he could not conceive an angel more beautiful

Category: Writing & Reading | Type: Discussion | Title: Pride and Prejudice (in Context) | Author: Jane Austen | Ch: Chapter 4

This is a subtle instance of what is called free indirect discourse, a feature of narration Austen helped develop and perfect. The sentiment and diction are not hers but Bingley's and encapsulate what he's said to Darcy or his sisters. Austen herself would not be guilty of describing someone as "an angel more beautiful." That is Bingley's cliché.

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