Nineteenth-century literary props

That young lady had a talent for describing the involvements, feelings and characters of ordinary life which is to me the most wonderful I have ever met with. The big bow-wow I can do myself like any one going; but the exquisite touch which renders commonplace things and characters interesting from the truth of the description and the sentiment is denied to me.

— Walter Scott on Jane Austen, quoted by Edward Verrall Lucas, “Jane Austen,” Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.), 2:937.

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