Jane Austen and the French Revolution by Warren Roberts

By Warren Roberts

This publication argues that Jane Austin did recognize of the French Revolution and its results at the eu international, although she by no means refers to it without delay in her writing.

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Jane Austen and the French Revolution

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15 She then explained that her husband was a strong royalist and had joined a party of emigres in Turin, hoping soon 'to reinstate themselves in the country they have quitted'. Obviously apprehensive over the future, she despaired over his chances of success in a project 'which must inevitably in some degree influence my destiny'. She was hoping for her husband's arrival in England in June 1791, and sometime during the winter of 1791-2 the comte de Feuillide did come to England, it seems upon hearing of his motherin-law's fatal illness.

In all probability she began writing 'Catharine' soon before or at the time of Eliza's 22 Jane Austen and the French Revolution arrival. This sequence would explain the allusions to Eliza's deceased mother and absent husband. That Austen would have decided to refer to the comte's return to France after learning about the upheaval that rocked Paris in late August and September does not seem likely, as doing so would have made light of a situation that suddenly became grave and that Eliza recognised as such.

These allusions, like those referring to Eliza's deceased mother, can be seen as an indication of Austen's thoughtful concern. The allusion to Eliza's husband and his forced separation from his wife can be viewed as Austen's way of using comedy as a means to introduce a note of levity into Eliza's complicated life, as a device for sympathising with her cousin by amusing her. When the passages describing Edward Stanley's travels are seen in this light their value is not only in their ability to amuse but also to relieve tension.

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