Jane Austen and the Arts
“A Reputation for Accomplishment”:
Marianne Dashwood and Emma Woodhouse as Artistic Performers
On the surface, Jane Austen’s employment of female accomplishments simply portrays the interests of genteel young women in the Regency era. Music in Sense and Sensibility (1811) wordlessly characterizes the complete openness of Marianne Dashwood; drawing in Emma (1816Ja) filters clues about the enigma of Emma Woodhouse. Marianne’s passionate nature generates the novel’s heartrending (melo)drama. Drawn towards one as impulsive as herself, by acting on her desires, Marianne arouses the memories and protective nature of Colonel Brandon, whose position in the story is foreshadowed through the novel’s extra-textual, music-based, structure. Marianne’s narrative, which bursts forth operatically, eventually incorporates a desponding diva’s “mad scene.” Robert Wallace’s Jane Austen and Mozart: Classical Equilibrium in Fiction and Music (1983) encourages a further study of the interactive relationship between the arts and Austen’s fiction. The emotive power of music, its rhythms and construction, distinguishes Austen as a practicing musician fully capable of incorporating into her novels the rudiments of musical theory she had been taught. [READ More or visit My Amazon Author Page]
Chapter 2 from, Duquette and Lenckos (eds), Jane Austen and the Arts: Elegance, Propriety, and Harmony. Lehigh University Press (Rowman and Littlefield); December, 2013. Available in Hardcover and eBook formats.