Jane Austen's Art of Memory Jocelyn Harris
Jane Austen's Art of Memory offers a radical new thesis about Jane Austen's construction of her art. It argues that, with the help of her tenacious memory, she engaged in friendly dialogue with her predecessors, the English writers, a process that the eighteenth century called 'imitation'. Her allusions, far from being random, thicken and complicate her novels in a manner that is poetic rather than mimetic. Difficult critical cruxes resolve when her books are set within her own great tradition which included Locke, Richardson, Milton, Shakespeare, and (unexpectedly) Chaucer, and she is found to be an educated and supremely conscious writer.