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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, Portland, OR

Saturday, May 28, 2011

11-year olds and alternative ejaculations in Tristram Shandy and Jane Austen's Writings

This is the first of two more posts I wrote in the usual groups today following up on the fertile topic of Jane Austen's complex allusions to Sterne's _Tristram Shandy_ in both Northanger Abbey and in JA's Letters 26&39.

[Letter 26] "-With such a provision on my part, if you will do your's by repeating the French Grammar, & Mrs. Stent will now & then ejaculate some wonder about the Cocks & Hens, what can we want?-"

[Nancy] "...not everyone sees dirty jokes in such combinations of words.
reminds me of a class of 11 year old boys."

Speaking for all the 11 year old boys of the world (which must mean that
Chaucer, Shakespeare, Sterne, JA, and many other of the greatest authors were _all_ 11 years old when they wrote the sexual puns and other wordplay that saturates their _greatest_ literary works).... remind me to followup to what I wrote earlier with a couple of tidbits that occurred to me after my last post about the above quoted passage in Letter 26:

First, JA was well aware that the beginning of _Tristram Shandy_ is (as Ellen explained in her earlier post) a veiled description of the sex act which brings Tristram into existence, and she also understood that in the reference therein of the need to wind Tristram's father's _clock_, Sterne meant for the reader to remove one letter from "clock" in order to give that expression a more graphic significance in regard to that act.

Plus, the passage from the _end_ of Tristram which refers to a "cock and bull" story is, when more closely examined, one in which women are referred to as if they were breeding female farm hens, for example.

And _that_ is why JA chose to combine the words quoted above in regard to poor Mrs. Stent the way JA did. I guess JA was channeling her inner 11-year old boy that day.

Cheers, ARNIE

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