Abstract

Abstract:

While a hallmark of Jane Austen’s fiction is that characters’ firmly held own truths often become the basis for learning a few home truths, something distinctive is at work in Emma. This article argues that the novel distinguishes an ethically viable relativism from the alternatives of both an absolutist belief in fixed truths and the anything-goes attitude recently dubbed the “chimera of relativism.” Expressed chiefly through plot developments, dialogue, and narrative technique, this stance has significant consequences for how we understand the novel and how we understand the kinds of social and interpretive community that it imagines.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1522-9270
Print ISSN
0039-3657
Pages
pp. 693-715
Launched on MUSE
2021-07-22
Open Access
No
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