English Language and Literature | Literature in English, British Isles | Theatre and Performance Studies
This essay explores the connection between Shakespearean drama and the novel’s representation of interiority. Jane Austen’s celebrated use of free indirect discourse, I argue, is linked to Charles Lamb and Mary Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare, which turned dramatic soliloquies into prose narration, rendering a character’s thought and idiom in a third-person voice. Heralded as a “prose Shakespeare” by nineteenth-century critics, Austen also developed an inverse free indirect discourse, the infusion of the narrative voice into characters’ dialogue. Scenes from Mansfield Park, Emma, and Persuasion offer mini-Shakespearean plays of attention, for Shakespearean technique and quotation script Austen’s dramas of reading.
Copyright © 2013 The Johns Hopkins University Press. This article first appeared in SEL: STUDIES IN ENGLISH LITERATURE 1500-1900, Volume 53, Issue 3, Autumn, 2013, pages 763-792.
Jane Austen, the prose Shakespeare.
SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500-1900, 2013, volume 53, issue 3, pages 763-792
Pollack-Pelzner, Daniel, "Jane Austen, the Prose Shakespeare" (2013). Faculty Publications. Accepted Version. Submission 61.