The precision in Cassandra’ s notes on the dates of Jane’ s last two novels is not surprising. Emma was ‘begun Jany 21st 1814, finished March 29th 1815’. The greater part of this period was spent at Chawton, with three breaks in London, the longest at the end of the year. It was at this time that Jane discussed the Evangelical question with her niece, not when she was writing Mansfield Park. There is nothing in Emma to suggest that her religious views had taken a more solemn cast; its comic irony of invention betokens a happy, high-spirited author. Jane’ s enjoyment of her subject is reflected in the advice she gave another niece, a hopeful initiate in fiction, in September 1814, when she herself was probably resuming Emma at Chawton: ‘You are now collecting your people delightfully, getting them exactly into such a spot as is the delight of my life; — 3 or 4 families in a country village is the very thing to work on’ This recipe, often carelessly applied to Jane’ s novels in general, is more appropriate to Emma than to any other, delight in a country village being one of its distinguishing features.
KeywordsReligious View Social Venue Past Contrive High Pretension Pump Room
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