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|the letter stands apart
Written by Jenny Allan
(10/26/2005 10:06 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Such a letter, penned by Deborah Y
My favorite thing about the letter is how it has that same sense of urgent immediacy that so much of Persuasion does, yet it has a decidedly distinct voice. We don't get many examples of men's innermost thoughts, voiced in their own words, which is what makes the letter such a treat.
The letter reveals Wentworth to be something which we may not have guessed till this point: romantic and articulate. (Though his "he does not. He ought not" at the concert was a healthy clue.)
His use of a poetical, even, dare I say, a bit over the top phrase, like "you pierce my soul" is so far from the rhetorical bent of Darcy's "You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you" or even the everyday honesty of Knightley's "if I felt less I could say more (which I must confess is my favorite short passage in Austen), that it is difficult to believe that JA is really allowing us this much indulgence in romance. Usually her romantic moments are so tempered with realism, and so drawn back from the high-flown language of "romance" that we have become accustomed to having the scene switch to narration just as its getting juicy.
Immediately after the letter, though, JA has returned to her sober, ironic, narrative voice, as full of arch irony as ever, wacking us with a completely briliant piece of understatement:
"Such a letter was not to be soon recovered from."
We're all still reeling from it as well!
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