Saturday, 26 July 2008

Jane Austen Quote - Week 14 by Linda

This helpful quote is from P&P, Chapter 56:

“You may ask questions which I shall not choose to answer.”

Here is the context for that gem. Lady Catherine is trying her utmost to get Elizabeth to deny that there is an engagement to Darcy:

"And can you likewise declare, that there is no foundation for it?"

"I do not pretend to possess equal frankness with your ladyship. You may ask questions which I shall not choose to answer."

“This is not to be borne! Miss Bennet, I insist on being satisfied. Has he, has my nephew, made you an offer of marriage?"

"Your ladyship has declared it to be impossible."


Once again, Jane has given us a treasure. I only wish I had known that I had the right to dismiss unwanted questions in like manner. I could have never been so rude as to not answer a direct question. This has been my problem for ages since I was not taught in school nor learned by nurture that women should be treated as rational beings and have their person respected in all things.

Much to my dismay, I learned that lesson too late in my life and the damage had been done already. I could have been spared grief, and all the synonyms that accompany it such as remorse, anguish, pain, sorrow, misery, unhappiness, shame, suffering, and regret. That should give you a fairly good picture of what comes of being an obedient daughter and wife rather than using one’s own better judgment. Total, unreasoning obedience makes one into a 'doormat' which other people use to 'wipe their feet on' when things in their life go wrong or they are in a bad humor.

If you want a real eye-opener, read John Stuart Mill’s essay on “The Subjection of Women” that I recently stumbled into. You can read it here: The Subjection of Women


Read it and weep. I think Mr. Mill and his wife bear some looking into.

Linda the Librarian

Pic 1: Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen from: Working Title Films
Pic 2: Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth from: Geocities
Pic 3: Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth from: BBC

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Carrigglas company is facing liquidation

A rather bad news for Carrigglas, I'm afraid. And it's two months old news anyway, so there might be some other news I'm not aware of. Thanks to Rachel and Simon for the hints. News from The Post in Ireland. Hope things are getting better.



Carrigglas company is facing liquidation


18 May 2008

The development company behind Carrigglas Manor, the €160 million hotel and golf development in Longford, is set to go into liquidation, writes Ian Kehoe.

The directors of Thomas Kearns Developments have petitioned the High Court to wind up the company and have it placed into liquidation. The petition is due to be heard by the court early next month.

Construction work on the development has been stopped since last year, following a dispute over payments to contractors. Bowen Construction, the lead contractor on the Carrigglas Manor project, issued a letter to sub-contractors, informing them of payment issues.

The latest move by the directors of Thomas Kearns Developments has thrown the project further into doubt. It is understood that the directors of the company Tommy Kearns and his son Tom, own the development land in a personal capacity, and not through the company.

Bank of Ireland has a €35 million exposure to Carrigglas Manor, and recently asked accountancy firm Deloitte to assess the viability of the project. Kearns and his son provided the bank with personal guarantees over the capital.

The €160 million development was to include a four-star 96-bedroom hotel, spa, country club and 300 properties.

The project also includes a championship golf course designed by Retief Goosen, the South African golf star. Carrigglas was to have been financed through property sales, but suffered due to the downturn in the housing market.

Bowen Construction, has since made an €8 million bad debt provision in its accounts, arising from its involvement in Carrigglas.

Pic: Carrigglas Manor from the backyard, courtesy of Edward Lefroy (private collection)


Saturday, 19 July 2008

Trivia Quiz ANSWERS

I posted a trivia quiz this time last week. I hope you all enjoyed it.




Here are the answers:

1. Of the following characters, who was fictional and who existed:

o Mrs Ann Radcliffe- REAL
o Mr Wisley- FICTIONAL (but based on the real Mr Bigg-Wither)
o Henry Austen- REAL
o Cousin Eliza de Feuillide- REAL
o Lady Gresham- FICTIONAL
o Benjamin Langlois- REAL

2. Which actor plays the character of Mr Wisley?

Laurence Fox

3. Which year did Mr George Austen (Jane’s father) die?

1805

4. Name Jane’s six novels in the order that they were published.


Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1815), Northanger Abbey and Persuasion (both 1817)




5. What was the famous book that Tom gave to Jane in the library and told her to read?

Tom Jones by Henry Fielding

6. At the end of the film when she is reading an extract from one of her novels to the young Jane Lefroy, which novel is the extract from (clue: see post within the last week)?

