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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, Portland, OR

Thursday, July 12, 2012

An Austen-Shakespeare Quiz in honor of the sale of Jane Austen's Turquoise Ring

By now, every Janeite has heard about the sale at auction of Jane Austen's turquoise ring for over $236,000 (U.S.).

In honor of that fresh testament to the relentless escalation of Austenmania to even further dizzying heights, I am pulling out of my own box of "most precious treasures" a rare sleuthing jewel that I've recently salvaged from the deep, which (first hint!) has an indirect connection to Jane Austen's turquoise ring!

But, to make it more fun, I will present a quiz about it first, and then give the answer if no one gets it within a few days.

Here it is, it's very simple---not long ago, Anielka brought forward the keen observation that a turquoise ring plays a small but salient role in the action of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice (TMOV), when Jessica steals her father's turquoise ring and (by the report of Tubal) sells it in exchange for a monkey, the news of which throws her father Shylock into a rage.

And at the time, I responded as follows in Austen L (and, more recently in my blog):

In that blog post, I suggested a startling connection between Shylock's deathly rage against Jessica and Mr. Collins's deathly condolences.

But..there is another short passage---and I really mean short---it consists of less than thirty lines---in The Merchant of Venice, to which Jane Austen has, I claim, covertly alluded via not one, not two, but _three_ different characters from three _different_ Austen novels!

Can you find this short passage in The Merchant of Venice?

Before anyone says that you are not good at spotting hidden allusions, take encouragement----my considered opinion is that, in this instance, _any_ knowledgeable Janeite who reads through the text of Shakespeare's play slowly and carefully has more than a fighting chance of spotting these three Austenian allusions, because of their coming up bang, bang, bang, in rapid fire sequence in Shakespeare's text, and because the connection to the three Austen characters is salient, not obscure.  I.e., when you  spot the passage, you will know exactly what I mean, it's really hiding in plain sight, a truly bravura game of allusion played by Jane Austen.

So, good luck, and I will await any answers.....

Cheers, ARNIE
@JaneAustenCode on Twitter

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