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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, Portland, OR

Thursday, February 2, 2012

REALLY my best Austen Quiz yet.....

Okay.....I'm thinking of a _very_ (i.e., _world_) famous work of literature (let's call it "The Mother Lode") written _well_ over a century before Jane Austen was born (I am deliberately being vague as to the time frame I am talking about), that Jane Austen alluded to _covertly_ in one of her six published novels.

When properly understood, this covert allusion--which is wittily hidden in plain sight by Jane Austen in two very short passages linked across two chapters---goes to the heart, to the deepest core, of Jane Austen's confident and courageous sense of herself as a feminist author who has assumed the onerous and dangerous task of educating all the people of her society as to the many grave perils of men having too much power and too little wisdom to wield it justly vis a vis women.

I have a feeling that the above description _alone_ will be sufficient for at least some of you reading this to guess the real title of what I am temporarily calling The Mother Lode. However, for those who would like additional help, here are some hints which may assist you in figuring out the identity of the Mother Lode, and how it fits with my above description of same.

Hint#1: There is an _explicit_ allusion to the main character of the Mother Lode in a _different_ one of Jane Austen's six published novels, which explicit allusion has been analyzed in a scholarly journal article written during the past few years, but as to which the scholar had absolutely no clue as to the _covert_ allusion to the Mother Lode, and, indeed, never even mentions the Austen novel containing that covert allusion.

Hint#2: There is a famous bestseller written during the past decade which explicitly refers _both_ to the Mother Lode _and_ to the Austen novel containing the _covert_ allusion to the Mother Lode, but....the author of this bestseller never asserts or even implies that Jane Austen intentionally alluded to the Mother Lode in the Austen novel containing that covert allusion!
This is a particularly fine example of what I call a "Trojan Horse Moment", because the author appears to me to have juxtaposed these two particular works of literature in close proximity as a result of having already made a _subconscious_ connection between the two, without realizing it _consciously_. I.e., I believe that Jane Austen managed to plant the seed in that author's mind of this connection, by means of the strong parallelism of theme and plot line that Jane Austen achieved between the central arc of story development of The Mother Lode and the central arc of story development of that Austen novel. I've had hundreds of Trojan Horse Moments myself vis a vis JA's novels and letters, that is why I know one when I see one!
In that same vein, I found another scholarly analysis (from the past decade) of that strong parallelism between the Mother Lode and that Austen novel, where the scholar (like the scholar who wrote the article described in Hint #1, above) had no idea as to the covert allusion to the Mother Lode by Jane Austen, but nonetheless very insightfully wrote about parallels between the Mother Lode and that Austen novel, among other things.

Hint #3: There is a very famous movie made sometime within the past few decades (again, I am deliberately being vague as to the time frame involved) which movie itself is based, at _its_ heart and deepest core, on an allusion to the Mother Lode, even though, as far as I can tell via Internet searching, no one has ever noted this covert allusion before. By the way, you may be interested to know that I realized this connection for the very first time when I awoke very early today at 6:00 am.

Final Hint: Although you'll have to take my word for this last point that I did not plan it this way, there could not possibly be a more appropriate time for me to present this quiz than today, and this Final Hint is directly connected to _one_ of the above three Hints. ;)

Please email your answers to me at, and let me know if you want me to publicly acknowledge you by name when I reveal the answer tomorrow morning.

Happy hunting to those who like to solve these quizzes. I guarantee that I will not only reveal the identity of the Mother Lode _tomorrow_, I will also provide a brief summary of why I believe it is at the heart and core of Jane Austen's feminist agenda as a writer.

Cheers, ARNIE
@JaneAustenCode on Twitter

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