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|Introduction: Background to the Second Section of Letters
Written by JulieW
(11/26/2006 9:00 a.m.)
I do apologise for slight spoilers,(AGGHH!!!)but I think we need to try to understand where these letters apear in her life;-)
Indeed,I think it will be to our advantage if I sketch out a very slight sketch of JA's life/works/movements during this period ,and what happened a little before our group of letters were written , so that we can keep abreast of her life, and
I’ve taken most of this information from Deirdre Le Faye’s book A Family Record9 2nd edition) which I recommend most highly as a companion book to the Letters. I’ve added an ROP Amazon link to this book below.:-)
So...what was happening in Jane Austen’s life during this time?
Our last section of letters ended on a high note, with Jane's brother Frank begin “made”: that is, raised to the rank of Commander in the British Navy. The first few letters of this year concentrate on recording for Cassandra news of both their naval brothers, Charles and Frank.
At this time JA was at home at Steventon rectory writing to Cassandra who was away visiting Edward and Elizabeth and their growing brood at Godmersham in Kent. In August 1798, remember, Jane and Cassandra accompanied Mr and Mrs Austen to ,Kent to visit the new home of Edward Knight ,Jane’s brother. He had recently taken possession of this estate( and others )from his adopted mother Mrs Knight, who moved from Godmersham to settle in Canterbury
During this section of letters , Jane will visit Bath with Edward and his family, and also visit there her uncle and Aunt Leigh Perrot, who during the course of the year become embroiled in the great lace blackmail scandal(more on this later)
She will also visit her great friend Martha Lloyd at Ibthorpe, an her Cooper and Leigh cousins.
Regarding her literary endeavours ,Jane had recently finished her novel Elinor and Marianne. She had worked on what was to become Northanger Abbey, but had laid this aside in the summer of 1798, probably, as Deirdre le Faye suggests in A Family Record in order to care for her mother who had become ill. We also learn a little more about First Impressions , in this batch of letters: this was the first title for Pride and Prejudice
And at the end of the year …poor Jane , along with Cassandra, makes a crucial tactical error and receives an horrid surprise…
|Amazon link to "A Family Record"|
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