In the mailbox…

Finally, on Tuesday, PERSUASIONS (the annual journal of the Jane Austen Society of North America) hit the mailbox. And what a wonderful array of articles – with so many more online!

I’ve not had a lot of time, and definitely haven’t read the journal cover to cover, but a few interesting tidbits have already surfaced. On page 10, Marcia Huff alludes to 2006’s AGM (in Tucson), which of course was on Mansfield Park. In just a few sentences, she has made me reassess Fanny Price and her role in this novel. Living in Vermont, which has its corn crop and apple crop, as well as the celebrated maple-sugaring season, I was most intrigued to see how Shannon Campbell would ‘vindicate’ Jane Austen’s allusion to an apple orchard in blossom in July (for which Jane’s brother took her to task) — but what an entertaining article! It must, indeed, have been fascinating to work with the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale. And I personally am grateful to have some hints of where to look for meteorological information on London in 1814…

I met Alice Villaseñor in Winchester last summer, and was particularly interested to read about her finds at the Chawton House Library; she studied the contents of the Knight Collection, which is currently housed there; it formed part of the library of books owned by Jane’s brother, Edward Knight. I had a chuckle over the conclusions drawn by Phyllis Ferguson Bottomer – though I ask: must everyone be diagnosed with some syndrome nowadays??

One of the most noteworthy of the articles read so far has to be Douglas Murray and his routing out several ‘portraits’ of George, the Prince of Wales in the novel dedicated (reluctantly?) to him: Emma. Fascinating. And, very a propos to our June 22nd meeting: a persuasive article by Tenille Nowak on one of the ‘horrid novels’ in Northanger Abbey. Recommended reading for anyone planning to attend our meeting in a couple weeks.

I am in the middle of an eye-opening look at Mr Knightley written by Theresa Kenney. And next up, I think, must be Margie Burns‘ look at ‘George and Georgiana’, aka: Mr Wickham and Miss Darcy.

While I hesitate to toot my own horn (but who else will, if I don’t?), I do want to say that I hope readers find some interest in the courtship of Emma Smith and James-Edward Austen (Jane’s nephew), as well as Emma’s possible involvement, a la Emma Woodhouse, in the courtship of her own brother Sir Charles Joshua Smith and his second wife, Mary Gosling. The article is ‘Edward Austen’s Emma Reads Emma.’ I’ve just begun a blog of my own, relating to Emma and Mary, as I try to track down more diaries and letters of all the families involved (Emma and Mary both came from substantial families).

A full table of contents for Persuasions, vol. 29 (2007) is available online at JASNA. And don’t forget the offerings at Persuasions-Online, including the ‘new’ vol. 28, No. 2 issue: Global Jane Austen. There is also Barry Roth’s 2006 Jane Austen bibliography, if you’re looking for something new to read on JA.

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Also in the mailbox: a copy of Jane Odiwe‘s Lydia Bennet’s Story. Right now, Lydia has just hit the town of Brighton – and she seems to have an eye for a certain young man who is NOT Mr Wickham… It is fun to read the little hints of what has been going on in Pride and Prejudice (so I would say a knowledge of that book is useful), but Ms. Odiwe goes her own direction with this storyline and it can certainly be enjoyed on its own terms. Will post a full review of the book once it’s been read.