(& scroll all the way down to read my literary sleuthing posts)
Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, now living in "Portlandia"!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Four more questions about connections to the Prince of W-h-ales subtext in Jane Austen’s Emma

Tomorrow, I’ll be back to reveal the common connection to Jane Austen’s satire of the Prince Regent (aka the Prince of W-h-ales) which I claim unites all those seemingly unconnected passages I quoted from Emma the other day. In the interim, I give you some questions about four of those quoted passages, the answers to which may make that connection more visible (and some of you may recall my past posts about these quoted passages):

Ch. 43:
"Oh! for myself, I protest I must be excused," said Mrs. Elton; "I really cannot attempt—I am not at all fond of the sort of thing. I had an acrostic once sent to me upon my own name, which I was not at all pleased with. I knew who it came from. An abominable puppy!—You know who I mean (nodding to her husband). 

Who is the “abominable puppy” Mrs. Elton refers to, why doesn’t she name him, how does her husband know who she means, and why does Mrs. Elton’s reference to “an abominable puppy” echo the Trinculo’s descriptions of the “monster” Caliban in The Tempest, 2.2?:

CALIBAN     I'll kiss thy foot; I'll swear myself thy subject.
STEPHANO  Come on then; down, and swear.
TRINCULO   I shall laugh myself to death at this puppy-headed monster. A most scurvy monster! I could find in my heart to beat him,--
STEPHANO  Come, kiss.
TRINCULO   But that the poor monster's in drink: an abominable monster!

Ch. 49:
"Time, my dearest Emma, time will heal the wound.—Your own excellent sense—your exertions for your father's sake—I know you will not allow yourself—." Her arm was pressed again, as he added, in a more broken and subdued accent, "The feelings of the warmest friendship—indignation—abominable  scoundrel!"—And in a louder, steadier tone, he concluded with, "He will soon be gone. They will soon be in Yorkshire. I am sorry for her. She deserves a better fate."

As to Knightley’s second sentence, who is Knightley talking about, why doesn’t he name him, and why does Knightley speak it in “a more subdued accent” that his direct statements to Emma?

Ch. 39:  
In the few minutes' conversation which [Emma] had yet had with [Frank], while Harriet had been partially insensible, he had spoken of her terror, her naivete, her fervour as she seized and clung to his arm, with a sensibility amused and delighted; and just at last, after Harriet's own account had been given, he had expressed his indignation at the abominable folly of Miss Bickerton in the warmest terms.

What is the meaning of the echoing between the verbiage of the above passage and that of the above two previously quoted passages (in Chapters 43 & 49)?

Ch. 20 “…Manners were all that could be safely judged of, under a much longer knowledge than they had yet had of Mr. Churchill. [Jane] believed every body found his manners pleasing."
            Emma could not forgive her.
Ch. 21 Emma could not forgive her; --but as neither provocation nor resentment were discerned by Mr. Knightley, who had been of the party, and had seen only proper attention and pleasing behaviour on each side…

What does Jane Austen mean by having the anadiplosis of “Emma could not forgive her” (that bridges Chapters 20 & 21) strongly echo the following famous passage in her 02/16/13 letter [Letter 82] to Martha Lloyd about “the Princess of Wales”?:

 “I suppose all the World is sitting in Judgement upon the Princess of Wales’s Letter.  Poor Woman, I shall support her as long as I can, because she is a Woman, & because I hate her Husband—but I can hardly forgive her for calling herself “attached & affectionate” to a Man whom she must detest..I do not know what to do about it; but if I must give up the Princess, I am resolved at least always to think that she would have been respectable, if the Prince had behaved only tolerably by her at first.”

Cheers, ARNIE

@JaneAustenCode on Twitter

No comments: