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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Location, Location, Location; Imagination, Imagination, Imagination

In Austen-L, Linda wrote: "Yes, "imagination" is sometimes linked to "fancy" in the novels; "whim" and "fancy" are often linked as well. Here are three examples where "imagination" appears close to "fancy":

"In Lydia's imagination, a visit to Brighton comprised every possibility of earthly happiness. She saw, with the creative eye of fancy, the streets of that gay bathing place covered with officers."

"You supposed more than really existed. But now suppose as much as you chuse; give a loose to your fancy, indulge your imagination in every possible flight which the subject will afford, and unless you believe me actually married, you cannot greatly err."

'"Historians, you think," said Miss Tilney, "are not happy in their flights of fancy. They display imagination without raising interest.'"

Linda, those two passages in P&P and one in NA are not the only passages where both words are used in close proximity. Below I reproduce _nine_ others I found from amongst all six novels. Note that 1/3 of the twelve are (no surprise to me) in _Emma_, and further note in particular the matched set of passages from Chapters 37 and 45 in _Emma_, which are _both_ very specifically about the reality or unreality of Mrs. Churchill's ill health, which tells us that JA had the paired use of those two words in the passage in Ch. 37 in very conscious mind as she paired those same words to describe the identical item in Ch. 45.

When you read all twelve examples for sense, I believe it will be found indisputable that when JA uses the words "fancy" and "imagination", or variants on same, in the same passage in her fiction, she is universally using them as _synonyms_. And, from a quick scan of a sampling of the much more numerous examples of where she uses these two words in separated passages, she generally uses them interchangeably as well.

So, whatever JA's familiarity was with Crabbe's or anyone else's distinctions between "fancy" and "imagination", she, in her novels, did not make any noticeable distinction between them whatsoever.

Which brings me back to Letter 91--I believe I must go back to my initial position, which is that JA was mostly likely using those two words in the same sentence, in order to make a hyperbolic point to her sister--she's saying, in effect: Cassandra, if you want to understand the preceding passage, you must use your imagination, and what's more, use your imagination, too! Sorta like the cliche about real estate sales---what matters is location, location, location. Well, in reading JA's coded passages, whether in her letters or in her novels, what the reader needs to bring to the table is imagination, imagination, imagination!

Here, then are those other nine passages:

S&S Ch. 9: His person and air were equal to what her FANCY had ever drawn for the hero of a favourite story; and in his carrying her into the house with so little previous formality, there was a rapidity of thought which particularly recommended the action to her. Every circumstance belonging to him was interesting. His name was good, his residence was in their favourite village, and she soon found out that of all manly dresses a shooting-jacket was the most becoming. Her IMAGINATION was busy, her reflections were pleasant, and the pain of a sprained ankle was disregarded.

S&S Ch. 41: The idea of Edward's being a clergyman, and living in a small parsonage-house, diverted him beyond measure; and when to that was added the FANCIFUL IMAGERY of Edward reading prayers in a white surplice, and publishing the banns of marriage between John Smith and Mary Brown, he could conceive nothing more ridiculous.

NA Ch. 5: This sort of mysteriousness, which is always so becoming in a hero, threw a fresh grace in Catherine’s IMAGINATION around his person and manners, and increased her anxiety to know more of him. From the Thorpes she could learn nothing, for they had been only two days in Bath before they met with Mrs. Allen. It was a subject, however, in which she often indulged with her fair friend, from whom she received every possible encouragement to continue to think of him; and his impression on her FANCY was not suffered therefore to weaken.

NA Ch. 10: You will allow, that in both, man has the advantage of choice, woman only the power of refusal; that in both, it is an engagement between man and woman, formed for the advantage of each; and that when once entered into, they belong exclusively to each other till the moment of its dissolution; that it is their duty, each to endeavour to give the other no cause for wishing that he or she had bestowed themselves elsewhere, and their best interest to keep their own IMAGINATIONS from wandering towards the perfections of their neighbours, or FANCYING that they should have been better off with anyone else.

