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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, Portland, OR

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A delightful Jane Austen quiz

Okay, a delightful Jane Austen quiz to usher in the summer solstice (here in the Northern Hemisphere):

Clue #1: There is a 2-sentence passage in Henry Austen’s (pretty short) 1818 Biographical Notice of Jane Austen…  …which is the common thread that unites ALL EIGHT of the following seemingly unconnected passages written by Jane Austen over a period of 21 years. Can you locate the passage in the Biographical Notice, and then explain the concealed connection to each of the eight passages?

Clue #2: There is another, ninth passage in JA’s writings which has long been universally acknowledged to be part of that same concealed connection:

1793: “Henry VIII: in The History of England:
“…a slight sketch of the principal Events which marked his reign. Among these may be ranked Cardinal Wolsey's telling the father Abbott of Leicester Abbey that "he was come to lay his bones among them,"
…Nothing can be said in his vindication, but that his abolishing Religious Houses & leaving them to the ruinous depredations of time has been of infinite use to the landscape of England in general, which probably was a principal motive for his doing it…”

1811: S&S Chapter 18:
"I am convinced," said Edward, "that you really feel all the delight in a fine prospect which you profess to feel. But, in return, your sister must allow me to feel no more than I profess…I do not like crooked, twisted, blasted trees. I admire them much more if they are tall, straight, and flourishing. I do not like ruined, tattered cottages….”

1813  P&P

Chapter 11: “…My feelings are not puffed about with every attempt to move them. My temper would perhaps be called resentful. My good opinion once lost, is lost forever."

Chapter 29:  Elizabeth found herself quite equal to the scene, and could observe the three ladies before her composedly…"…It is wonderful how many families I have been the means of supplying in that way. I am always glad to get a young person well placed out. Four nieces of Mrs. Jenkinson are most delightfully situated through my means…”

Chapter 35:  "Two offenses of a very different nature, and by no means of equal magnitude, you last night laid to my charge. The first mentioned was, that, regardless of the sentiments of either, I had detached Mr. Bingley from your sister, and the other, that I had, in defiance of various claims, in defiance of honour and humanity, ruined the immediate prosperity and blasted the prospects of Mr. Wickham…”

Chapter 42: “The walk here being here less sheltered than on the other side, allowed them to see him before they met. Elizabeth, however astonished, was at least more prepared for an interview than before, and resolved to appear and to speak with calmness, if he really intended to meet them. For a few moments, indeed, she felt that he would probably strike into some other path. The idea lasted while a turning in the walk concealed him from their view; the turning past, he was immediately before them. With a glance, she saw that he had lost none of his recent civility; and, to imitate his politeness, she began, as they met, to admire the beauty of the place; but she had not got beyond the words "delightful," and "charming," when some unlucky recollections obtruded, and she fancied that praise of Pemberley from her might be mischievously construed….” 

1814: Letter 97 to Cassandra Austen “I have seen nobody in London yet with such a long chin as Dr. Syntax, nor Anybody quite so large as Gogmagoglicus.”

1814: Letter 107 to Anna Austen Lefroy: “You describe a sweet place, but your descriptions are often more minute than will be liked. You give too many particulars of right hand and left. Mrs. Forester is not careful enough of Susan's health. Susan ought not to be walking out so soon after heavy rains, taking long walks in the dirt. An anxious mother would not suffer it. I like your Susan very much; she is a sweet creature, her playfulness of fancy is very delightful. I like her as she is now exceedingly, but I am not quite so well satisfied with her behavior to George R. At first she seems all over attachment and feeling, and afterwards to have none at all; she is so extremely confused at the ball, and so well satisfied apparently with Mr. Morgan. She seems to have changed her character. You are now collecting your people delightfully, getting them exactly into such a spot as is the delight of my life. Three or four families in a country village is the very thing to work on, and I hope you will do a great deal more, and make full use of them while they are so very favourably arranged.”  

As usual, I will reveal the answer in about two days, but I hope that I will receive some correct answers before then.

Cheers, ARNIE

@JaneAustenCode on Twitter

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