Saturday, 30 January 2010


This afternoon will be the first date of our JA reading club. I 'll tell you something about it. Promised. Meanwhile, I've been leafing through and re-reading my old Italian copy of "Ragione e Sentimento" (S&S) to get ready. Not that I needed revising the plot but I've always discussed about it and read passages from it in English lately while  we'll have to do it in Italian today. So I just wanted to choose some excerpts to quote and put some coloured stickers to find them easily while speaking with the others. Again: I'm not going to give a lesson. I want to stimulate their comments but you know ... one must be ready, they expect me to be the expert! I hope there won't be any lady loving embarassing questions... I mean those kind zelous ones who want to be answered in any case and are  never satisfied. Have you ever met one?
Anyhow, I'm sure my mates in this adventure will be all terrific! I still have to meet some of them and I'm so curious.
As for what I think of S&S and its characters and themes...maybe it is better to ponder what to say, I might frighten them. First it is better to listen to what they think and be ready to be ... polite... diplomatic... But I can say something here.

1. I definitely think Marianne is one of Austen's best written heroines. I love her as much as Emma. Elinor - and the narrator's perspective on her good sensical behavior - is not as convincing as Marianne. Not as involving as her. She's rather ...tepid as a heroine?

2. The male characters are indefinite, colourless. Especially Brandon and Edward. Jane didn't pay much effort at painting them. Willoughby is different. She spends so many pages to make Elinor and all of us re-think our negative opinion of him. In my copy and in my mind about 50 pages - the last ones - are especially meant to get to that purpose! What does darling (perverse?) Jane do after spending words and words to make us all understand Willoughby's reasons? She invites the reader not to believe he will leave the rest of his life in sorrow. And gives us a wink!I love perfidious Jane and ... Willoughby, of course!

3. Where is in the book the moving final scene in which Elinor discovers Edward is not  married followed by his fervent / honest proposal? Nowhere! But we have seen it in several film versions ! No trace of any romantic event between those two in Jane's prose! She, Elinor,  escapes from the room crying for joy as soon as she realizes he is free and he , Edward,  after  sitting still  stunned and perplexed for a while, leaves and goes back to the village!
As always, Jane Austen endings are rushed and very little convincing. Never romantic! But she is a genius in making  people think she wrote love stories!

4. And what about Marianne final and sudden love for Brandon? Jane never says anything about it. She says 19-year old Marianne felt  deep esteem and friendship for him! And in the paragraph describing Marianne's decision to marry (poor old) Brandon she is bitterly ironic! Go, re-read it.

5. Our time's problem respect to things Austenesque is that very few people ACTUALLY read her novels. Most of them  think Jane Austen is ... what they see in films and Tv series based on her novels. NOT AT ALL!!!  One gets everything  wrong and never knows Jane Austen's genius and real mind.
Mind you, I love watching adaptations of her novels, even when they differ from the original but ... I am happy to know that is NOT what Jane Austen wrote. That's it!

Wish me good luck!
Till very soon.

P. S. Final 5 answers to the questions I posted !

1/21 Whom does Mrs Ferrars intend her son, Edward, to marry, and how much is the young lady worth? Miss Morton, the daughter of Lord Morton. She is worth £30,000—the second most valuable such property in Sense and Sensibility, after Willoughby's Miss Grey.

1 /22 Who is the taller child, William Middleton or Harry Dashwood? William, although only Elinor is brave enough to say so among all the toadies in the ladies' withdrawing room.

1/23 How, when she visits him at Cleveland, does Elinor find Mr Thomas Palmer changed? He is polite.

1/24 What are Willoughby ‘ s last words to Elinor? 'God bless you!'

1/25 What is the only fly in the ointment for Edward and Elinor in the vicarageat Delaford? There is not enough good pasturage for their cows

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