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Archive for October, 2010

We will now [finally!] get to how they traveled ~ you can review the previous posts on ‘Travel in Sense & Sensibility‘ here:

There is much that we do not know about Jane Austen, and the much that we do “know” has been pieced together from letters and family remembrances and historical contexts. But one thing we know for sure is that Austen was familiar with ALL the carriages of her day.  This is best illustrated by her Juvenilia piece “The Memoirs of Mr. Clifford: an Unfinished Tale” [MW 43],  written between 1787-90, when Austen was 12 – 15 years old:  this is what she says:

Mr Clifford lived at Bath; and having never seen London, set off one Monday morning determined to feast his eyes with a sight of that great Metropolis.  He travelled in his Coach & Four, for he was a very rich young Man & kept a great many Carriages of which I do not recollect half.  I can only remember that he had a Coach, a Chariot, a Chaise, a Landau, a Landaulet, a Phaeton, a Gig, a Whiskey, an Italian Chair, a Buggy, a Curricle & a wheelbarrow.  He had likewise an amazing fine stud of Horses.  To my knowledge he had six Greys, 4 Bays, eight Blacks & a poney. 

[what! no barouche!!] 

Austen used carriages in her novels as a way to indicate income and social status but also as a way to delineate character – for example, we know most everything about John Thorpe in Northanger Abbey by just listening to the way he describes his horse and carriage! [Thorpe has been called the most horse-obsessed character in all of literature!]; we know that Willoughby cannot afford the carriage and horses that he has, that he is a fast driver, and that his driving a large chaise with four horses to visit Marianne when he thinks she is dying show how much he wants to get there and quickly, at any cost [but of course he is now married to Miss Gray, so cost does not matter to him…]. 

Coaching Inns:

Austen would have also known the Coaching Inns of her day – she would have stayed in them during her own numerous travels. But in Sense and Sensibility there are only two mentions:  Edward staying at an Inn when he leaves London after he is disinherited, and Robert and Lucy Ferrars at the New London Inn in Exeter following their marriage.  But all the characters would have stayed at Inns for any of the longer trips, as was explained in the previous post.  

Carriages:

There are numerous specifically noted carriages in S&S.  “Carriage” is a general term: there were many variations in nomenclature and design, and big discrepancies even among the same “named” vehicle.  There were differences in “construction, function, size, speed and appearance.” [Rogers]  And there was a full class-system of horse-drawn vehicles; the wealthy often had unique designs made to order.  

Some understanding of the parts of a carriage helps to identify a particular type:  see this link at The Georgian Index for a glossary of carriage terms, as well as this diagram:

So, just a few carriage part terms:  

1.  C-Springs:  a curved spring of C-shape, made up of several overlapping plates or leaves. They where introduced in the late 18th century (shortly after the S-Spring) and replaced the primitive wooden pillar attached to the axle, from which braces extended to the coach body. 

2.  Elliptical spring: Carriage spring made up of two sets of overlapping steel plates or leaves bolted together in elliptical or semi-elliptical form. It was invented by Obadiah Elliot in England (1804) and made the ride much smoother and the carriages more stable.

3.  Lights:  called “moons” [as per Chapman]:  for dress carriages: the simplest were wax candles in tin tubes in a circular casing; for traveling coaches –  lamps with oil in square casing [Adams]

In the country, social engagements were dependent upon the moon, traveling at night unsafe:  for example in S&S, Sir John Middleton has asked other neighbors to join their party, but “it was moonlight and everybody was full of engagements.”

A few definitions about the people of the horse and carriage era:

1.   Postilion or post boy: a person who rides the leading nearside horse of a team or pair drawing a coach or carriage, when there is no coachman 

2.  Groom:  a male servant employed to care for horses; at times accompanying an owner’s carriage 
 

3.  Ostler:  a groom or stable boy employed at an Inn to take care of guest’s horses 

4.  Tiger:  a boy or small man employed as a groom on the back of a curricle or other small carriage.  Name derived from the yellow and black striped waist coat worm by the groom  [OED:  A smartly-liveried boy acting as groom or footman; formerly often provided with standing-room on a small platform behind the carriage, and a strap to hold on by; less strictly, an outdoor boy-servant. obs. slang. ] 

5.  Livery:  historical- distinctive dress or uniform worn by an official, retainer, or servant (and given to him or her by the employer) [term from c1290 in Old French] – a footman’s livery of two suits would cost about £20, as much as his year’s wages 

  

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And now to the carriages ~ I will post about each type and how and where they appear in Austen’s works over the next several days:


