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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, Portland, OR

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"That speech savours strongly of disappointment"

Ellen Moody continues to struggle with her own positive appraisal of James Austen, even when it conflicts with Jane Austen's appraisal of her own brother:

[Ellen] "Still puzzled: how she felt about James and think it will be hard for when he went against his best and deepest impulses (poet, his love of books) to please the strong resentful, jealous wife, Mary, Austen was herself at a loss in front of him. She registers no direct angerat him over his taking over Steventon the way she registers real irritation and anger even at aspects of Edward and Elizabeth's treatment of others."

Just combine John Dashwood, Edward Ferrars, Edmund Bertram, and Mr. Elton (the latter three all country clergymen) in a composite, and you will see the face of James Austen as JA "sketched" it. James was a master of rationalization, a totally unconscious hypocrite, loving poetry and literature, and the spirituality of nature, but, in the end of the day, a very very willing participant in Mary Lloyd Austen's bitter, greedy schemes, and also in neglecting Anna. JA had James's number from a young age, and I have noted over a half dozen examples from these 1800-1801 letters in which JA's anger at James is registered very very explicitly. JA blames _both_ James and Mary, but there is an added savour of disappointment and disillusionment in JA's reactions to James, because she surely did once look up to him from early childhood until she was 13.

Then she woke up (probably while watching his shenanigans with cousin Eliza during the Steventon theatricals) and that's why we have Luke Lickspittle as her awakening to who James really was:

Cheers, ARNIE

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