In a well-known essay first published in 1948 (“Manners, Morals, and The Novel”), Lionel Trilling wrote memorably of “the buzz of implication” which belongs to each time and each culture, and which it is very difficult for those of later times and other cultures to perceive. “The buzz of implication” means

that part of a culture which is made up of half-uttered or unuttered or unutterable expressions of value. They are hinted at by small actions, sometimes by the arts of dress or decoration, sometimes by tone, gesture, emphasis, or rhythm, sometimes by the words that are used with a special frequency or a special meaning.

What is astonishing is that her keen ear for the absurd and the obnoxious in society was developed so young.

For in the works of an author as beloved, and as written about, as Jane Austen, one might expect that...


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