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|The "Richard" Joke
Written by Golda
(9/28/2005 10:38 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Richard-Dick abbreviation, penned by Kalyn
There are two references in JA novels where the name of Richard is used in a mocking manner. One is Persuasion, as noted above. The other is in the first paragraph of Northanger Abbey when referring to the heroine's father, "...was a very respectable man, though his name was Richard."
According to the book "Jane Austen and Names" by Maggie Lane, "...this seems to have been a family in-joke. Despite its being such a common male name, Jane Austen has no major character called Richard, only an array of non-speaking parts: the above mentioned Richard Morland, Richard Thorpe, also of Northanger Abbey, Richard Price of Mansfield Park, Richard Hughes of Emma, Richard Pratt of Sanditon, and in S&S a cousin of the Steeles named Richard. p.75
In another section of the book, "It seems to be the name for which she had the strongest irrational antipathy. 'Mr Richard Harvey's match is to be put off till he has got a better Christian name, of which he has great hopes,' she writes to Cassandra in 1796..." p.45
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