Jane Austen's Style? Not Actually Jane Austen's

An editor was likely the one to polish her prose, says professor
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2010 9:33 AM CDT
Jane Austen's Style? Not Actually Jane Austen's
English novelist Jane Austen from an original family portrait.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Jane Austen is known as a “perfect stylist,” but those perfectly crafted sentences may not actually be hers. After studying 1,100 pages of Austen’s handwritten, unpublished manuscripts, an Oxford professor concluded that “the polished punctuation and epigrammatic style … is simply not there,” she tells the BBC. In its place is a more free-flowing, somewhat untidy style, featuring limited punctuation.

story continues below

The professor believes William Gifford, an editor who worked for Austen’s publisher, was “heavily involved” in creating the Austen that we know today. Even so, the research gave her “a more intimate appreciation” of Austen, the professor says, as the original drafts “reveal Austen to be an experimental and innovative writer, constantly trying new things,” and show that she was “even better at writing dialogue and conversation than the edited style of her published novels suggest.” Want more Austen? Click here to watch the Jane Austen Fight Club.
(Read more Jane Austen stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.