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Written by MaryAnn K.
(4/14/2006 2:07 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, ignorant vs well-informed women, penned by Katy B
I am just in the learning process of what JA was poking fun at while reading my first Norton Critical Edition of this book. But in this edition, there is a quite a bit of information about writings of their time, and the silly expectations of women written in articles by men. The part of the book you refer to reminded me of a part of Dr. John Gregory's book called 'A Father's Legacy to His Daughters' in 1774.
In it he writes,
"Be even cautious in displaying your good sense. It will be thought you assume a superiority over the rest of the company. But if you happen to have learning, keep it a profound secret, especially from the men, who generally look with a jealous and malignant eye on a woman of great parts, and a cultivated understanding.
A man of real genius and candour is far superiour to this meanness. But such a one will seldom fall your way; and if by accident he should, do not be anxious to shew the full extent of your knowledge. If he has any opportunities of seeing you, he will soon discover it himself; and if you have any advantages of person or manner, and keep your own secret, he will probably give you credit for a great deal more than you possess.
The great art of pleasing in conversation consists in making the company pleased with themselves. You will more readily hear them talk yourselves into their good graces."
I had to laugh when I first read this. There is shamefully a lot of truth in his explanation. I can't help but to think that JA was making fun of this kind of thinking!
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