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The Intelligence of Excess in Pride and Prejudice / Tatjana Jukić.

By: Jukić, Tatjana.
Material type: materialTypeLabelArticleDescription: .Other title: The Intelligence of Excess in Pride and Prejudice [Naslov na engleskom:].Subject(s): 6.03 | Jane Austen, the novel, narrative theory | Jane Austen, the novel, narrative theoryOnline resources: Click here to access online In: Measure and Excess. INCS International Conference. Rim, Italija, 13-15.06.2018Summary: Jane Austen's novels seem to be specimen stories of containment and regulation. Indeed, Austen has articulated a turning point in the history of the novel by processing the excesses of the eighteenth-century novel into an educated narrative intelligence, whose coherence resides in the invention of the focalizing consciousness. The focalizing consciousness keeps the novel together by attracting the narrative excesses to itself, as an instance where the boundary keeps breaking between the narrator and the story, so that the excess is contained in this break, now as a demand that a subjectivity be forged with a sole purpose of translating excess into education. (Henry James mobilizes his novels around a similar procedure, and James is the founding father of modern narrative theory ; he makes it impossible for us to distinguish between the novel and its theory. This is also how the situation of the focalizing consciousness in the novel resembles the psychoanalytic situation: the focalizing consciousness is neither the patient nor the analyst, even as it partakes of both, or perhaps precisely because it partakes of both. An intellectual history of the nineteenth century could be construed around this proposition.) I argue that Pride and Prejudice (1813) is critical in this sense, because it is in this novel that Austen mobilizes her focalizing consciousness not merely around the processing of narrative excess into education, but also around an insight that excess remains residual to education thus conceived, now as an excess in the very intelligence that is instrumental to this process. Austen’s title indicates as much: both pride and prejudice point to an excess in the intellectual processes and to an overvaluation of consciousness. This suggests that the subjectivation invoked by the novel does not coincide fully with the novel’s constitution, and that a narrative emancipation runs parallel to the invention of the focalizing consciousness. In other words, that which the focalizing consciousness suffers as an excess of intelligence registers in the novel as the intelligence of excess.
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Jane Austen's novels seem to be specimen stories of containment and regulation. Indeed, Austen has articulated a turning point in the history of the novel by processing the excesses of the eighteenth-century novel into an educated narrative intelligence, whose coherence resides in the invention of the focalizing consciousness. The focalizing consciousness keeps the novel together by attracting the narrative excesses to itself, as an instance where the boundary keeps breaking between the narrator and the story, so that the excess is contained in this break, now as a demand that a subjectivity be forged with a sole purpose of translating excess into education. (Henry James mobilizes his novels around a similar procedure, and James is the founding father of modern narrative theory ; he makes it impossible for us to distinguish between the novel and its theory. This is also how the situation of the focalizing consciousness in the novel resembles the psychoanalytic situation: the focalizing consciousness is neither the patient nor the analyst, even as it partakes of both, or perhaps precisely because it partakes of both. An intellectual history of the nineteenth century could be construed around this proposition.) I argue that Pride and Prejudice (1813) is critical in this sense, because it is in this novel that Austen mobilizes her focalizing consciousness not merely around the processing of narrative excess into education, but also around an insight that excess remains residual to education thus conceived, now as an excess in the very intelligence that is instrumental to this process. Austen’s title indicates as much: both pride and prejudice point to an excess in the intellectual processes and to an overvaluation of consciousness. This suggests that the subjectivation invoked by the novel does not coincide fully with the novel’s constitution, and that a narrative emancipation runs parallel to the invention of the focalizing consciousness. In other words, that which the focalizing consciousness suffers as an excess of intelligence registers in the novel as the intelligence of excess.

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