How could I resist a headline like "This is Your Brain on Jane Austen" ????
I have been of the opinion for 7 years now that Jane Austen wrote her novels as double stories in no small part because she wished to train her (mostly female) readers to be able to see social reality in its full ambiguity, where the next man you meet could be the noblest hero or the darkest villain---and it might be extraordinarily difficult to decide which one he was.
So...perhaps an interesting wrinkle in Natalie Phillips's Stanford experiment would be to ask some veteran Janeites, who know the novels well, to first read a passage as they ordinarily read it, i.e., the overt story, and then read the same passage after being given hints in that passage which point to the shadow story.
Wouldn't it be wild if the brain wave pattern got even more complex in the latter case?
Food for thought!
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From the Archives: Harriette Wilson on Virtue
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