OK, I am thinking about a novel which fits all of the following parameters:
ONE: It was published more than two hundred years ago.
TWO: In its original form, it was epistolary.
THREE: It is universally acknowledged to be one of the greatest novels ever written, along with several other novels written by the same author.
FOUR: Its author is widely considered to have been a highly influential literary innovator, who has cast a very long shadow over the history of the novel, and who has provided grist for the mill of hundreds of scholarly articles, books, and dissertations.
FIVE: In the first half of the novel, the heroine is nearly forced by her family to marry an odious, repulsive man, but she is fortunate to avoid that fate.
SIX: The novel’s plot includes at least one attempted sexual seduction by a hardened rake.
SEVEN: There is a scene relatively early in the novel when the speed and evenness of a man’s hand writing of letters, and the rapidity of flow of ideas to a man’s pen, are both explicitly discussed, in verbiage that is laden with clever and suggestive sexual innuendo.
EIGHT: There is a scene when the taking of pains or trouble to attain mastery of a skill by a man who has always had things his way in life is explicitly discussed, in verbiage that also is laden with clever and suggestive sexual innuendo.
NINE: The heroine is referred to in various ways as having bewitched a leading male character.
TEN: The heroine is the favorite of a male ancestor, whose partiality for her is resented within the family.
ELEVEN: There is a war of words between the man and the woman for a goodly portion of the novel.
What is the title of the novel, and who is the author?
As seems to have mysteriously been the case in my previous literary quizzes, there may just turn out to be two novels which meet all the listed criteria--Good luck in discovering both!
I will give my answer tomorrow evening PST, along with the remarkable textual evidence for Items SEVEN and EIGHT, which confirm that these eleven parallels are not coincidental. ;)
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