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Written by Barbara
(9/19/2009 6:30 p.m.)
Columella refers to a book by Richard Graves published in 1779: Columella, or the Distressed Anchoret
Here is a link to the book in Google books:
The allusion refers to how Columella, who had also studied at Oxford like Edward, was raised to be idle in the way Edward was, tried to avoid the same fate for his sons by engaging them in variety of professions.
Here are a couple of sample quotes from the book:
But when a young person, after having been prepared by a liberal education, and a long and regular course of studies, for some ingenious profession, and qualified to be useful in the world in some eminent station; when such a one retires, in the vigour of life, through mere indolence and love of ease, and spends his days in solitude and inactivity...such a one, I say, not only robs the community of an useful member in a more elevated sphere; but probably lays the foundation of his own infelicity.
It's easy to see how the allusion applies to Edward's situation, and I had always thought his answer to Mrs. Dashwood that his sons will be brought up to be as unlike himself as possible was still referring to that--keeping them busy and not allowing them to be idle.
This time, however, I thought that perhaps his comment was Edward speculating on what children of his might end up like with Lucy Steele as their mother?
I would imagine they would be unlike Edward 'in feeling, in action, in condition, in everything', for the mother`s influence could not be discounted.
Do you think this is what he was thinking about here?
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