Pride and Prejudice

7. Whilst at dinner with Tom’s uncle during their visit to London, Eliza describes how her husband was killed. Was he:- Hung- Guillotined- Missing, presumed dead- Drowned- Died of Cholera

Guillotined




8. What colour was the dress that Jane was wearing at the second ball when herself and Tom shared their first kiss?

Pale green




9. When Tom returns to Hampshire after news has broke that he is engaged to someone else, where does Jane learn that Mary, Tom’s new fiancé, is from in Ireland?

County Wexford

10. Which character from a Jane Austen novel is Lady Gresham supposedly modelled upon?

Lady Catherine from Pride and Prejudice

11. Which award did Becoming Jane win at the People’s Choice Awards?

Favourite Independent Movie

12. In the film, who sent the letter to the Judge telling him about Tom’s intentions to marry Jane and consequently ruining their chances of being together?

John Warren (friend of the Austen family)

13. What exactly does Tom say to Jane:- “I love you Jane, with all my heart and soul!”- “I'm yours, Jane, heart and soul!”- “You’re mine, Jane, heart and soul!”- “We are bound Jane, heart and soul!”

“I'm yours, Jane, heart and soul!”


14. When Tom arrives in Hampshire, Jane is reading a speech in celebration of which special event?


The engagement of her sister, Cassandra, to Thomas Fowle


15. What is Jane doing in the opening scene of the film?

Playing the piano

16. What does Jane read which prompts her to change her mind and return home to Steventon after Tom and herself had decided to elope?

A letter from Tom’s family thanking him for the money that he sent them on a regular basis

17. How did Jane communicate with her brother George?

Sign Language

18. What did George Austen (Jane’s father) do for a living?

Rector at Steventon parish


19. What was the name of the wood that Jane met Tom whilst they were both taking a walk?

Selbourne Wood



20. Which of Jane’s novels was influenced most by the work of Mrs Ann Radcliffe?

Northanger Abbey- due to its gothic nature


Pic 1: Jane and Tom

Pic 2: Jane Writing


Pic 3: Tom and Jane dancing

Pic 4: Jane Reading

Pic 5: Tom In Selbourne Wood

Pic 6: In Love

Maria's fanvid to commemorate Jane Austen's death

Thanks to Maria, here's a freshly made fan-video to commemorate Jane Austen's death yesterday. It's lovely and touching, as always.




Say hi to peanut, Maria!

Friday, 18 July 2008

Jane Austen Quote – Week 13


As Jane Austen’s most famous novel is Pride & Prejudice, I decided to pull out this quote to commemorate her passing away this 18 July. So it goes, as the studious Mary Bennet commented on Mr. Darcy:

“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonimously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”(PP, volume I, chapter 5).

Hmm… I’m ambivalent with Jane Austen’s definition of pride and vanity, because I have formed my own over the years (see below). I know, I know… it’s the first time I argue with what Jane wrote. It’s ironic that I should say so. But I think this blog is a free media where we can debate our dearest Jane Austen herself, not for debate sake, but for a healthy understanding.

And you know what? Many people will bash me for this; but I often think that Fitzwilliam Darcy often treaded on the definition of ‘vanity’ instead of ‘pride’ (well, not a secret here. My number one Austen hero is actually Mr. Knightley, not Mr. Darcy. Okay, sue me, but give me time to hide!)

I still recall what Darcy said to Elizabeth as he tried to propose her for the first time. He spoke of his affection to her whilst at the same time acknowledging her inferiority to his status. Why, I can understand why Lizzy kicked him out of the house! Really, Darcy and Mr. Thornton of the North & South should swap notes on how to charm smart independent ladies! Check this out!

Let’s see what Dictionary.com says about the two things:

Pride: a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.

Vanity: excessive pride in one's appearance, qualities, abilities, achievements, etc.; character or quality of being vain; conceit: Failure to be elected was a great blow to his vanity.

