Saturday, 27 February 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week - Week 97 by Linda

Team Jane has kindly agreed to allow me to post a series from Emma as I am now reading through it. I thought it may be fun to see how many ‘gems’ we can find. I am overwhelmed already and I have hardly begun. It was necessary to read our previous posts to make sure I didn’t repeat any, so please bear with me as I begin our journey. For this series I will start in Chapter 4 where we find Emma and Harriet discussing Mr. Martin and Emma says:

"Only four-and-twenty. That is too young to settle. His mother is perfectly right not to be in a hurry. They seem very comfortable as they are, and if she were to take any pains to marry him, she would probably repent it. Six years hence, if he could meet with a good sort of young woman in the same rank as his own, with a little money, it might be very desirable."

"Six years hence! dear Miss Woodhouse, he would be thirty years old!"

"Well, and that is as early as most men can afford to marry, who are not born to an independence. Mr. Martin, I imagine, has his fortune entirely to make -- cannot be at all beforehand with the world. Whatever money he might come into when his father died, whatever his share of the family property, it is, I dare say, all afloat, all employed in his stock, and so forth; and though, with diligence and good luck, he may be rich in time, it is next to impossible that he should have realised any thing yet."

What I find interesting about the conversation is the attention to the details of being able to afford being married, because when I was at that stage, money was hardly discussed. It was all about ‘being in love’. The one thing I do remember is my Mother asking me when I announced my engagement is this: “Can he support you?” And quite frankly, it had not crossed my mind. I think we had only worked out the immediate details as to where to live, but there was no discussion about the long term.

The only other memory I have about this subject is when I was in college, my ‘old maid’ French professor said, “Marry someone who is your equal in education, religion, and financial status.” Since she was older and still unmarried, I paid little heed to her advice. Now I wish I had paid attention. She has a point, though some inequality may be tolerated, it should be noticed.

The paragraphs before and after the quote above go into quite a bit about the conventions of that day concerning the ‘mixing’ of the social classes. It seems that we can find a lesson or two on every page.

Linda the Librarian

Pic: Jefferson Hall as Robert Martin in Emma 2009, from Photobucket

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Jane Austen Quote Week 96

This week’s quote is from Persuasion, Volume I Chapter X where Anne Elliot was struggling to get her nephew Little Walter off her back, and suddenly Captain Wentworth came out of nowhere (well, not really, but you get what I mean) to help her.

In another moment, however, she found herself in the state of being released from him; some one was taking him from her, though he had bent down her head so much, that his little sturdy hands were unfastened from around her neck, and he was resolutely borne away, before she knew that Captain Wentworth had done it.

Her sensations on the discovery made her perfectly speechless. She could not even thank him. She could only hang over little Charles, with most disordered feelings. His kindness in stepping forward to her relief, the manner, the silence in which it had passed, the little particulars of the circumstance, with the conviction soon forced on her by the noise he was studiously making with the child, that he meant to avoid hearing her thanks, and rather sought to testify that her conversation was the last of his wants, produced such a confusion of varying, but very painful agitation, as she could not recover from…

I can feel Anne’s fluttering heart here. I don’t know… but I guess because I love children and I want to have at least one of my own, I think, feel that mature men who are child-friendly are very… charming. Appealing. I bet Anne also felt that way too, in addition to her being extra nervous to be in such a close proximity with the Captain...

What do you think?

Pic: Anne and Captain Wentworth kissing, from Donjuantriumph' Photobucket.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week - Week 95 by Linda

In celebration for Valentine’s Day, let us look for ‘love’ or should I say ‘romance’ in Emma. Maybe I should say more appropriately ‘falling in love’ which is recognizing our feelings toward another.

We find in Chapter 47 that Emma believes that Harriet Smith is in love with Mr. Knightley instead of Frank Churchill whom Emma has been promoting. To make matters worse, Mr. Knightley has said things to Harriet that has led her to believe that he feels the same toward her.

