The following is a lovely account of my presentation, sent to me in the Janeites group by Linda Ribas, a member of the group who honored me by making a big effort to come and hear me speak, and who, prior to hearing me speak, while curious, was by no means an enthusiast for my "shadow story" theory.
Linda Ribas's Summary:
I was able to take the train down from Connecticut with two friends to attend Arnie's presentation on Saturday. Traveling with portable oxygen is a bit of an
effort, but the event was well worth it.
The site chosen for the occasion, the Columbia Faculty House, was, as Arnie said, quite elegant--a beautiful room with large windows and light. The arrangement of chairs was quite unique. Instead of lines of chairs arranged in auditorium style,
there were circles of 8 or 9 chairs in clusters throughout the room. It was a much more intimate arrangement--very delightful--and I don't know why it isn't done more
often this way. Before the talk, we chatted with our circlemates, and as the talk
proceeded, we continued with our connection to each other.
Arnie gave a fine talk on the shadow stories in Emma--his specialty. He was poised and enthusiastic and engaged with the audience--a very good speaker. He was very
well received by the audience who were sometimes startled, sometimes amused and
sometimes dismayed by his insights. I believe many were willing to consider the
possibility that he might be onto something. Some were definitely more open-minded
I asked my companion, Olive, what she thought of it, and she replied that she had
always thought there was something strange and suspicious about Jane Fairfax's illness. She planned to reread Emma with a new critical eye.
Arnie's advice to us was good--to reread the last 10 chapters first and then proceed
to reread Emma again. I have always thought Frank's long letter at the end didn't
really make sense and fit in. I'm interested in rereading with Arnie's theories in
After the talk, there were delicious refreshments and socializing. I think many
would have loved to just continue listening to Arnie.
In summary, it was a very upbeat event--a memorable occasion.
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