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No Time to be Lost

Katherine Schlesinger and Peter Firth“I read this week’s chapters of Northanger Abbey with calendar in hand, looking for time references, and was shocked at how many times day, moment, minutes,-time words and references are made. I want to look at another Austen book to see if this is usual and I’m just noticing it for the first time. Did you notice the passage-and there were other references to clocks and watches,at the end of Chapter V ‘..when taking out his watch, he stopped short to pronounce it with surprise within twenty minutes of five. ……the strictest punctuality to the family hours would be expected at Northanger.'” Chapman, p 162 Judy Warner Go directly to the Northanger Abbey Calendar Minute time keeping is found in all Austen’s novels. It is particularly consistent throughout S&S, P&P, and most of NA. Since we have no reason to disbelieve Cassandra’s clear statement that full complete drafts of the above three novels were written one after another between 1796 and 1799, I would say that this keeping of time was one way Austen used to slow time down to allow for an even slower version of time to emerge in her texts: psychological time. She didn’t need to read Stephan Zweig’s oft-quoted statement about the biographer’s and novelist’s art which I quote here as it is so beautifully said and lucidly differentiates between psychological and diurnal time. To capture both is essential to the modern mature novelist’s art: “Only in semblance are the outward and inward seasons of a

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