For much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the prevailing critical view was that Jane Austen has no discernible style; that as a result of her genius, her writing is simply effortless. The most influential proponent of this view was her most respected editor, R. W. Chapman, who doubted whether she "was conscious of having a style of her own. Outside her dialogue it is not highly individual; it is just the ordinary correct English that [...] 'everyone now writes'". In recent years, however, this claim has been comprehensively challenged. Editors and critics have shown, often using evidence from the surviving manuscripts, that Austen in fact honed her writing diligently, continuously making small yet significant revisions to her work.
The Language of Jane Austen