Emma Ch. 15: His eldest daughter's alarm was equal to his own. The horror of being blocked up at Randalls, while her children were at Hartfield, was full in her IMAGINATION; and FANCYING the road to be now just passable for adventurous people, but in a state that admitted no delay, she was eager to have it settled, that her father and Emma should remain at Randalls, while she and her husband set forward instantly through all the possible accumulations of drifted snow that might impede them.

Emma Ch. 31: But, on the other hand, she could not admit herself to be unhappy, nor, after the first morning, to be less disposed for employment than usual; she was still busy and cheerful; and, pleasing as he was, she could yet IMAGINE him to have faults; and farther, though thinking of him so much, and, as she sat drawing or working, forming a thousand amusing schemes for the progress and close of their attachment, FANCYING interesting dialogues, and inventing elegant letters; the conclusion of every IMAGINARY declaration on his side was that she refused him. Their affection was always to subside into friendship. Every thing tender and charming was to mark their parting; but still they were to part

Emma Ch. 37: That she was really ill was very certain; he had declared himself convinced of it, at Randalls. Though much might be FANCY, he could not doubt, when he looked back, that she was in a weaker state of health than she had been half a year ago. He did not believe it to proceed from any thing that care and medicine might not remove, or at least that she might not have many years of existence before her; but he could not be prevailed on, by all his father's doubts, to say that her complaints were merely IMAGINARY, or that she was as strong as ever. It soon appeared that London was not the place for her. She could not endure its noise. Her nerves were under continual irritation and suffering; and by the ten days' end, her nephew's letter to Randalls communicated a change of plan. They were going to remove immediately to Richmond. Mrs. Churchill had been recommended to the medical skill of an eminent person there, and had otherwise a FANCY for the place.

Emma Ch. 45:Mrs. Churchill, after being disliked at least twenty-five years, was now spoken of with compassionate allowances. In one point she was fully justified. She had never been admitted before to be seriously ill. The event acquitted her of all the FANCIFULNESS, and all the selfishness of IMAGINARY complaints.

Persuasion Ch. 17: Lady Russell let this pass, and only said in rejoinder, "I own that to be able to regard you as the future mistress of Kellynch, the future Lady Elliot, to look forward and see you occupying your dear mother's place, succeeding to all her rights, and all her popularity, as well as to all her virtues, would be the highest possible gratification to me. You are your mother's self in countenance and disposition; and if I might be allowed to FANCY you such as she was, in situation, and name, and home, presiding and blessing in the same spot, and only superior to her in being more highly valued! My dearest Anne, it would give me more delight than is often felt at my time of life!"
Anne was obliged to turn away, to rise, to walk to a distant table, and, leaning there in pretended employment, try to subdue her feelings this picture excited. For a few moments her IMAGINATION and her heart were bewitched. The idea of becoming what her mother had been; of having the precious name of "Lady Elliot" first revived in herself; of being restored to Kellynch, calling it her home again, her home for ever, was a charm which she could not immediately resist. Lady Russell said not another word, willing to leave the matter to its own operation; and believing that, could Mr. Elliot at that moment with propriety have spoken for himself! -- she believed, in short, what Anne did not believe. The same IMAGE of Mr. Elliot speaking for himself brought Anne to composure again. The charm of Kellynch and of "Lady Elliot" all faded away. She never could accept him. And it was not only that her feelings were still adverse to any man save one; her judgment, on a serious consideration of the possibilities of such a case, was against Mr. Elliot. ….. Lady Russell saw either less or more than her young friend, for she saw nothing to excite distrust. She could not IMAGINE a man more exactly what he ought to be than Mr. Elliot; nor did she ever enjoy a sweeter feeling than the hope of seeing him receive the hand of her beloved Anne in Kellynch church, in the course of the following autumn

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