The famous exchange between Anne Elliot, the heroine of Persuasion, and Captain Harville, where he asserts that ‘all histories are against you’, has become for many the key to understanding Jane Austen’s particular view of history. Most critics contend that Anne Elliot is voicing the view of the mature Austen, an author at the height of her powers, well placed to defend feminine modes of narration. Reading Anne Elliot’s statements as Austen’s views usually involves comparing Anne’s opinions with those of Austen’s ‘first’ heroine, Catherine Morland, who decried ‘real solemn history’ in Northanger Abbey. While certain critics have identified in Catherine Morland a refusal on the young Austen’s part to take history seriously, the words of Anne Elliot have been read as a passionate refusal of masculinist history. As Stuart Curran has astutely observed, Anne’s ‘sharp observation […] has often been taken as a characteristically oblique expression’ of Austen’s ‘feminism as well as a defense of her singular craft’ (1993, 177).
|Title of host publication||Reading historical fiction|
|Subtitle of host publication||the revenant and remembered past|
|Editors||Kate Mitchell, Nicola Parsons|
|Place of Publication||New York|
|Number of pages||17|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|