What does Atwood have in common with Austen?

Updated: Mar 24

On re-reading Margaret Atwood’s first published novel, The Edible Woman (1969), I noticed it adapted the same structure as Jane Austen’s first published novel, Sense and Sensibility (1811). How is this possible? In the first blush of discovery, I thought it was a classical structure but classical is a debased term with antithetical meanings. On reflection, I now see both Austen and Atwood using the structure Aristotle describes in Poetics. How did this come about? What does it mean?


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