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Friday, April 1, 2011

Jane Austen's Special April Fools

Today being April Fool's Day, the following post was entirely timely:

http://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/letter-written-by-jane-austen-april-1-1816/#comment-11205

I just made the following comment there:

See my blog post, linked below, from last August, in which I pointed to a deeper April Fool’s subtext of Jane Austen’s April 1, 1816 letter to Clarke:

http://sharpelvessociety.blogspot.com/2010/08/jane-austen-did-not-suffer-fools-gladly.html

If anyone has any doubt that Jane Austen was entirely conscious of playing an April Fool’s joke on the cosmically foolish James Stanier Clarke, and even more so on his boss, the Prince Regent, whom Austen skewers on multiple levels in Emma (in the Prince of Whales secret answer to the charade, but also in the character of Frank Churchill), then consider as Exhibit “B” the following comments I made in another blog post….

http://sharpelvessociety.blogspot.com/2010/02/jane-austens-letter-57-rosetta-stone-of.html

….in which I stated, in relevant part:

“…the date JA wrote ANOTHER much more famous letter, Letter 68(D) dated April 5, 1809 [or four days after April Fool’s Day!] from “Mrs. Ashton Dennis”, in which JA demanded that Crosby publish NA, and further offered to produce another copy of same if somehow Crosby had mislaid the original submitted in 1798. ”

It seems to me that in both 1809 and 1816, Jane Austen did not allow April Fool’s Day to pass without taking the opportunity to engage in a massive put-on of a man with some sort of power over her writing career.

And the biggest put on of all was that, I claim, Jane Austen was not forced to dedicate Emma to the Prince Regent, she actually intentionally put herself in the position of being so commanded!

Cheers, ARNIE

P.S.: This post is not itself in any way an April Fool's joke, I am completely sincere in every claim I make!

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