Here is Emma’s reaction to those false beliefs:

Emma's eyes were instantly withdrawn; and she sat silently meditating, in a fixed attitude, for a few minutes. A few minutes were sufficient for making her acquainted with her own heart. A mind like her's, once opening to suspicion, made rapid progress. She touched -- she admitted -- she acknowledged the whole truth. Why was it so much worse that Harriet should be in love with Mr. Knightley, than with Frank Churchill? Why was the evil so dreadfully increased by Harriet's having some hope of a return? It darted through her, with the speed of an arrow, that Mr. Knightley must marry no one but herself!

So, there we have Emma’s awakening. Now we go to Chapter 49 to find that Mr. Knightley has been mislead by events to think Emma has feelings for Frank Churchill. In this chapter he finds out that Emma is not the least upset over the Frank Churchill – Jane Fairfax affair. Here is the quote from Chapter 49:

He stopped in his earnestness to look the question, and the expression of his eyes overpowered her. "My dearest Emma," said he, "for dearest you will always be, whatever the event of this hour's conversation, my dearest, most beloved Emma -- tell me at once. Say 'No,' if it is to be said." She could really say nothing. "You are silent," he cried, with great animation; "absolutely silent! at present I ask no more." Emma was almost ready to sink under the agitation of this moment. The dread of being awakened from the happiest dream, was perhaps the most prominent feeling. "I cannot make speeches, Emma," he soon resumed; and in a tone of such sincere, decided, intelligible tenderness as was tolerably convincing. "If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. You hear nothing but truth from me. I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it. Bear with the truths I would tell you now, dearest Emma, as well as you have borne with them. The manner, perhaps, may have as little to recommend them. God knows, I have been a very indifferent lover. But you understand me. Yes, you see, you understand my feelings -- and will return them if you can. At present, I ask only to hear, once to hear your voice." While he spoke, Emma's mind was most busy, and, with all the wonderful velocity of thought, had been able -- and yet without losing a word -- to catch and comprehend the exact truth of the whole; to see that Harriet's hopes had been entirely groundless, a mistake, a delusion, as complete a delusion as any of her own -- that Harriet was nothing; that she was every thing herself; that what she had been saying relative to Harriet had been all taken as the language of her own feelings; and that her agitation, her doubts, her reluctance, her discouragement, had been all received as discouragement from herself. And not only was there time for these convictions, with all their glow of attendant happiness; there was time also to rejoice that Harriet's secret had not escaped her, and to resolve that it need not and should not. It was all the service she could now render her poor friend; for as to any of that heroism of sentiment which might have prompted her to entreat him to transfer his affection from herself to Harriet, as infinitely the most worthy of the two -- or even the more simple sublimity of resolving to refuse him at once and for ever, without vouchsafing any motive, because he could not marry them both, Emma had it not. She felt for Harriet, with pain and with contrition; but no flight of generosity run mad, opposing all that could be probable or reasonable, entered her brain. She had led her friend astray, and it would be a reproach to her for ever; but her judgment was as strong as her feelings, and as strong as it had ever been before, in reprobating any such alliance for him, as most unequal and degrading. Her way was clear, though not quite smooth. She spoke then, on being so entreated. What did she say? Just what she ought, of course. A lady always does. She said enough to show there need not be despair -- and to invite him to say more himself. He had despaired at one period; he had received such an injunction to caution and silence, as for the time crushed every hope; -- she had begun by refusing to hear him. The change had perhaps been somewhat sudden; -- her proposal of taking another turn, her renewing the conversation which she had just put an end to, might be a little extraordinary! She felt its inconsistency; but Mr. Knightley was so obliging as to put up with it, and seek no further explanation. Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken; but where, as in this case, though the conduct is mistaken, the feelings are not, it may not be very material. Mr. Knightley could not impute to Emma a more relenting heart than she possessed, or a heart more disposed to accept of his.

I have quoted quite a bit, but the entire Chapter 49 should be read to fully appreciate the full extent of their ‘feelings’. You can’t tell me that Jane Austen did not know about ‘love’.

I will direct you to the ‘Passionate Passages’ in Emma that we collected at the Male Voices web site some years ago, wherein you will find Chapter 49 quoted in its entirety at the end of that page. CLICK HERE.

A personal note about this sentence: It darted through her, with the speed of an arrow, that Mr. Knightley must marry no one but herself! I can remember the exact time and place when I ‘fell in love’ with my one-and-only. It was the work of an instant.