Anyway, there is a very fine line between pride and vanity, so fine and thin that we usually fail to detect it. But it’s important to me to check whether at one point I’m experiencing pride or vanity. Hence, my indication is that:

1) If I’m ‘just’ proud of myself or someone or something, with a warm feeling inside because of what I/he/she/that something did/said, that’s pride. A warm feeling to acknowledge that it was truly something to be done/said, or that the state one’s in is truly something worth praising

2) But if I then compare such action/statement with someone else’s, saying that mine/his/hers is incomparably better than that someone else, then there’s red alert there. It’s possible that it’s not pride that I have. It’s vanity instead

3) Vanity can be shaken or blown by failure. Yet, it’s harder to destroy pride. Pride is the ability to walk with head straight despite our failure or defeat; for we know that we’ve done our best, and nothing is wasted

Hence, I’m sorry to say this, but to me Mr. Darcy’s accounts are often on the verge of vanity, hence he needed Elizabeth Bennet to balance him. Just like Emma Woodhouse. Her excessive pride of herself made her insensitive towards Miss Bates, hence George Knightley needed to rebuke her.

But Fanny Price would be someone I put directly into ‘pride’. She has her own pride that guides her through all the troubles, despite Mrs. Austen labeling her as ‘insipid’.

Of course, this is my 21st century definition of pride and vanity. Yours might be different. Thoughts?

Pic: A very nice water-colour picture of Darcy and Lizzy by Jane Odiwe

Quiz to commemorate Jane Austen’s death anniversary

Dearest friends,

This Friday, 18 July, exactly 191 years ago, Jane Austen left this world. I understand that some fans are not comfortable with the commemoration of Jane’s death, and we honor their views. But for many, Jane’s death is also an important event to remember, for it is the day where the famous authoress, the strong, witty, and amazing woman we know, left us for good. Physically, but not at heart.

In accordance, we would like to conduct another quiz for Jane Austen fans (and also Jane/Tom fans). The winner will have a copy of the great-read ‘Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict’ sent to her/his abode by none other than the authoress of the book herself, Laurie Viera Rigler (thanks a lot Laurie!). The questions are as followed:

  1. In addition to writing about love stories (and their predicaments), Jane Austen was also an avid supporter of the abolitionist movement. In what novel did she include slavery as one of her main themes?

  1. Who accompanied Jane Austen to Winchester on 24 May 1817?

  1. Years after Jane Austen’s death, Thomas Langlois Lefroy admitted to one of his relatives that he used to have a ‘boyish love’ with the famous authoress. What was the name of his relative, and what was he to Tom Lefroy?

How to join? Just answer the three questions and send the answers to Icha (tara_parvati@yahoo.com) AND Rachel (rachkingston@aol.com). DON’T reply to the comment section, unless you want your answers copied by others.

Deadline: Thursday, 31 July 2008 at 24:00 GMT (the midnight between Thursday and Friday). If you’re not sure, visit http://www.timeanddate.com/ or http://www.timezoneconverter.com/ to check your time zone.

The winner will be announced on 2 August 2008 at the latest and he/she will get a copy of the ‘Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict’ shipped to his/her address wherever that is, so long as it’s on Earth.

Pic: ‘Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict’ by Laurie V. Rigler

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 12

I am so torn this week - I have a handful of amazing quotes to post - but I have decided to go with Mary Crawford and Mansfield Park.


“My dear Miss Price,” said Miss Crawford, as soon as she was at all within hearing, “I am come to make my own apologies for keeping you waiting; but I have nothing in the world to say for myself-I knew it was very late, and that I was behaving extremely ill; and therefore, if you please, you must forgive me. Selfishness must always be forgiven, you know, because there is no hope of a cure.” - Mansfield Park, (Penguin Red 2006), Volume I, Chapter 7, Page 70.

Not to be on a moral soapbox here, for I have hundreds of vices of my own, but there are two vices I particularly hate - nastiness and selfishness. Nastiness, because deliberate intention to hurt other people is just evil, and acute selfishness because it unnecessarily impacts so many people.
I love Mary's "selfishness must always be forgiven, you know, because there is no hope of a cure". This is so interesting! As a rule of thumb I have always thought that truly selfish people do not realise they are selfish, or the extent of their selfishness and its effect on others. I wonder if Mary is jokingly acknowledging she is "cutely selfish" without realising the full extent of her self-centeredness? What do you think?

