A friend sent me this article from the Upshot feature at the NY Times, about Jane Austen, her writing style, theories complete with graphics and data. The graphics detail studies of word selection and usage — more on the topic of natural language not Naturalism in the survival of the fittest type — more along the lines of Stephen Crane and Jack London.
Here is a quote from the article: “Austen was also a heavy user of words like could and must: those indicating likelihood, ability, permission and obligation. “Could” in her novels often combines with “not,” and tends to be found with words or phrases connected to thinking, perceiving or talking. This reflects the challenge that Austen’s characters, especially her heroines, face in seeing things as they truly are, or in speaking out.”
If you are curious/would like to read more: Here is the URL/link below: