Saturday, 27 February 2010

No Reading Club Meeting Today

I'm so sorry I had to postpone our meeting today! I actually feel deeply sorry but my health has forced me to stay off and away for a while from all my outdoor activities and from work (that's not the worst thing though!) . We are going to meet next Saturday, then . 6th March . Same book (Northanger Abbey), same time, same place. I hope you can forgive me, girls.

Meanwhile, here are the anwers to other 10 of the questions ( 1/11 to 1/20) I posted.

I / I I Where are James and John students?
Oxford; we don't know the college. We do, however, know two colleges where they are not: Oriel and Christ Church. How? Because John Thorpe identifies his friend Freeman as being at the second, and Jackson at the first. Sam Fletcher, we may assume, is of the same college (whichever) as James and John.

1 / 1 2 In Bath, after the Thursday evening ball, Catherine is exultant: 'her spirits danced within her, as she danced in her chair all the way home. ' What chair is this?
 A 'Bath chair' or 'sedan chair', presumably. The sedan chair was carried on shafts by two chairmen. As the Encyclopaedia Britannica puts it, the Bath chair was a 'chair on wheels intended for use by ladies and invalids. It was devised by James Heath, about 1750. For the next three-quarters of a century it rivalled the sedan chair and ultimately superseded  it as a form of conveyance in Great Britain. The most common variety was supported on two wheels joined by an axle beneath the seat, with a small pivoting wheel in front.' Catherine, of course, is not an invalid.

1 / 1 3 What is Miss Tilney's first name?
We learn from an unguarded comment of Henry's that it is Eleanor (the name was wildly fashionable, from Gottfried Burger's much translated ballad about a lover who returns from the dead to reclaim his bride).

1 / 1 4 What aspect of Catherine's walk does General Tilney particularly admire?
Her 'elasticity'. The material 'elastic' was not, in fact, invented until 1823 and in 1798 the compliment would not have the odd associations it now carries. The implication here would be that Catherine's gait is springy, lithe, light-footed.

1 / 1 5 Where did Henry go to university?
Oxford. But he in no way resembles his fellow Oxonian, Thorpe.

1/16 What is Isabella Thorpe's family nickname?

1/17 What profession is James intended for?
The Church. Isabella may have been slightly self-deluded on this issue, expecting her future husband will be something grander than a country parson.

1/18 In what service is Frederick Tilney a captain?
The army. His regiment is the 12th Light Dragoons (that is, mounted infantry— they would use their horses until engaged in battle).

1/19 Is Captain Frederick the elder, or younger brother?

1/20 What was Northanger Abbey originally?
Once a richly endowed convent, it has belonged to ancestors of the Tilneys since the Dissolution (presumably through the female line, hence the initial on the old chest is not 'T'). Gothic in style (Austen applies the term to architecture, but never to fiction), the pile was partly modernized by General Tilney's father. In its modern
condition it requires scores of servants, gardeners, and grooms to keep it running. Hence, perhaps, its proprietor's avarice.
(stills from Northanger Abbey, ITV, 2007)

No comments: