Use of Dialogue in Jane Austen’s Novels



I think everybody knows that Jane Austen is a great writer of dialogue I think that's the main reason actually that's so frequently her novels are adapted for film and television because I mean they're they're wonderfully available to writers of screenplays because of her gift for dialogue but there's one aspect I think called the way that people talk in Jane Austen which if you're reading especially if you're reading for the first time it's it's it's work kind of being attentive to and and that's what linguists more often than literary critics call idiolect so the way people talk that's unique to them as a character and I think that Austin is really unusual in being able to give to each character with their own way of talking I often think you should you know it's a kind of quiz you can do you can take little bits of a speech from Jane Austen and you should be able to guess who says it as it were the even minor characters each speak in their own way and in Sense and Sensibility for instance you can you can hear Lucy Steele for instance talking and you can hear her character in the way that she talks she always says a little bit too much her sentences always go on a little bit too long she always adds these little kind of redundant phrases and qualifications which were signed both of her lack of gentility and education but also duplicitous nough sexually she's making she's always trying to make her sentences sound wise and rounded when in fact she's she's always up to something she's always up to the pursuit of her own interests or appetites their wonderful idea lacks in Sense and Sensibility you can already see Austen pursuing her kind of gift for it mr. Parnas rudeness and terseness Charlotte Palmer's fantastically bubbly idiocy and and of course the main characters – you know Marianne has a particular way of talking in the first two-thirds or three-quarters of the novel she might much what she says is an outburst I think she cries or cried more often than any other character in Jane Austen she doesn't just say things she cries things and then her change of temperament is signaled in the last part of the novel by her speaking completely different ways and in ways that quite a lot of readers in senses of Sense and Sensibility over the years have slightly resented or rebelled against that she's been turned into a different kind of speaker but always the kind of speaker you are in Jane Austen is the kind of character you are you

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