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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, Portland, OR

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Another trick question about a very famous novel

Which very famous novel by a very famous English author fits all of the following specific criteria?

1. There is a description of the departure for Ireland from England of a young man supposed to be enamored of one of the heroines of the novel (hereafter referred to as "X"), and also describing the marriage of that young man to a well-provided-for bride, instead of the impecunious heroine X.

2. There is at least one reference in the author's novels to a metaphorical "chasm" created in "the society" of one of the heroines of the novel, describing the experience of loss arising when certain closely-connected people leave the vicinity of that heroine, who is left to make do (or, as is stated in those fictions, to "fill up" that chasm) in the absence of the departed.

3. There are at least six references in the novel to the blushing of the heroine X, several of them with the suggestion of sexual significance.

4. There is a reference to the "usual caution" of a female character who is a "psychological mother" to the heroine X.

5. There is a playful double entendre in the fictions of the novel's author with the word "rear", used ostensibly in a military or naval context, and implicitly in two sexualized contexts suggesting gay sex, and also at least one explicit reference to "vices".

6. The novel's author deployed double entendres on the word "bottom" in that author's novels.

7. There is a female character in the novel who is referred to as a "Mrs.", who demonstrates a cruel and malicious intent to pressure the heroine X into a career of prostitution in a brothel, which intent may or may not be successful.

8. The heroine X becomes pregnant as a result of sex outside marriage, but the heroine X does not ever mother the baby so conceived, which may or may not be carried to term.

And here is the hint that many of you will probably find most useful:

9. There is an important female character in the novel, Mrs. Cole, who is explicitly named (at least) 32 times in the novel.

As soon as the correct answer is given, I will explain the rationale behind this little trick question.

One hint: this is the matter I was researching over this past weekend, in followup to the following recent post at this blog:

Cheers, ARNIE

P.S.: One more clue: A joke was made about this very famous novel in this group in October 2006, which is what first directed my attention to its connections to all things Austen.

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