Letters

Letters

The Queen of Regency Morality? • A Matter of Rights • Against, And Yet For, Equality • Artless Science • Eternal Nietzsche • Inadequate Moral Responses • Intercontinental Philosophy War • Further Quantum Immaterialism

The Queen of Regency Morality?

Dear Editor: As a young literary scholar with an interdisciplinary bent and a keen interest in philosophy, I was delighted to find that philosophers such as Thomas Rodham in ‘Reading Jane Austen as a Moral Philosopher’ in Issue 94 also find literature of value. However, I would caution Rodham and his readers not to so quickly relegate Jane Austen’s ‘romantic comedy storylines’ to the background, and rather to see them as integral to the teaching program she undertakes in virtue ethics. There are many ways to demonstrate this; but perhaps the best way is using Rodham’s own perceptive observation of the key role played by Austen’s omniscient narrative gaze. It not only penetrates the thoughts of characters, but entices a response in the reader, such as Rodham’s ‘shiver’ at the thought of what such a gaze would reveal if directed upon him. If we could see our own prejudices, pettiness and superciliousness clearly, wouldn’t we laugh at what we beheld? And isn’t this, after all, the internalizing mechanism by which Austen demonstrates her moral message to her readers? In other words, isn’t Austen’s larger achievement to avoid disciplining us in the manner of the schoolmarm, instead adopting the acute narrative prowess of the town gossip, and the stinging wit of the parlor-room quipster?

Lee A.

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