Content Category

Literary Criticism

Abstract/Description

Although Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman seem to have little in common, a close examination of both texts suggests that the two writers (whose lives overlapped briefly) had similar concerns about women and marriage. In this paper, I will show how Wollstonecraft’s abstract social theories are brought to life by Austen in the concrete characters of her novel. Austen’s work engages readers with Wollstonecraft’s ideas in a more tangible and impactful way. I will also draw on recent neurological theories about reading to argue that, because of the way our brains interact with fiction, the characters and situations we read about become real to us in a way that they do not when we read discursive theories and analyses.

Origin of Submission

as part of a class

Faculty Involvement

Dr. Kristine Hansen

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Theory and Theory of Mind: Austen as Wollstonecraft's Judicious Narrator

Although Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman seem to have little in common, a close examination of both texts suggests that the two writers (whose lives overlapped briefly) had similar concerns about women and marriage. In this paper, I will show how Wollstonecraft’s abstract social theories are brought to life by Austen in the concrete characters of her novel. Austen’s work engages readers with Wollstonecraft’s ideas in a more tangible and impactful way. I will also draw on recent neurological theories about reading to argue that, because of the way our brains interact with fiction, the characters and situations we read about become real to us in a way that they do not when we read discursive theories and analyses.