By F. R. Leavis
Quantity 2 of a range from Scrutiny opens with Mrs Leavis's a lot quoted stories, which jointly shape 'A severe idea of Jane Austen's Writings'. There follows a bit of stories of novelists (Dorothy Richardson, Gissing, Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Henry James), and Mrs Leavis's examine of Edith Wharton. Then there are 3 of James Smith's essays: the distinguished 'Preliminary Survey' of Wordsworth; the both celebrated 'On Metaphysical Poetry' and the learn of As you're keen on It. a bit on 'The English culture' reprints experiences of Jefferies, Beatrice Webb, Sturt and Piers Plowman.
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Extra info for A Selection from Scrutiny: Volume 2
Lady Susan's set—'a very bad set'— is Mary Crawford's, the description by Edmund of Mrs Fraser and by Miss Crawford of Mr Fraser answering exactly to the accounts of Mr and Mrs Johnson in the earlier book, down to replacing Mrs Manwaring's sister-in-law Maria who was trying desperately to catch the baronet by Mrs Fraser's step-daughter Margaret who was wild to marry Henry. The noble match Sir James Martin, 'under par', 'no Solomon', 'a very weak young man', 'only a fool', becomes Mr Rushworth, both having the advantage of a good appearance and 32 Q.
The Miss Manwaring who has designs on Sir James Martin is said to be 'absolutely on the catch for a husband'. Mrs Norris uses the same term, of which there is no other instance, I believe, in any of her novels, in connection with Mr Rushworth, who replaces Sir James—* there were girls enough on the catch for him*. 2 33 LSF 2 JANE AUSTEN original domestic drama of Steventon Rectory but invented for the novelist to illuminate and offset Lady Susan. We can see how this was inevitable. Instead of adopting the ironical external position of the author of anti-romance, she has to identify herself with the consciousness of a heroine (as she does in every novel but Northanger Abbey, which remains primarily a squib); it couldn't be the amoral Lady Susan's, so it must be either Mrs Vernon's (too entirely sisterly to be interesting) or Frederica's (too simple, she being only the consolation prize for the hero).
Every reader is puzzled by something odd about it which is felt to jar on the mood created by the rest of the book, and critics have produced various justifying explanations, from aesthetic to psychological, which satisfy no one and are in fact misleading. Actually its ill-assorted tone is vestigial. Mansfield Park was written up from Lady Susan but much later in life and in a different convention, with a correspondingly different attitude to its material. The early form has a conclusion identical in tone and parallel in content with the concluding chapter of Mansfield Park, and in Lady Susan it is exactly in keeping with the nature of the original undertaking.
A Selection from Scrutiny: Volume 2 by F. R. Leavis