Last week on the Literature of the English Country House learners were exploring the writing of Jane Austen. As part of the week’s activities they considered the rise of the novel, and in particular, the influence of early novelist Samuel Richardson on Austen’s style.
As part of the course’s ‘Material Conditions’ strand, Dr Joe Bray showcased an original edition of Richardson’s Sir Charles Grandison, alongside Austen’s own playfully short adaptation. You can view this video by here.
If you’d like to learn more about the literary relationship between Richardson and Austen, Joe has very kindly made accessible an academic article that he has previously written on the topic. You can access the article here.
Joe discusses the influence of Richardson on Austen, paying particular attention to the style of his letters in his epistolary novels. He argues that one source for free indirect discourse, the style which is often said to arise spontaneously in Austen’s writing, is Richardson’s The History of Sir Charles Grandson, as he shows that this novel, Austen’s favourite, develops innovative techniques for representing the consciousnesses of its characters.