Point of View and the Control of Distance in EmmaAuthor(s): Wayne C. BoothSource: Nineteenth-Century Fiction,Vol. 16, No. 2 (Sep., 1961), pp. 95-116Published by: University of California PressStable URL: Accessed: 24-09-2017 07:02 UTCJSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a widerange of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity andfacilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available atUniversity of California Pressis collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extendaccess to Nineteenth-Century FictionThis content downloaded from 220.127.116.11 on Sun, 24 Sep 2017 07:02:45 UTCAll use subject to
Point of View andthe Control ofDistance in EmmaWAYNE C. BOOTHI171 ENRY JAMES ONCE described Jane Austen as an instinctivenovelist whose effects, some of which are admittedly fine, can bestbe explained as "part of her unconsciousness." It is as if she "fell-a-musing" over her workbasket, he said, lapsed into "wool-gather-ing," and afterwards picked up "her dropped stitches" as "littlemaster-strokes of imagination."' The amiable accusation has beenrepeated in various forms, most recently as a claim that JaneAusten creates characters toward whom we cannot react as sheconsciously intends.'Though we cannot hope to decide whether Jane Austen wasentirely conscious of her own artistry, a careful look at the tech-nique of any of her novels reveals a rather different picture fromthat of the unconscious spinster with her knitting needles. InEmma especially, where the chances for technical failure are greatindeed, we find at work one of the unquestionable masters in theuse of technique to control the reader's judgment.'Wayne C. Booth is chairman of the department of English at Earlham College.1 "The Lesson of Balzac," The Question of our Speech (Cambridge, 1905), p. 60.A fuller quotation of this passage can be found in R. W. Chapman's indispensableJane Austen: A Critical Bibliography (Oxford, 1955). Some important Austen itemspublished too late to be included by Chapman are: (1) Ian Watt, The Rise of theNovel (Berkeley, 1957); (2) Marvin Mudrick, Jane Austen: Irony as Defense andDiscovery (Princeton, 1952); (3) Stuart M. Tave's review of Mudrick, in PhilologicalQuarterly, XXXII (July, 1953), 256-257; (4) Andrew H. Wright, Jane Austen'sNovels: A Study in Structure (London, 1953), pp. 36-82; (5) Christopher Gillie,"Sense and Sensibility: An Assessment," Essays in Criticism, IX (Jan., 1959), 1-9, esp.5-6; (6) Edgar F. Shannon, Jr., "Emma: Character and Construction," PMLA, LXXI(Sept., 1956), 637-650.