Jane Austen loved the theatre. She learned much of her art from a long tradition of English comic drama and took joyous participation in amateur theatricals and her visits to the theatre in London and Bath. Her juvenilia, then 'Sense and Sensibility', 'Pride and Prejudice', 'Mansfield Park' and 'Emma' were shaped by the arts of theatrical comedy. Her admiration for drama's dialogue, characterisation, plotting, exits and entrances is why she has been dramatised so successfully on screen in the last twenty years -- and these versions are at the centre of her continuing fame, culminating in her celebration on £10 note. From the stage adaptations of Austen's novels to modern classics, including the BBC 'Pride and Prejudice' and 'Persuasion', Emma Thompson's 'Sense and Sensibility', and the phenomenally brilliant and successful 'Clueless', 'The Comic Muse' presents an Austen not of prim manners and genteel calm, but filled with wild comedy and outrageous behaviour.
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