Novelist Colm Toibin: Friend of Jane


Alert Janeite Sarah caught an interview on NPR’s All Things Considered with the novelist Colm Toibin in which he mentioned that he is recommending to his writing students that they use less backstory, because he realized that he used too much himself after reading Jane Austen. There is no transcript, but paraphrasing, he said that she creates characters through dialogue, not backstory; the reader doesn’t need to know how Mr. and Mrs. Bennet met to understand them (though we ARE told that Mr. Bennet foolishly fell for youth and beauty, and regretted it).