Bronte on Austen

Charlotte Bronte did not like Jane Austen’s writing — not enough poetry or passion in it for her.  But they would have agreed on the need to keep to their own styles.  This is how Bronte responded when someone suggested she write more like Austen:

“Whenever I do write another book, I think I will have nothing of what you call “melodrama.”  I think so, but I am not sure.  I think, too, I will endeavour to follow the counsel which shines out of Miss Austen’s “mild eyes,” to finish more, and be more
subdued; but neither am I sure of that
.  When authors write best, or, at least, when they write most fluently, an influence seems to waken in them which becomes their master — which will have its way — putting out of view all behests but its own, dictating certain words, and insisting on their being used, whether vehement or measured in their nature, new moulding characters, giving unthought of turns to incidents, rejecting carefully elaborated old ideas, and suddenly creating and adopting new ones.  Is it not so?  And should we try to counteract this influence?  Can we indeed counteract it?”

Mrs. Gaskell’s Life of Miss Bronte, vol. ii p. 53 (emphasis mine)
Thanks to for this quote

More of Bronte’s thoughts on Austen here.

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