As for "no hope of a cure", this I agree with. 1) If a selfish person does not realise their selfishness, why would they change? 2) Of course, anyone can change, but they have to want to themselves - no earthly person can make them change. So then you can have the cycle of person #1 telling #2 they are selfish, and number #2 denies it ... and so it goes. But of course, there are exceptions to everything. The above scenario is what I have personally observed over and over agin, and so Mary's quote really rang true. :)

Pic: Mary & Henry Crawford Stamp from: Collect GB Stamps

Trivia Quiz

I thought that it would be nice to do a 20-question trivia quiz for our faithful fans who love the film, Becoming Jane, as much as us.

Icha will be doing one of her more difficult, speciality set of questions (with prize) in commemoration of the death of Jane Austen on the anniversary date of 18th July.

Until then, I thought I would keep you occupied with this one.....Enjoy!





Answers will be posted this time next week.

1. Of the following characters, who was fictional and who existed:
- Mrs Ann Radcliffe
- Mr Wisley
- Henry Austen
- Cousin Eliza de Feuillide
- Lady Gresham
- Benjamin Langlois (Tom’s uncle)



2. Which actor plays the character of Mr Wisley?







3. Which year did Mr George Austen (Jane’s father) die?





4. Name Jane’s six novels in the order that they were published.



5. What was the famous book that Tom gave to Jane in the library and told her to read?



6. At the end of the film when she is reading an extract from one of her novels to the young Jane Lefroy, which novel is the extract from (clue: see post within the last week)?



7. Whilst at dinner with Tom’s uncle during their visit to London, Eliza describes how her husband was killed. Was he:
- Hung
- Guillotined
- Missing, presumed dead
- Drowned
- Died of Cholera

8. What colour was the dress that Jane was wearing at the second ball when herself and Tom shared their first kiss?

9. When Tom returns to Hampshire after news has broke that he is engaged to someone else, where does Jane learn that Mary, Tom’s new fiancé, is from in Ireland?

10. Which character from a Jane Austen novel is Lady Gresham supposedly modelled upon?

11. Which award did Becoming Jane win at the People’s Choice Awards?



12. In the film, who sent the letter to the Judge telling him about Tom’s intentions to marry Jane and consequently ruining their chances of being together?


13. What exactly does Tom say to Jane:
- “I love you Jane, with all my heart and soul!”
- “I'm yours, Jane, heart and soul!”
- “You’re mine, Jane, heart and soul!”
- “We are bound Jane, heart and soul!”


14. When Tom arrives in Hampshire, Jane is reading a speech in celebration of which special event?

15. What is Jane doing in the opening scene of the film?

16. What does Jane read which prompts her to change her mind and return home to Steventon after Tom and herself had decided to elope?

17. How did Jane communicate with her brother George?

18. What did George Austen (Jane’s father) do for a living?

19. What was the name of the wood that Jane met Tom whilst they were both taking a walk?

20. Which of Jane’s novels was influenced most by the work of Mrs Ann Radcliffe?




Pics taken from:

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Pride & Prejudice - An Essay by Beth Lau

I read this essay, Pride & Prejudice by Beth Lau in A Companion to Romanticism, edited by Douglas Wu. First, I will briefly summarise the main theme of the essay, and then quote interesting passages for debate.

The theme of the essay is Pride and Prejudice as a Romantic work. The author identifies key characteristics of Romanticism in the novel, such as love of nature and individualism.

Considering Jane Austen as a writer living during the Romantic movement is extremely interesting. I hadn't made the connection until I studied the period a couple of months ago. Definitely fascinating. In this respect, Beth Lau's essay is an excellent introduction to Jane Austen and Romanticism. She considers the lack of "strong, overflowing emotion" (from a Romantic's viewpoint) and quotes a very interesting comment that, "for women of the Romantic period, rational behaviour was more revolutionary than emotionalism". (Male Romantics were revolutionary in their celebration of emotion.) Lau goes on to say that "Women, however, have traditionally been associated with emotion rather than intellect, and feminist writers fromt he Romantic period, such as Mary Wollstonecraft in her Vindication of the Rights of Women, insisted that women were capable of rational thought. Consider Elizabeth protesting to Mr Collins to consider her as, "...a rational creature speaking the truth from her heart".