FOUR WHEELED VEHICLES:   
 

1.  Long Wagon:  

-similar to the American covered wagon

-carried goods and passengers – did “the practical work of the nation” with 6-8 draft horses

-not specifically mentioned in Austen, except off stage

 2. Carts

 3.  the Coach:  “Kings of the Road” – called the most dignified of moving objects 

•           a large, enclosed 4-wheeled carriage, a fixed head, doors and windows

•           pulled by at least four horses, for long-distance travel, traveled @ 7 miles / hour

•           4-6 passengers, in two seats facing each other; also passengers on top

•           C-springs helped as shock absorbers

•           public use OR persons of wealth or high rank

[the term “hackney coach”  is what we would call a modern day taxi, and were most often cast-off coaches from the original owners]

Coach builders

Stay tuned for various types of coaches…

Tiger in carriage

 

Postilion

 

 

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Update:   read this very welcome response to this discussion by Geoff Nunberg at NPR here.

I am on the road, so not able to connect to all my Austen “feeds” on a daily basis, so I was grateful to hear from Janeite Marti who sent me the information on this latest kerfuffle in Austenland – it seems that Professor Kathryn Sutherland has, in her releasing the latest digital editions of Austen’s fiction manuscripts [see the link here Jane Austen Fiction Manuscripts], made comments on Austen’s spelling and punctutaion and the need for a proper editor to clean everything up for publication – how the press has picked up on this in a world-class endeavor to bring Austen down a peg or two,  tossing her from her very high literary pedestal!  Vic at Jane Austen’s World has addressed the issue most adequately, so I send you there to read her near perfect defense of “Dear Jane.”

I will add this – we have long known that Austen was no Marian Grammarian – her spelling WAS appalling [thankfully spelling is not a requirement for imaginative thinking, brilliant characterization and comic timing] – and we do know, if you are at all conversant with her letters, that she worked diligently with her publishers [and likely an editor as well! alas!] correcting proofs of her novels. And those of us who have seen any of her working manuscripts, or indeed have read Sanditon or The Watsons in their unpunctuated, unparagraphed state have also long known how Austen wrote – we should also take into account her need to conserve paper – her letters attest to this – the cross-writing, the writing on all available edges  –  but these mentions of her unruly notetaking, scribbling, lack of paragraph formation and quotation marks and obvious need of an editor, is not all that Sutherland had to say, and the media emphasis on this is unfair to both her and Austen.  One should read further:

Still more interesting to her, however, is the authorial voice one hears in the manuscripts. She calls it “a more innovative, more experimental voice” than Austen gets credit for. “By not working with the grammatical form, she’s actually coming much closer to writing real conversation” than in the printed versions where “she’s pulled back into a more conventional form,” the scholar said. “It’s a voice you’re perhaps not hearing again until the early 20th century.”

So let’s embrace this gift of seeing Austen at work and instead of quibbling about commas and quotation marks that make it look like some male editor made the Austen we all admire, do as Sutherland suggests and take Austen’s works to yet another level… what an opportunity we have!
 
 
Further reading: 

‘Persuasion’ manuscript

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The November/December 2010 edition of Jane Austen’s Regency World is now on sale:


 
In the new issue:

*ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS: seasonal gift suggestions for the Austen fan in your life – or hints to drop your family and friends if you are an Austen fan!

*POWER OF ATTRACTIONS: what gives some of Jane’s characters sex appeal

*WHY I’M BANISHING JANE FROM MY BOOKSHELF: the reader who has fallen out of love with Austen

*THANKS FOR ALL THE FISH: Amy Patterson, of Jane Austen Books, finds similarities in the writings of Douglas Adam and Jane Austen

*NOVEMBER IN THE NOVELS: a busy time of year in Jane’s writing

*TOM AND JERRY: No, not the cartoon; a sportswriter’s fiction from the 1820s

*ON THE COVER: Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath, one of the grandest buildings in the city. Sharon Love, the general manager, tells us about “My Jane Austen”
 
Plus: All the latest news from the world of Jane Austen, as well as letters, book reviews, quiz, competition and news from JAS and JASNA
 
For further information, and to subscribe, visit: www.janeaustenmagazine.co.uk

DHL permitting (!) it will be available at next week’s JASNA conference in Portland, Oregon!

