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|Letter Writing/The Austen Family and Such
Written by BarbaraB
(12/1/2006 9:24 p.m.)
-Reading these letters highlights for me the importance of letter writing at this point in history. Most importantly, they were a means of communication (keeping each other abreast of family, friends, neighbors and acquanitances, events, etc.) but they were also a form of entertainment and for many a pleasant means of occupation, particularly getting them. JA's joy of writing as well as receiving letters leaps off the pages of her letters and I find it infectious. Indeed, I find myself enjoying them through her as well as with her.
-Another thing is, these letters deomonstrate, not only the closeness of JA and Cassandra, but the closeness of the Austens as a family. In letter 27 JA writes: "Miss Summers has made my gown very well indeed, & I grow more & more pleased with it.---Charles does not like it, but my father & Mary do; my Mother is very much reconciled to it, & as for James, he gives it the preference over everything of the kind he ever saw;..." The fact that everyone's opinion is solicited/volunteered, including the men's, and that it can be given honestly without begrudement on the receiver's part, says a lot and this is not the first time I have read of the opinions, good and bad, of the family on some garment or other/furniture/etc. This is only a snippet of the many things these letters reveal that show the Austen's affection and respect for each other.
-I was amused when JA says she wore one of her aunt's gowns. "Borrowing clothes"...as someone has already alluded: the more things change, the more they stay the same.
-The historical value goes without saying.
-It is so easy to lament that we do not have access to all of JA's letters (as I sometimes find myself doing), but what we do have---what a treasure! :)
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