(All emphasis my own)

"...To the extent that Elizabeth does allow herself to be guided by her feelings, moreover, she falls into error. Bother her initial dislike of Mr Darcy and her attraction to Wickham prove misguided and result chiefly from Elizabeth's wounded pride, since Darcy scorned to dance with her at their first meeting, whereas Wickham singled her out for attention and intimate conversation during their first socil encounter. Impulsive subjective feelings, whether of love or of hatred, are untrustworthy, the novel seems to suggest. Instead, one ought to form one's opinion of another person gradually, after sufficient evidence has been gathered about that person's character, background and relationships with family members, dependents and friends. Thus, Elizabeth comes to respect Darcy after she sees his tasteful and well-managed estate and leans that he is a good brother, master and landlord, whereas her regard for Wickham dissipates when she finds out that he has been dishonest and unscrupulous in his dealings with others."

Right. Yes, Elizabeth is mistaken in her prejudice. But I disagree with Lau's comment that the novel suggests that "impulsive subjective feelings, whether of love or of hatred, are untrustworthy". We all know the power of a 'gut feeling' and of 'trusting intuition'. I think it's too broad a brush to suggest that ALL impulsive subjective feelings are untrustworthy. Not all of them are. The novel is balanced. Lizzie's 'impulsive subjective feelings' towards Bingley turn out to be very correct. And to take the idea a step further, I am reminded of this beautiful quote by Lebanese philosopher Kahlil Gibran:

"It is wrong to think that love comes from long companionship and persevering courtship. Love is the offspring of spiritual affinity and unless that affinity is created in a moment, it will not be created for years or even generations."

The second bolded paragraph I just hate. Hate! What can I say. Hate! Let me get back to it ... (comments section)

"Besides suggesting that informed judegment rather than impulsive emotions ought to guide women in their choice of a husband, other aspects of the novel's depictionso fcourtship and marriage appear anti-romantic. ... Moreover, there are no passionate love scenes in Pride and Prejudice. (!!!) When Elizabeth and Darcy finaly come to an understanding and agree to marry (Vol III, Ch. 16), the emotional intensity of the scene is downplayed; Elizabeth's and Darcy's words are briefly summarised, rather than presented verbatim, and no embraces or kisses are mentioned. One can even question how passionate Elizabeth's feelings for Darcy are at the end of the novel. (passes out) Her love is said to be based on 'gratitude and esteem' (p. 279), which may strike some readers as rather bland impulses."

What can I say?! There is nothing to say! "One can even question how passionate Elizabeth's feelings for Darcy are at the end of the novel". You have GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!!

"...Elizabeth's 'lively mind' seems checked and subdued in the second half of the novel. Susan Fraiman argues that Elizabeth's humiliation and self-castigation after she reads Darcy's letter mark a turning point, after which Elizabeth grows more passive and uncertain of her judgement and Darcy assumes greater power and authority as he 'magically set[s] everything straight', arranging Lydia's marriage, reuniting Jane and Bingley, and transporting Elizabeth to Pemberley (Fraiman, Unbecoming Women, p. 79). Readers may feel that Elizabeth's distinctive personality is repressed as she evolves from witty antagonist to grateful admirer of the proud and powerful Mr Darcy."

In regards to the first quote, Elizabeth is suffering the uncertainty and raging hormones of a first true love! She may be uncertain of her judgement of the Darcy situation, but this is only natural! It hardly suggests a full transformation of character, but rather her change in relation with a certain person ... I totally disagree with the final bolded sentence. No, I do not feel Elizabeth's witty charm is repressed by her love/relationship with Darcy! On the contrary - she is very much the same woman he fell in love with, the woman he admired for the "liveliness of her mind" (Ch. 60). And let me close with one of my favourite paragraphs, one of the last paragraphs of Pride & Prejudice, which illustrates the folly of the suggestion of Elizabeth-lost in her love for Darcy.

Chapter 61: Pemberley was now Georgiana's home; and the attachment of the sisters was exactly what Darcy had hoped to see. They were able to love each other even as well as they intended. Georgiana had the highest opinion in the world of Elizabeth; though at first she often listened with an astonishment bordering on alarm at her lively, sportive, manner of talking to her brother. He, who had always inspired in herself a respect which almost overcame her affection, she now saw the object of open pleasantry. Her mind received knowledge which had never before fallen in her way. By Elizabeth's instructions, she began to comprehend that a woman may take liberties with her husband which a brother will not always allow in a sister more than ten years younger than himself.