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Henry Austen

Today in Jane Austen’s life: October 21, 1815

One of my favorite letters in the collection Jane Austen’s Letters, ed. by Deirdre Le Faye (Oxford, 1995) is Letter No. 122 (A)(D), 21 October 1815.  This is a draft of a letter from Henry Austen to John Murray on his sister’s behalf and it gives us the rare direct glimpse into the wit of Henry Austen. Jane Austen is in Town and working on negotiations with John Murray for the publication of Emma. This is the visit of her famous meeting with the Prince Regent’s Librarian James Stanier Clarke and his request for Austen to dedicate her next work to the Regent.  The amusing correspondence between Austen and Clarke follow this letter, as well as Austen’s own letters to Murray, written directly to the publisher due to Henry’s grave illness and his inability to correspond.  These, plus her few letters to Cassandra during this time, are strong evidence of  Austen’s direct involvement and concerns in the negotiations and publication of her work – all these letters make great reading!  But today, let’s just look at Henry’s letter:

  ?Friday 20 / Saturday 21 October 1815

[A Letter to Mr. Murray which Henry dictated a few days after his Illness began, & just before the severe Relapse which threw him into such Danger. – ]

Dear Sir

Severe illness has confined me to my Bed ever since I received Yours of ye 15th – I cannot yet hold a pen, & employ an Amuensis [sic]. – The Politeness & Perspicuity of your Letter equally claim my earliest Exertion. – Your official opinion of the Merits of Emma, is very valuable & satisfactory. – Though I venture to differ occasionally from your Critique, yet I assure you the Quantum of your commendation rather exceeds than falls short of the Author’s expectation & my own. – The Terms you offer are so very inferior to what we had expected, that I am apprehensive of having made some great Error in my Arithmetical Calculation. – On the subject of the expense & profit of publishing, you must be much better informed that I am; – but Documents in my possession appear to prove that the Sum offered by you, for the Copyright of Sense & Sensibility, Mansfield Park & Emma, is not equal to the Money which my Sister has actually cleared by one very moderate Edition of Mansfield Park –(You Yourself expressed astonishment that so small an Edit. of such a work should have been sent into the World) & a still smaller one of Sense & Sensibility…

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Such a Brother was he! – a good businessman and witty in the process! an ‘error in my Arithmetical Calculation’ indeed!

Henry’s very serious illness prompted Austen to call all her family members to his bedside, and it was not until a few weeks later that Austen herself takes on the writing of letters to Murray to complete the Emma negotiations – she writes requesting him to call on her in Hans Place because “a short conversation may perhaps do more than much Writing.”  [Ltr. 124, Nov. 3, 1815; To John Murray]

[Henry’s Draft letter in Austen’s hand is in the Bodleian Library; a facsimile is in Modert, F-361 and F-362]

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The Heritage Auctions offering of Jane Austen’s novels on October 14-16, 2010 has published the results.  See my previous post here for the details.

  • Emma ~ $8,962.50  [opening bid:  $7500.; est. $15,000.]

  • Mansfield Park - not sold [opening bid:  $5000.; est. $10,000.]
  • Northanger Abbey / Persuasion ~ not sold [opening bid: $3750.; estimate: $7500. ]
  • Pride and Prejudice ~ not sold [opening bid:  $15,000.; estimate: $30,000.]
  • Sense and Sensibility ~ not sold [opening bid: $20,000.; est. $40,000.]

Hmmm – what is this all about??

Stand by for the Sotheby’s October 28th auction – details here.

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Part II.  A Study of Character’s Movement in Sense and Sensibility 

Fig. 1. Sense & Sensibility map

A startling fact! – there are 49 mentions of movement and 46 mentions of carriages [to include a few referring to travel by horseback] – and people say that nothing happens in Jane Austen!  That is a great deal of  traveling in what I have just described in the previous post as a not easy or inexpensive world to travel in!

To begin, let’s place the characters where they live and their income if known: 

A.  Where the characters live:  see the map of England’s Counties below, and the map of places, both real and fictional above

  • Counties = Sussex, Somerset, Dorset, Devon
  • London [“Town” = London], largely Mayfair


The Dashwoods:
 

  • Henry Dashwood – Norland, Sussex
  • Mrs. Henry Dashwood – Norland, moves to Barton Cottage, Devonshire – £7000 = £350 / yr
  • Mrs. Dashwood’s mother – Stanhill [Sussex] 
  • John and Fanny Dashwood –  Norland, Sussex; Harley St, London [renting?]; purchase East Kingham Farm, near Norland – £5,000 – £6,000 / year
  • Elinor / Marianne / Margaret:  Norland, Sussex, move to Barton Cottage, Devonshire; each have £1000 capital from their uncle = £50 pounds each annual income = £500 total for the four of them  [150 + 350 = £500]