Wishing you all a very Happy Valentine’s Day, I can’t help but wonder if the holiday is celebrated world wide?

Linda the Librarian

Pic: 1996 Emma Woodhouse (Kate Beckinsale) and Mr. Knightley (Mark Strong) from TheEditrix's Photobucket. Icha's comment: I know Linda loves Kate's Emma, so I hope she likes this one...

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Pride and Prejudice Musical

I just wanted to share with you all that 'Pride and Prejudice the Musical' will be showing at the Athenaeum Theatre in Southport, Chicago, US.

The dates for the performances are February 26th and March 6th and 7th.

The musical was written by Lindsay Warren Baker and Amanda Jacobs and was directed by Steven Daigle.

You can find out more information from

Being in the UK I will not get the chance to be part of this so if any of you do attend any of the performances, please share your reviews on the blog.

I want to acknowledge that I did find this information in the Jan/Feb edition of Jane Austen's Regency World.

(Also would like to mention that Carey Mulligan who plays Kitty in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice has just been nominated for an oscar for her excellent performance in 'An Education'- this is great news for such a talented British actress!)

Quote of the Week - Week 94

This week I have chosen a quote from one of the very popular conversations between Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. It appears in Pride and Prejudice, chapter 58 (or volume III, chapter 16):

Darcy mentioned his letter. "Did it," said he, "did it soon make you think better of me? Did you, on reading it, give any credit to its contents?"

She explained what its effect on her had been, and how gradually all her former prejudices had been removed.

"I knew," said he, "that what I wrote must give you pain, but it was necessary. I hope you have destroyed the letter. There was one part especially, the opening of it, which I should dread your having the power of reading again. I can remember some expressions which might justly make you hate me."

"The letter shall certainly be burnt, if you believe it essential to the preservation of my regard; but, though we have both reason to think my opinions not entirely unalterable, they are not, I hope, quite so easily changed as that implies."

"When I wrote that letter," replied Darcy, "I believed myself perfectly calm and cool, but I am since convinced that it was written in a dreadful bitterness of spirit."

"The letter, perhaps, began in bitterness, but it did not end so. The adieu is charity itself. But think no more of the letter. The feelings of the person who wrote, and the person who received it, are now so widely different from what they were then, that every unpleasant circumstance attending it ought to be forgotten. You must learn some of my philosophy. Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure."

"I cannot give you credit for any philosophy of the kind. Your retrospections must be so totally void of reproach, that the contentment arising from them is not of philosophy, but, what is much better, of innocence. But with me, it is not so. Painful recollections will intrude which cannot, which ought not, to be repelled."

Although I have only highlighted quotes from the last two paragraphs, I wanted to display the build up to these lines to give them some context. I feel that the key conversations between Mr Darcy and Lizzy always build in momentum and tension through every word. The lines I have chosen to highlight are probably not the most obvious but the Darcy's initial comment and Lizzy's reaction really interest me. I think that she is really showing her wisdom and blossoming maturity with her analysis of his 'philosophy.'

What are your opinions on this? Out of the context of Mr Darcy and Elizabeth's conversation, do you think that it is generally better to think only of the pleasant past memories OR should an aim be to keep painful memories close in order to refrain from making similar mistakes again and consequently becoming more wise to the world.

I dont know the answer to this question but it does often cross my mind. Is it really worth dwelling on painful memories if the circumstances surrounding it have now changed? Surely that will inevitably bring a person down and make them less likely to be able to build more pleasurable memories. But this may be a very ignorant philosophy as is it wise to only focus on the happy memories without deeming any lessons from the bad experiences in life....?

Pic: Elizabeth and Darcy- Keira Knightley fansite

Baby News for James McAvoy

I know this is slightly unrelated to Jane and her work but as this blog originated based on the film Becoming Jane, I wanted to make you aware that the lovely James McAvoy (our Tom Lefroy in the film) is going to be a daddy.

His very talented wife, Anne-Marie Duff (Notes on a Scandal, Nowhere Boy, and many excellent british tv series), and James are staring in the new film The Last Station with Helen Mirren (who has been nominated for an oscar for her performance) and is released here in the UK in a few weeks. I cant wait.

Read more about the upcoming arrival of the 'Mc-Duff family':


Pic: Contact Music