Pic 1: Jennifer Ehle as Lizzie Bennet from: Avande
Pic 2: Jennifer Ehle as Lizzie Bennet from: Avande
Pic 3: Jennifer Ehle as Lizzie Bennet from: Austenprose
Pic 4: Keira Knightley as Lizzie Bennet from: SMH
Pic 5: Jennifer Ehle as Lizzie Bennet from: Pixel Weavers

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Debate this! Jane Austen's Characters & the 21st Century

I opened my Fiction Study Guide this morning, to begin work for Semester Two, and this is what I read:


...One is the idea that by looking at a text which arises from a system of beliefs roughly similar to our own, we can spend less time on the hisotrical context and more on how the text works as fiction. To read someone like Jane Austen, for instance, ideally you would need to know something about Regency England and its world view. While the worlds of Faulkner's 'Yoknapatawpha' and Laurence's 'Manawaka' may sound remote to us, their characters are at least more familiar to us as fellow twentieth-century inhabitants, than are those of writers in earlier times.

Let's debate this! What's your opinion on this passage? I'm pretty sure we'll be able to get a stimulating conversation going.

I am really on the fence about giving my opinion here, now. I don't want to kill the discussion before it begins! I have a very strong opinion, and will be back with it later today, in the comments section. Have fun!

Pic: Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet from: MB Palaver

Monday, 7 July 2008

The Passage Read by Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway) at ‘Becoming Jane’

My dear friends,

It turned out that many fans are interested with the passage read by Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway) at the end of Becoming Jane, as the older Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy) listened pensively and looked at her fondly. Many a friend knew that the passage was taken from Pride & Prejudice, but quite a few as well unsure of which part of the book it was. Here’s the entire quote of the passage, taken from Chapter 8 of Volume III. That was after Lizzy learned of Lydia-Wickham's wedding plan, but before she knew that it was Mr. Darcy who basically saved her brat sister from destitute and loss of reputation (page # depending on the book version you have):

She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the man who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her. His understanding and temper, though unlike her own, would have answered all her wishes. It was an union that must have been to the advantage of both; by her ease and liveliness, his mind might have been softened, his manners improved, and from his judgment, information, and knowledge of the world, she must have received benefit of greater importance. But no such happy marriage could now teach the admiring multitude what connubial felicity really was.

Oohh… I want to cry again… Take a look at this beautiful YouTube passage (thanks to Arya27 for the video) to refresh your memory.

Pic: Screen shot from the 'Last Reading' scene of 'Becoming Jane'


Sunday, 6 July 2008

Jane Austen’s admirer from Ireland

Thanks to Mariana, I can upload this article albeit taking too long a time. And no, the title does not refer to Thomas Langlois Lefroy. Not directly, at least! Below is the summary of what Mariana informed us a few weeks ago.

It’s about one of Jane’s letters written on 25 September 1813 from Godmersham Park (Wednesday, Nov. 3), in which she has a very interesting comment regarding S & S and the fact that she is “read & admired in Ireland too”. The letter is quoted below:

Cassandra 1813: Godmersham Park Wednesday Novr* 3d*.

“Who has it next?-I am glad William's going is voluntary, & on no worse grounds. An inclination for the Country is a venial fault.-He has more of Cowper than of Johnson in him, fonder of Tame Hares & Blank verse than of the full tide of human Existence at Charing Cross.-Oh! I have more of such sweet flattery from Miss Sharp!-She is an excellent kind friend. I am read & admired in Ireland too.-There is a Mrs. Fletcher, the wife of a Judge, an old Lady & very good & very clever, who is all curiosity to know about me-what I am like & so forth-. I am not known to her by name however. This comes through Mrs. Carrick, not through Mrs. Gore-You are quite out there.-I do not despair of having my picture in the Exhibition at last-all white & red, with my Head on one Side;-or perhaps I may marry young Mr. D'arblay.-I suppose in the meantime I shall owe dear Henry a great deal of Money for Printing & c.-I hope Mrs. Fletcher will indulge herself with S & S.” (Mariana’s emphasise)

We all know that Jane wanted to remain anonymous (Lord Brabourne edition): “There is also an interesting entry of the date of September 28, 1811: "Letter from At. Cass. to beg we would not mention that Aunt Jane wrote Sense and Sensibility."

