So, I have a short quiz for you all, and will give the answer below, no making anybody wait.
What is the common thread among ALL of the following:
ONE: A joke in a Jane Austen letter JA wrote shortly after finishing
Susan (the literary ancestor of Northanger Abbey), attributing
authorship of a novel JA knew very well to the wrong author.
TWO: John Thorpe's complaint about " an old man playing at seesaw" in
Fanny Burney's Camilla.
THREE: John Thorpe's expressing a strong opinion about Henry Fielding's
FOUR: John Thorpe's taking Catherine out for a very fast ride in his
carriage, and boasting about his speed.
FIVE: John Thorpe's manic logorrhea (intense verbosity).
SIX: The footnote to Northanger Abbey.
SEVEN: Henry Austen's Biographical Notice published as the intro to the
First Edition of NA and Persuasion.
EIGHT: The Prince of Whales answer to the second charade in Emma.
The answer is two words. And if you cannot solve this quiz, after all
the hints I've given you, then I shall dare to suppose you a great
Scroll down for the answer--I will write up a detailed explanation in
the next few days, but I was eager to get this out there tonight.
The answer is..........SAMUEL JOHNSON!
If those of you so inclined want to have some fun before I post my
explanation, see if you yourself can reverse engineer my sleuthing and
figure out how each of the above eight clues applies to Samuel Johnson.
I must once again thank Diane Reynolds for bringing forward that
quotation the other day from her late English professor about Samuel
Johnson as Prince of Whales, because it was in following up on that lead
that I was led to revisit all of my previous Samuel Johnson sleuthing,
and it was in looking at John Thorpe's cryptic reference to "an old man
playing at seesaw" that I for the first time looked past the "correct"
answer that this was simply about Eugenia and Hugh Tyrold in Burney's
Camilla, and saw that this was just the tip of an iceberg, the "whale"
known as Samuel Johnson.
And who'd have thought that the Austen character who resembles Samuel
Johnson in more and varied ways than any other, is John Thorpe!
It turns out to truly be a whale of an allusion.
@JaneAustenCode on Twitter
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