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AUSTEN-L  February 2017, Week 1

AUSTEN-L February 2017, Week 1

Subject:

Tomboys - "She Grew Clean as She Grew Smart"

From:

Arnie Perlstein <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

AUSTEN-L Jane Austen List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 4 Feb 2017 11:14:53 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (92 lines)

Diana: "I think Arnie's done a good job of showing that what Jane
Austen is satirizing
is women who are "out of balance" in all sorts of ways. In the case  of Mrs.
Allen, it's the ultra-feminine she makes fun of."

Yes, exactly so -- I'd only amend your above to say "what JA is satirizing
is PEOPLE who are 'out of balance'" -- because she of course does exactly
the same thing with her male characters -- because she truly was a "studier
of character" -- and as great at it as the very very best, like
Shakespeare---- and gender is not the source of human folly, being human is.

Diana: "Which of Jane Austen's  females had the most masculine qualities as
adults? Probably Mrs. Croft is the  most "masculine" of all: we remember
how, when she and her husband formed "a  little knot of the navy," Mrs.
Croft looked "as  intelligent and keen as any of the officers around her."
Her intrepidity about  sailing with her husband is masculine too, and is
cleverly counterbalanced by  the silliness of the extremely feminine Mrs.
Musgrove, who doesn't understand a  thing Mrs. Croft is talking about."

I think Fiona Shaw was perfectly cast in the 1996 Persuasion -- this is a
woman who, like the Jane Austen of CEA's 1810 sketch, doesn't give a damn
about looking feminine --- which gets me wondering about that sketch by
James Stanier Clarke of a lady dressed to the hilt which some have
speculated was JA in early 1816 riding high on the publication of Emma -- I
would not at all be surprised at JA being a bit of a chameleon-- able to
move back and forth between the plain country woman and the elegant lady
moving easily among the ton. She certainly gave vivid life in print to
characters from both sides of the spectrum.

But I do object to your suggestion that Mrs. Musgrove doesn't understand a
thing --- our view of Mrs. Musgrove is distorted by Anne's dislike, which
in part arises (as I've written before) from Mrs. Musgrove's massive bulk
in the center of the sofa preventing Anne from getting close to Wentworth!
Like Mrs. Bennet and Lady Bertram, I think Mrs. Musgrove all have depths
which are not discerned by the heroine in their respective novels.


Diana: "In  this instance, then, Ellen is certainly right about Jane
Austen editorially
favoring the sensible more masculinized woman, and making contemptuous fun
of  the silly feminine one.  Mrs. Croft seems to exist mainly to point the
way  to one of the possible futures open to Anne; yet it's not easy to imagine
Anne  ever turning into an intrepid Mrs. Croft.  And in her creation of
Anne, Austen has made a very feminine heroine indeed, without an ounce of
masculinity..."

Agreed on all points.


Diana: "I've actually  written a piece about a famous tomboy, on the book
site I write for, Vulpes  Libris, and would be delighted if you'd all have
a look:
https://vulpeslibris.wordpress.com/2017/02/01/five-
claudine-novels-by-colette-2/
<https://vulpeslibris.wordpress.com/2017/02/01/five-claudine-novels-by-colett
e-2/>

Diana, I just read with rapt interest your remarkable essay about Colette
and the Claudine series, as to which I previously had known nothing at all,
thank you for that very fast education!

In 2015, I last summarized my take on Colette's Gigi's being midrash on the
pedophilic subtext of Emma (Knightley and his decidedly unheavenly interest
in little girls like Emma Woodhouse and Emma Knightley and Anna Weston)
here:

http://sharpelvessociety.blogspot.com/2015/11/pygmalions-pedophilic-progeny-mr.html

But I had never heard of Claudine, so I went back in my files and noted
that you and Sylwia had the following brief but relevant exchange in 2008:

Sylwia: Diana, I LOVE Colette. Wouldn't it to be fun to do an analysis of
Austen and Colette's heroines? There ARE some essays out there! OMG,
Claudine and Catherine Morland? But, you know what--Gigi and Marianne. Two
young girls who find love with older men--but first they have to come to
their senses.


Diana: If you ask me, Gigi herself is actually most like Catherine Morland.
She is young, simple, gentle, unformed. It is the difference between French
and English society, and of social milieu, that makes it Gigi's fate to
marry the older man who first offered to take her as his mistress, and for
Catherine to marry a clergyman!


Now you've prompted me to want to learn much more about Colette, and to
actually read some of her novels.


Cheers, ARNIE

@JaneAustenCode on Twitter

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