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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, Portland, OR

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Hidden Calendars of Jane Austen's Novels as Giant Clues to her Shadow stories

In Austen-L, Ellen Moody, who was the first Austen scholar to develop calendars for each of Jane Austen's novels......

....but who, ironically, believes my shadow story theory is totally bogus, just wrote the following about the subtle depiction of the passing of time in Jane Austen's novels:  "What distinguishes Austen's [novels] and makes them unusual is this adherence to hour by hour, day by day. You can really move hour by hour in Austen's novels. The frequency of the keeping of time plus the consistency is highly unusual."

I responded as follows.

Yes, it is highly unusual, and it only strengthens my claim that all her novels have shadow stories. What a great way to provide subliminal hints to readers as to offstage action, by providing, in effect, a whole class of clues as to the whereabouts, at a given time, of certain characters.

Exactly as in a crime detection story, the detectives have to know who was where at what time, in order to provide alibis for certain suspects, and to dictate further scrutiny for others. Without dates and times, they'd be lost. Same with the literary sleuth trying to decode JA's shadow stories!

I will be giving several specific examples of this in my book, but here is a link to my blog posts about one of them. I showed that Jane Austen must have immensely enjoyed an ongoing joke in which various of her female characters, including a few heroines, dream about future husbands on the Eve of St. Agnes!:

Cheers, ARNIE
@JaneAustenCode on Twitter

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