Lady Susan Feminist Analysis

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There has been an ongoing debate about Austen as a feminist writer and whether Lady Susan is a feminist text, as its characters adhere both to the expectations of women and also oppose them. Lady Susan herself can be seen as taking a feminist role, as she shows independence after the recent death of her husband. Notably, one of the greatest arguments against Austen is that she did not identify as a feminist, as the era of ‘feminism’ had not come about yet. Nevertheless, Austen’s work is littered with feminist perspectives which I will be looking at in this essay. Austen uses the epistolary form as the sole basis of writing in Lady Susan. Critics have circulated that this may be because Lady Susan is one of her works written in her juvenilia, or perhaps because the epistolary had become popular at the time. Lady Susan may have been one of Austen’s more experimental pieces of work, which is suggested by the unfinished manner of it, and may explain why Margaret Drabble describes the form of Lady Susan as an ‘exercise which she was not to attempt again.' This criticism suggests that Lady Susan was an experimental failure, but the form gives an insight into the female mind and shows the gossip of the female characters; suggesting that this form of writing is relevant to the piece as it allows the women to express themselves. When looking at the extract in Letter Two from Lady Susan to Mrs Johnson, it can be seen that Lady Susan is able to speak her mind and confide in her
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