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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, Portland, OR

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The 194th anniversary of Jane Austen's premature death

I just reread my blog post of a year ago on the occasion of the anniversary of Jane Austen's premature death:

What strikes me today, as we are now about 7 months into our marathon group reading of Jane Austen's letters, one per week, in Janeites and Austen-L, is how crucial--and how badly understood by most Janeite scholars--was the relationship between Jane Austen and her eldest brother James, who also died young, but not quite as young--in 1819.

Before she is cold in her crypt at Winchester Cathedral, James writes a poem about "Venta" which is a whitewash of JA's witheringly sarcastic poem about St. Swithin which I discuss in my above post from last year.

In late 1800 and early 1801, we have the series of letters from JA which show her rage and sarcasm at James and his wife evicting the Austen family from Steventon, and James's wife Mary trying to whitewash this by pretending that this eviction is not really happening.

And my various previous posts about the Loiterer, most recently.... how crucial James was in JA's meteoric rise as a writer at age 13 in 1789, as I have shown repeatedly that JA covertly satirizes the literary poseur and wannabe James.

Much food for thought on this anniversary of JA's death...

Cheers, ARNIE

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