" Although we tend to agree on most matters literary, Diana, on this matter of rent cloth, I must disagree, although I certainly do agree that JA was treating the subject with a "light" comic touch. "Rent cloth" has millennia-old societal and literary references that are mundane, sacred, and very, very profane. In Western literature these certainly date from Homeric times..."
Although your sense of Jane Austen's allusions as being part of an ancient metaphorical stream is accurate, there is no need to roam so far afield, Elissa. The complex allusion to the Wife of Bath in Northanger Abbey, which I have been excavating today, is so beautiful and so comprehensive, and also in such complete harmony with my overall strong feminist intepretation of NA, that there's no need to go beyond that into the allusory penumbra. Those penumbra won't convince any skeptic, but what I will bring forward will convince reasonable skeptics that JA was up to very deep tricks with this allusion. Without ANY question, Mrs. Allen, in the shadow story, is a very sly representation of the Wife of Bath.
I will be bringing this material forward in the next day, as dramatic validation of my approach to "the Jane Austen Code"---because it works.
Cats in the Days of King Arthur
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