"(...) Here is a textured vocabulary with which to communicate without being too direct, rude or crude in matters that require sensitivity. Take for example the grace with which Eliza Bennet’s refuses Mr. Collins’ suit, or the wit with which she nettles Mr. Darcy without shaming him. It’s almost a guilty pleasure.
To be fair, there is something very artificial about this comedy of manners. We are invited into the drawing rooms of an idle class of tea-drinkers and piano-players who can afford to learn fourteen different ways to flirt with someone without being crude.
The greatest distance that an Austen novel runs is from ettiquette to courtship and back. (...)"
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