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|I beg to differ...
Written by Elizabeth K
(1/26/2010 3:21 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, I'm not so sure about JA not smirking, penned by Jean B
Last year I completed a University of Oxford course about Jane Austen and the Mrs. Hall remark was debated there, in the words of one of the fellow course participants: "As for the letter to Cassandra, is it really quite fair of us to judge the private chat between two very close sisters? Sisters and close friends can speak in a way and a language that does not quite 'translate' to the general public". I think this is very true - I have a sister with whom I am very close and I might say something to her which I would not say in 'general company'.
E.M. Forster said that it was no more than "the whinnying of harpies" and it is certainly not an appropriate public joke but Jane Austen's letter was written for her sister and her sister's eyes only. Her words are fierce and although I would never dream of making such a joke, I do not think badly of her for something which she wrote on the spur of the moment and never even dreamt that 200 years later it would be being analysed and picked apart by a group of Jane Austenites. ;-)
I also think that the Mrs. Hall remark is very often taken out of context, for further info and an interesting essay on this, see JA and Motherhood
But I suppose I had better get back to the letter in question today. :-)
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