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|"Letters of cruel comfort"
Written by Elizabeth K
(1/31/2010 2:37 p.m.)
Edward Cooper was JA's cousin (the son of JA's mother's older sister) and Deirdre Le Faye has written a very interesting paper, entitled 'There cannot be a more worthy young man': Edward Cooper 1770-1833 (my source: The UK Jane Austen Society Report 2008) in which she questions:
"How did Jane know that Edward was writing letters of 'cruel comfort'? - in the plural, indeed, letters? Did he write thus tactlessly to the Austens upon the occasions of the bereavements they had suffered: the death of James's first wife, Anne Mathew, in 1795; of Cassandra's fiance, Tom Fowle, in 1797; of the Revd George Austen in 1805; or perhaps upon Mrs. Leigh-Perrot's arrest in Bath in 1799 on a charge of shoplifting?"
Le Faye concludes that "there seems to be an implication that Edward Cooper could sound painfully like Mr. Collins, in his letter to Mr. Bennet on Lydia's elopement"
Hmm, I wonder if Edward Cooper was perhaps an inspiration for Mr. Collins....
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