Saturday, October 13, 2012

Austen in August

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For the month of August hosted by, Roof Beam Reader, there is an exciting reading event , Austen In August. For the event I plan to read , Becoming Jane Austen, by Jon Spence. I am a late bloomer to Jane Austen and her novels which started in my early forties. My favorite novel is Mansfield Park. I have since read all her novels and many books concerning all things Jane. I am truly looking forward to this event hosted by Adam.

If any one faculty of our nature may be called more wonderful than the rest, I do think it is memory. There seems something more speaking incomprehensible in the powers, the failures, the inequalities of memory, than in any other of our intelligences. The memory is sometimes so retentive, so serviceable, so obedient; at others, so bewildered and so weak; and at others again, so tyrannical, so beyond control! We are, to be sure, a miracle every way; but our powers of recollecting and of forgetting do seem peculiarly past finding out.
~Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

written: August 2nd, 2012

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Becoming Jane Austen – Jon Spence

The history of Jane Austen and in particular the women within the family unit proves to capture the reader in the first chapter. I am gathering the plight of women throughout the family was very difficult, indeed. I also find Jane Austen’s ancestors strong in character and with a will for much more than survival.

As I read further I found many of her writing techniques are formed through family events both personal and social. The chapters continue to reach deeper into the young writer – the struggles of many children, very little money and a dependency of relying on the kindness of others.

I became very intrigued with the chapter entitled, Work. Within the chapters of ‘Mansfield Park’ the quandary of the female can be recognized through the character of ‘Fanny Price’. The typical opinion of most readers leans toward the character being a people pleaser, an appeaser. I disagree. Edmund visits his cousin Fanny in her room which was at one time the children’s nursery – the furniture was that of a child, much too small for Fanny, now a young woman. I feel it symbolizes her growth both physically and mentally. It can also be said perhaps she has matured past the family members who reside in other parts of the mansion, Mansfield Park.

page 193 – “Nothing is fixed and definite and paradoxically the appearance of everything being so heightens our sense that it is not.”

Through her novels we see a constant in the limited choices woman had which is a driving force through Jane Austen’s novels. I thoroughly enjoyed the depth of Jon Spence’s writing.

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