph 14 Preface makes apology; all of NA seems to have had equal non-revision in regards to literary taste because the most recent novel mentioned in the Bath section was published in 1801 and in the Gothic section, 1798 (says Mudrick) Mockery of driving, theatre + dancing (Volume I) could be mocking Fanny Burton’s treatment of similarities in Camilla; parody of Radcliffean horror (Volume II) → “Literary satire, integral to both halves, cannot feasibly have impeded revision of one and not the other – especially as the absurdly satiric Plan of a Novel, dated , attests to a revised interest in burlesque.” Paragraph 15 Southam argues: Austen revising NA between Aug 1816 (post Persuasion) & Jan 1817 (pre Sandition) Evidence for this = similarities between three novels. Sandition deals with woman coming out into society, trying to get married as in Burton’s novel (Camilla?) [but this = joke? Maybe b/c that’s all Austen writes about?] The ‘conspicuous improvement motif” in all 3 novels; the General in NA Repetition of the word ‘hobby-horse’ in NA + Sandition.

10 Paragraph 16 Building on Southam’s argument, “Miss Catherine is consigned to the shelf on 13 March, 1817, a date which admits a cross fetilisation of ideas.” Concepts in NA demand influence Sandition & that demands revision of NA General Tilney: Mudrick – “promise of a personal dimension”; Southam – Rumfordian innovator; F.I.S + improvement motif support idea that General Tilney’s “character was consolidated in when Austen stylistically revised her early novel” Paragraph 17 - Conclusion Desire to have NA published → textual revision post 1803; with extent of revision evident (tangible clue) by “presence within NA of F.I.S, the narrative device endemic to her writing after 1814.” “On this stylistic evidence, the Bath material of the novel is eclipsed in Austen’s consciousness as the Gothic portion, more amendable to her late creative interests. F.I.S proliferates around the character General Tilney, who serves as the focus for a salient improvement motif. ”

11 How does Shaw develop her argument? 1. Brings up issue of debate + relevant critics; mentions other stylistic features/contradictions to narrow down to thesis (F.I.S → 1816 revision) 2. Defines central term (free indirect speech) + points to examples of evidence i.e. development of Austen’s novels 3. Examines F.I.S in Volume I, giving examples used in relation to Isabella, Catherine and Tilney + explains their effect 4. Deals with F.I.S in Volume II, focusing on its role in characterising General Tilney (= villain) + effect, with many examples to support, 5. Strange reference to other works as evidence for revision, with F.I.S showing Austen’s literary interest in 1816; questioning why Bath material wasn’t revised; observing literary tastes weren’t updated for both sections 6. Examines Southam’s theory re: 1816 revision & his evidence – similarities between other novels written in the same period; reference to consolidation of General Tilney’s character in Concludes with main assertions: Revised because of need to publish; F.I.S = feature of later work, Gothic part revised more ( evident in ↑ F.I.S), showing Austen’s later creative interests; belief that General Tilney was improved as a character in 1816, reference to the salient improvements motif

12 Northanger-Abbey-2007-jane-austen jpg Why might this useful to us? Relevant to the Gothic element, Austen’s valuing of it + developments over time Really useful when examining the General’s characterisation, role etc. Good way to bring up different critics + starting point for more research if interested Techniques (in NA) Shaw mentions: Free Indirect Speech Irony Juxtaposition Comic tone 1 st Person + 3 rd Person Authorial intrusion (subtly) Changing narrative perspective Situation comedy Improvement motif

13 Hannah Forwood


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