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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, Portland, OR

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The music of Jane Austen's novels

"Jane Austen often mentions how she didn't stay for concerts when there was singing. Still, she liked musicals on stage and considered herself a decent judge of the singing."

Nancy, what does that have to do with JA's understanding of, her playing of, and her appreciation for, what we today generically call "classical music"? My point was that she was quite familiar with the various forms of classical music, such as sonata form, rondo, etc., and, being the omnivorous metaphorician that she was, she would have had a sense of her novels as being, in a sense, concertos. That's what I meant when I wrote:

"Actually, my comment on the difference in language between P&P and Emma is that EMMA is the more experimental of the two--the passage in the strawberries, Miss Bates, these are innovations pointing toward James Joyce, or, in a musical context, Stravinsky. P&P is like "Mozart", absolute classical perfection of language. Emma is Expressionistic, as the prose seems, especially in the final "trimester", to explode and "give birth" to a new sort of language, verging into poetry. Whereas Persuasion strikes me as pure Romanticism in all senses."

JA was not Mrs. Bennet, she was MARY Bennet. She made extracts, she played serious music, she was a deep thinker--and she was proud of it.

Don't for a second believe that JA was on Mr. Bennet's side when he was at his worst, displaying his "inner Samuel Johnson" by repeatedly ridiculing Mary in his charmingly ad hominem misogynistic way.

Cheers, ARNIE

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