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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, Portland, OR

Monday, July 16, 2012

Part One of the answers to my Austen-Shakespeare Quiz

"...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? ....these three Austenian[e] up bang, bang, bang, in rapid fire sequence in Shakespeare's text, and...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. "

And here is that passage in The Merchant of Venice, in Act 1, Scene 2, when Nerissa asks Portia for Portia's opinion about three of the suitor who have come to Meryto---I mean, Belmont---to seek Portia's hand in marriage:

PORTIA I pray thee, over-name them; and as thou namest them, I will describe them; and, according to my description, level at my affection.
NERISSA First, there is the Neapolitan prince.
PORTIA Ay, that's a colt indeed, for he doth nothing but talk of his horse; and he makes it a great appropriation to his own good parts, that he can shoe him himself. I am much afeard my lady his mother played false with a smith.
NERISSA Then there is the County Palatine.
PORTIA He doth nothing but frown, as who should say 'If you will not have me, choose:' he hears merry tales and smiles not: I fear he will prove the weeping philosopher when he grows old, being so full of unmannerly sadness in his youth. I had rather be married to a death's-head with a bone in his mouth than to either of these. God defend me from these two!
NERISSA  How say you by the French lord, Monsieur Le Bon?
PORTIA God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man. In truth, I know it is a sin to be a mocker: but, he! why, he hath a horse better than the Neapolitan's, a better bad habit of frowning than the Count Palatine; he is every man in no man; if a throstle sing, he falls straight a capering: he will fence with his own shadow: if I should marry him, I should marry twenty husbands. If he would despise me I would forgive him, for if he love me to madness, I shall never requite him.

Unless someone posts them here first, I will post the answers to Part Two tomorrow morning EST, along with a remarkable interpretive bonus payoff that relates to one of those three answers.

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