Sussex

Devonshire

 
Colonel Brandon:  Delaford in Dorset; St. James St, London –  £2000 / year

  • Eliza Williams, his ward – Avignon [Brandon’s sister] – where? – found her in London
  • Brandon’s brother-in-law:  Whitwell,  near Barton 

Dorset

The Ferrars: 

  • Mrs. Ferrars – Park St, London
  • Edward –  his mother’s house; Pall Mall, London, after leaving home; Oxford; Edward and Elinor after marriage will have £350 / year 
  • Robert – his mother’s house? later London with Lucy Steele 
  • Fanny Ferrars Dashwood [see above] 

Cavendish Square, London

 
John Willoughby – Combe Magna, Somerset; Bond St, London –  about £600-700 /yr 

  • Mrs. Smith, Willoughby’s Aunt – Allenham Court, Devonshire
  • Miss Gray, Willoughby’s wife – £50,000 = £2,500 /yr

 
The Jennings / Middletons / Palmers:

  • Sir John and Lady Mary Middleton [Mrs. Jennings daughter]:  Barton Park, Devonshire; Conduit St, London 
  • Mrs. Jennings:  Berkeley St, London,  near Portman Square, otherwise she is visiting her daughters 
  • Mr. Thomas Palmer and Charlotte Palmer [Mrs. Jennings’ daughter]: Cleveland, Somerset; Hanover Square, London [renting?]

Hanover Square, London

 
The Steeles: 

  • Lucy and Anne [Nancy] Steele – Bartlett’s Buildings, London 
  • Mr. Pratt  [the Steele’s Uncle] –  Longstaple [near Plymouth] 


Miss Morton:
 Edward’s intended, London somewhere - £30,000 = £1500/yr 

Fig. 2. England Counties

 

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 B.  Movement of characters – a quick summary: 

1.  The novel starts out with Mrs. Dashwood and her three daughters moving from Norland Park [Sussex] to Barton Cottage [Devonshire] – their furniture goes by way of the water [i.e. canal system]

 2.  The Elinor and Marianne go to London with Mrs. Jennings [and most everyone else], then return to Cleveland, then back to Barton Cottage, where they await their destiny, both ending up at Delaford. 

 3.  Colonel Brandon lives in Delaford, but he is quite often at Barton Park, he goes to London to see his ward, later moves to London with everyone else, and when staying in London, he goes back and forth to Delaford “a few times”, and then later returns home via Cleveland and has to fetch Mrs. Dashwood in the middle of the night back and forth from Cleveland to Barton Cottage, and then finally seems to be at Barton Park / Cottage an awful lot… 

Barton Cottage

4.  Edward Ferrars visits Barton Cottage and later we find that he was actually first in Plymouth – he travels a few times back and forth to London to his mother’s, then off to an unnamed Inn somewhere after he is disinherited, then to Oxford, then back to London settling in Pall Mall, and then of course to Barton to visit then marry Elinor, and they move to the parsonage at Delaford and we expect will live happily ever after… 

5.  Willoughby lives in London, has his estate home at Combe Magna in Somerset, visits his Aunt in Allenham Court [Devonshire], leaves for London when HE is disinherited; he later visits Cleveland [Somerset] to see the dying Marianne, and then back to London to live with his boring, but wealthy wife

Willoughby

6.  The Middletons live at Barton Park [Devonshire], but travel to London with everyone else… 

7.  The Palmers live at Cleveland [Somerset], they visit Barton Park [Devonshire], then back to Cleveland and then to London with everyone else; return to Cleveland and then leave again as Marianne falls ill. 

8.  Mrs. Jennings, of course, lives in London but travels all over to visit her children at Barton Park and Cleveland 

9.  the Miss Steeles live in Plymouth with their Uncle, visited Exeter and then to Barton Park, then to London where they stay with first the Middletons, then the John Dashwoods, then Lucy with her now husband Robert Ferrars leave London for Dawlish, then return to London to live unhappily ever after, while her abandoned sister has to borrow money from Mrs. Jennings to catch a coach back to Plymouth [in the endless, hopeless search of her Doctor…]

10.  Mrs. Dashwood is taken to Cleveland by Col. Brandon to see Marianne at Cleveland [Somerset]; she is the only character who does not go to London. 

11.  As noted above, Everyone but Mrs. Dashwood goes to London, and while there they travel for their daily visiting calls and excursions around Town.

