We wonder what he means by “structural control.”

Jane Austen has mattered more to me than Irish folktales

3 thoughts on “

  1. Barb Millett

    I think readers will get a much better understanding of what Mr. Toibin means by “structural control” if they will watch the video of him speaking to the camera which was included in the famous Morgan Library exhibit of 2010. Here is a youtube link:
    Transcribed interviews like the one referred to in today’s Austenblog post often irritate me because they are so abbreviated or pared down by the editor. Any Janeite will be rewarded by watching the above video. Colm Toibin has very insightful comments on Austen.

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    • Yes–interesting. What he says about having two characters that, every time they speak, they say something snobbish is a good way to construct characters. They have to be consistent. And Jane Austen’s characters are certainly consistent. Even when they change and grow, they do so in a way that makes sense. Thanks for the link, Barb!


  2. Barb Millett

    Yes, Jane Austen’s characters are so convincing and real to us because they are consistent. I remember reading a poorly written continuation of Pride and Prejudice — three of the main characters were behaving in ways I just knew were completely impossible, given the traits that Austen had given them. It was so upsetting to me I couldn’t finish the book. The writer could not have understood the original characters or their psychological make-up.

    But back to what Colm Toibin was saying in the Morgan Library video about Austen’s characters who are a “splash of red” — such a wonderful description! — in his novel Brooklyn (have you read it?), I’m guessing the characters assigned that function are the owner of the store in Ireland where the heroine works, and the woman who runs the boarding house in Brooklyn.


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