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Written by Kay S
(2/26/2003 10:51 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Brother Edward the lucky one.., penned by Leif G-n
Leif, thanks for sharing all of these interesting details surrounding Edward’s pre-adoption relationship with the Knights. I hadn’t read, before, of the Knights involvement with Edward before the adoption. It is interesting to know that the Knights favored Edward
However, for the sake of a more interesting discussion, I’ll play devil’s advocate. :-)
Perhaps Edward’s adoption was a more unsympathetic ordeal, a cold businesslike transaction? Somewhere I saw a painting of George Austen presenting his son Edward to Mr. Knight, while Mrs. Knight and another lady sit playing a game at a table, not troubling themselves to interrupt their game. To our modern eyes at least, this painting portrays the adoption in an unsympathetic light. Furthermore, we may look to Jane’s writings for clues of how she may have regarded adoptions of children by wealthy relatives. Fanny Price’s unhappy ordeal comes to mind, although Frank Churchill’s situation seems to be more of a parallel to Edward Austen Knight’s. Frank may seem to be a fortunate fellow, but JA makes either Emma or her sister Isabella – sorry I don’t have a book with me here – remark that there is something fundamentally ‘unnatural’ about giving up one’s children to adoption. Could JA have been thinking of her brother’s adoption when writing Frank’s and Fanny’s stories?
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