Godmersham Park-Sept: 25. 1813: “People shall pay for their knowledge if I can make them. Henry heard P. & p. warmly praised in Scotland, by Lady Robt* Kerr & another Lady; & what does he do in the warmth of his Brotherly vanity & Love, but immediately tell them who wrote it! A Thing once set going in that way-one knows how it spreads!-and he, dear Creature, has set it going so much more than once. I know it is all done from affection & partiality but at the same time, let me here again express to you & Mary my sense of the superior kindness which you have shewn on the occasion, in doing what I wished. I am trying to harden myself. After all, what a trifle it is in all its Bearings, to the really important points of one's existence even in this World!”

The Irish admirer “happened” to be the wife of a judge and not any judge, but the one connected with Tom Lefroy. Even more interesting is the fact that Mrs. Fletcher was “all curiosity to know about me-what I am like & so forth. I am not known to her by name however.”

Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy - Chapter III

On the resignation of Judge Mayne, in 1820, he was offered the vacant seat in the Queen's Bench, by Earl Talbot, but he declined the offer. Again in the following year, on the resignation of Baron George, he was offered the vacant seat on the Exchequer Bench, by the Marquis of Wellesley, who had then succeeded Earl Talbot in the Lord Lieutenancy of Ireland; and in 1823, on the death of Judge Fletcher, he was offered a seat in the Court of Common Pleas, also by Marquis of “Wellesley”.

To learn more about Judge Fletcher, read the old article of Connaught Journal of Galway, Ireland (Monday, June 9, 1823) here.

Both names, Gore and Carrick could be linked to Lefroy, although it might be a simple coincidence. Mariana could not find any other information about these two ladies other than a small review of Mrs Carrick for Mansfield Park in Pemberley.com: "All who think deeply & feel much will give the Preference to Mansfield Park."

Anyway, bottom line is that a Mrs. Fletcher, wife of Judge Fletcher, knew about Jane Austen’s book, and she was keen to know more about Jane. As Judge Fletcher was within Tom Lefroy’s circle, could it be that Tom Lefroy himself recommended the book to Mrs. Fletcher?

Or are Mariana and I reading too much between the lines?

Pic: Thomas Langlois Lefroy by G. Engleheart from the Independent UK



Saturday, 5 July 2008

Jane Austen Quote - Week 11 by Linda

I love this one from Emma! Emma is informing Mr. Knightley that Harriet Smith had refused an offer of marriage from Robert Martin. Mr. Knightley says:

"Then she is a greater simpleton than I ever believed her. What is the foolish girl about?"

Emma then comes back with this gem:

"Oh! to be sure," cried Emma, "it is always incomprehensible to a man that a woman should ever refuse an offer of marriage. A man always imagines a woman to be ready for anybody who asks her."

I simply have a hard time believing Mr. Knightley’s response:

"Nonsense! a man does not imagine any such thing”…

- Chapter 8, Emma


In my heart I think Jane got it exactly right. Well, I could be wrong, but not wishing to offend our gentlemen readers, I will say no more. They may defend themselves as best they can. Of course, there is always the exception that proves the rule, too.

Linda the Librarian

Pic: Mark Strong as Mr Knightley from: Strange Girl

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Persuasion Audiobook Read by Olivia Williams

Sadly, I don't like audiobooks, but if I did, I would buy this one! I have heard raving comments about Olivia Williams' (Jane Austen, Miss Austen Regrets, Jane Fairfax, Emma 1996) reading of Persuasion. It clocks in at 7 hours, 45 minutes, and is available to download from Silk Sound Books.

Being seen to be left on the shelf at the advanced and spinsterish age of twenty-seven was something Jane Austen knew about only too well. In Persuasion she uses the dry yet merry voice of Anne Eliot, the heroine and one of the most popular female characters in English literature, to tell this story about the ridiculous sport of trying to find a decent husband.

Jane Austen wrote the novel when she was forty and actually thoroughly happy with her position on the shelf, and her confidently funny take on life as an unmarried woman and the daftness of the level of worry that a girl has to go through before eventually finding the ideal match shines through this glorious book.

Olivia Williams’ calmly witty reading for silksoundbooks of Anne’s expedition through the beautiful but vicious salons of eighteenth century British society is a wicked joy. This is Austen at her best; funny, warm, sharp and ultimately powerful in her description of how to survive the persuasions of those around us who think they know what it is to be successful.

Pic: Amanda Root and Ciarán Hinds from Persuasion 1995 from: Quizilla