"If you want a genuine continuation of Austen don't buy an idiot sequel; rather go for Margaret Drabble's The Picture in the Carpet.....It swirls about an aunt who
loved jigsaws as did and does Drabble.....she turns to puzzles to calm her and remembers back..... She does relaxed research on jigsaws and we learn a lot about them and children's games. ARe they a game? I think so: you are working against the puzzle maker. You achieve something when all the pieces are in place. I do
have a method: first you make the frame and then you work on different portiosn of the picture. Of course the puzzle maker makes this second step
hard. Since the competition is at a distance, it's relaxed and you have aesthetic pleasure putting the puzzle together."
Ellen, that is a wonderful post, thanks!
In my considered opinion, Drabble and Byatt (I had for some time subconsciously conflated them in my mind, but I did not know--or at least I don't remember reading--they were actually sisters--now it makes perfect sense, they have apparently been partners in a certain kind of literary exploration, the same as the Austen sisters and the Bronte sisters, among others)--both have demonstrated, I think, a very strong awareness that JA's novels are themselves puzzles (_Possession_ to me is in no small part about Jane Austen, both her letters and her novels), but neither Drabble nor Byatt knew quite know how to fit the puzzle pieces together in a coherent whole.
"Which gets us to JA: famously there is a puzzle in MP -- free indirect speech from either Julia or Maria:..."
Yes, that is a good catch by you, but you should also relate the idea of puzzles in JA's novels to the novel which itself is explicitly filled with all sorts of puzzles, it is in fact a veritable Parthenon of puzzles---_Emma_.
And here's a catch for you---did you know that Henry James wrote a short story called "FIGURE in the Carpet"????? Read it, you will see the shadow of JA there as well!!!!!!! ;)
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