12.  And of course, Mrs. Ferrars stays put, selecting / de-selecting her heir from her comfortable seat in London – BUT the book ends with her visiting Elinor and Edward: ‘She came to inspect the happiness which she was almost ashamed of having authorized.”

Fig. 3. 1812 Cary map England

And how did they travel?? –  stay tuned for Part III:  Carriages in Sense and Sensibility

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Sources:  Fig. 1 and 2 maps from the JASNA.org website; Fig. 3 Cary map from Pemberley.com

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Last week I ran into Barnes & Noble to pick up the latest annotated Pride and Prejudice, edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks, and since then I have been “gadding about” as Austen would say – so no time to really give it a complete read and review; but in another trek yesterday into yet another Barnes & Noble [no worries, I also have haunted the local USED booksellers!], my husband stumbled upon the just published [as in October 5, 2010]  The Annotated Persuasion, annotated and edited by David M. Shapard [New York: Anchor Books, 2010; paperbound; ISBN:  978-0-307-39078-3] – and I have discovered a veritable feast! 

Shapard is known for his annotated edition of Pride and Prejudice [which I have but it is not in hand, as I am in “gadding about” mode as mentioned above…] – so I cannot compare this book to that edition [his annotated Sense & Sensibility is to be, I believe, published in April 2011] – though I have found that work quite useful as a reliable reference source – it was first published in hardcover followed by a paperback edition; this Persuasion is only in paperback… it is also a smaller format, likely because the novel is so much shorter, but this renders the many illustrations quite small – but I quibble about these few drawbacks …. publishers decisions do not always make the most sense… 

I first look for the extras:  

An Introduction which gives a brief history of the publishing of Persuasion, and the differences in this final novel from Austen’s other works

A Chronology of the novel [will compare this to Ellen Moody’s calendar 

Maps of sites that relate to the characters and storyline: the world, England, Somerset, Lyme, and two of Bath 

A good number of b/w Illustrations – there is unfortunately no listing of these; the source is indicated under each picture, but a listing would have served as an index to the subjects, which cover all manner of Regency life:  architecture such as that in Bath with interior and exterior scenes of the Assembly Rooms; various carriages; fashion; furniture; Naval life; the Cobb in Lyme Regis; etc.  – many of these illustrations will be familiar to most readers with a modicum of knowledge about the period – and color would have been nice – but the point here of these illustrations is to serve as a starting reference for further research, and it is an added plus to have any of these included. 

Bibliography:  this also serves as a starting point – it is in no way a complete listing of sources, but likely those sources that Shapard relied on for his research.  How complete can a bibliography of Austen be without mention of Claire Tomalin’s biography under that category, or Claudia L. Johnson’s Jane Austen: Women, Politics and the Novel or Kaplan’s Jane Austen Among Women nowhere to be found – but as Shapard is an historian, it is that strength that resides in this bibliography, again a great starting point for further study – it is organized by broad subjects:  language; cultural and literary background; marriage and the family; position of women; children; housekeeping and servants; entails and estates and the landed gentry; rural and urban life; the military; medicine; the law; education; books, media, libraries; writing; postal service; transportation; theater [but no mention of the two works Jane Austen and the Theatre – two works with the same title and both quite comprehensive]; music and dance; sports; weather; the seaside resorts; houses and gardens; fashion; food; etiquette and female conduct books; and others – again, a good select listing of resources on various topics.   

The Literary commentary and annotations:  Shapard begins with the caveat that “the comments on the techniques and themes of the novel represent the personal views and interpretations of the editor…such views have been carefully considered, but inevitably they will still provoke disagreement among some readers “ [xi] – which Shapard encourages…; these annotations include such literary commentary, historical context, and definitions of words in context if they had a different meaning in Austen’s time, some repeated when necessary or cross-references provided.  

The book is arranged with the original text on the verso, the annotations and illustrations on the recto – the annotations are extensive as the following few very random examples show: 

  1. Persuasion starts with the full description of Sir Walter Elliot’s obsession with both his own personal charms and his listing in the baronetage – Shapard here provides information on that book and others of the time and the definition of “baronet” and how Sir Walter acquired his own status…
  2. Gout is fully described on pages 311 and 315, when Anne learns that the Crofts are removing to Bath dues to the Admiral’s “gouty” condition.
  3. “replaced” – [p. 103] – “they suspected great injury, but knew not where; but now the collar-bone was soon replaced”   – the annotation explains that the word “replaced” had the meaning in Austen’s time of “to be put back in its original position” rather than “to take the place of” – there is also a description of anatomical knowledge as understood at the time.
  4. Carriages get much attention whenever they are mentioned in the text – so we have descriptions and illustrations of barouches and chaise and fours, and chairs and of course Anne’s pretty little “landaulette” [p. 483]                                                                         
         

    a barouche

     

  5. Money and wealth – Wentworth’s income explained [p. 145]
  6. Servants:  various duties outlined [p.  87]
  7. Street names, shops, locations explained throughout; e.g. The Cobb; Tattersall’s [a mention on p. 14 with an illustration]; Milsom Street; Westgate Buildings;…etc…
  8. The Clergy in Austen’s time
  9. Austen’s language as delineating character:  as in the following: “Lady Russell had only to listen composedly, and wish them happy; but internally her heart reveled in angry pleasure, in pleased contempt” [p. 232] – and the annotation reads:  “Her reveling in such emotions indicates her moral inferiority to Anne, who never derives pleasure from anger or contempt.” [p. 233]
  10. Social rules and strictures:  some examples – Sunday traveling [p. 305]; shaking of hands between men and women [p. 427]; not using first names, even those of friends such as Anne and Mrs. Smith

 A look at a few key scenes will also illustrate Shapard’s invaluable commentary: 

  1. Wentworth removing young Walter Musgrove from around Anne’s neck [pp. 152-5]:  Shapard emphasizes the importance of this scene in displaying both Anne’s and Wentworth’s feelings – he quotes William Dean Howell’s how “this simple, this homely scene, is very pretty, and is very like things that happen in life, where there is reason to think that love is oftener shown in quality than quantity, and does its effect as perfectly in the little as in the great events. [from Heroines of Fiction].  Shapard also suggests that Wentworth’s reluctance to converse with Anne about what has just happened is as much due to his efforts to remain aloof as it is to a “simple dislike of thanks,” [p. 155], as is true of Mr. Knightley in Emma. 
                                                                                                        

    Brock illus - from Molland's

     

  2. Louisa’s fall in Lyme Regis [p. 210-15]:  Shapard describes the Cobb, the steps that were the scene of The Fall, comments on the feelings of Anne and Wentworth, the strength of the former and the uncharacteristic weakness of the latter; Anne’s carrying the “salts” [have you ever wondered why Anne IS carrying smelling salts and conveniently has them in her possession? – “here are salts – take them, take them.” [p. 210]]; the calling for the surgeon and the differences between he and an apothecary; the comic relief of “the sight of a dead young lady, nay, two dead young ladies, for it proved twice as fine as the first report.” [p. 213-4] 

    "The horror of the moment" - from Molland's

     

  3. and of course, The Letter! [p. 452] – Shapard so rightly states that “Wentworth’s passionate language contrasts him with other Jane Austen heroes, who are often much cooler and more rational.  It also fits with the more intense emotional tone of this novel … the letter itself is arguably the moment of highest emotion in her works…” [p. 453]  – and we are given a picture of a writing table of the time [p. 457] – there is also extensive commentary on the conversation between Capt. Harville and Anne. 

As referred to above, there are disappointments in this work – I would most wish for an index to the annotations – these could be just general subject areas, such as similar divisions as in the bibliography – so for instance – all annotations which discuss medicine could be cited, or any references to carriages, or fashion, or Bath locations, the Navy, or examples of Free Indirect Discourse, the literary allusions such as Byron’s The Corsair and Matthew Prior’s poem “Henry and Emma”, etc.  As it is, one needs to read through the entire work to find the references, and as Shapard wishes for this to be a work for reference purposes, this addition of an index would seem to be a necessity.  A index of Characters would have also been a helpful addition – one must reach for their Chapman for this information; and finally there is also no “note on the text”, important information in any such reference source – the bibliography lists Chapman’s 1933 edition, Spacks’s Norton critical edition [1995]; and the latest Cambridge edition edited by Janet Todd and Antje Blank [2006] – but I would have liked to see from whence he took the exact text…

That all said – this is a delightful and fact-filled addition to your Austen Library – and if you are already fairly well-versed in the Regency period and Austen criticism, this will serve as a copy of Persuasion where much of this information is at your fingertips; if you are just starting your adventure in reading Austen, this will be a great introduction to the very rich world of her writings, her world, and her literary themes – what more can we ask for!  [other than a hardcover with an index!]

 4 full inkwells out of 5

[please note that the illustrations are meant to illustrate this post and are not illustrations in the work being reviewed] 

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