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Jane Austen at Play

Self-Consciousness, Beginnings, Endings


Kuldip Kaur Kuwahara

Though in some ways a realistic novelist, Jane Austen self-consciously presents the ideal through her ability to play. Kuldip Kaur Kuwahara shows how Austen treats art as an expression of what her contemporary, Friedrich von Schiller, termed the «Spieltrieb» or «play drive». The heroines and heroes of Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park and Persuasion achieve harmony and balance. In providing definitions of beauty and freedom, they learn to play. Kuwahara asserts that Austen's aesthetically satisfying works liberate those who fully respond to her art.