Nora Bartlett

Published On


Page Range

pp. 187-198

Print Length

11 pages

12. Jane Austen and Burns

  • Nora Bartlett (author)
Chapter of: Jane Austen: Reflections of a Reader(pp. 187–198)
This chapter discusses Jane Austen's unfinished novel, Sanditon—with particular emphasis to a passage in it that relates to the poet and lyricist, Robert Burns. Bartlett goes on to explore Burns' writing and personal life, and compares the two writers (Austen and Burns), observing how both display qualities of attention that enable them to see human lives as complicated, as not simply tragic nor simply comic, as both foolish and moving in their self-deceptions and their desires. One of Burns' poems (“To a Louse”) is examined for its relation to the writing of Austen. Austen's piano-playing is discussed, particularly her relationship with one of Burns' songs—and that song's possible influence on her writing. Another song from Burns (“Their Groves o’ Sweet Myrtle”) is explored for its connection to Sanditon. There is a brief comparison between Austen and her heroines. Finally, Bartlett takes a closer look at an aspect of Austen's writing: in Jane Austen’s novels depth of feeling is most often indicated by the refusal to accept substitutes.


Nora Bartlett