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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, Portland, OR

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Doctor Freud and Miss Austen

The beat goes on, with the great conversation in Janeites about Jane Austen's subtext:

Christy Somer first quoted my following comments:

"And in all seriousness, that is a perfect example of what I call a "Trojan Horse Moment"--when a person subconsciously knows more than (s)he realizes consciously. That is the reason I believe JA wrote all these puns and echoes, so as to penetrate the defenses of her reader's mind, and to cause the reader to pop up with an idea which (s)he thinks is original, but has actually been "seeded" by JA's wordplay. On the same principle as subliminal images of Coke bottles in a Fifties drive-in."

Then Christy made a wickedly telling point:

"To be intentionally irreverent here, and responding from another Freudian perspective, the above might even suggest and be interpreted as Jane Austen behaving rather unlady-like towards her readers by these very penetrations & 'playing-around' word-maneuvers!~~~:-) "

To which I replied thusly:

Christy, I am shocked, ShockeD, SHOCKED to hear you suggest such a thing!

But seriously......your suggestion is entirely in line with your very insightful comment to me last week at the JASNA AGM about those lifelong celibate nuns who have a very salty tongue, so I am not shocked at all, really, that you might see this Freudian angle--but are you prepared to go with me so far as to ascribe to JA herself an awareness of this metaphor? ;)

You clearly have VERY sensitive antennae today vis a vis MY subconscious today, as (believe it or not) I assure you that I did not intend any innuendo with the words "penetrate" and "seeded"--even though, in hindsight, with your assistance, they seem pretty darned obvious!

All I can say, though, is that I am very glad you did not attempt to implicate one of those Coke bottles into the imagery of this "situation", because then even I would have been forced to renounce and denounce such an infamous pun!

Cheers, ARNIE

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