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Jane-a-Day: The 5 Year Journal, by Potter Style

A review by Laurel Ann Nattress This charming journal completely missed my radar when it was released last November. Not surprising, really. Who would know from the title listed online that it was inspired by Jane Austen? The actual cover is more helpful; it has a subtitle, 365 Witticisms by Jane Austen, that was unfortunately omitted in the online listings. Janeites will also recognize her silhouette in the cover design, but the uninitiated will be clueless. Honestly, Jane-a-Day could be for any famous Jane, like: Jane Eyre, Jane Marple or Calamity Jane! Regardless of this miss by publisher Potter Style, who have brought us a slew of beautiful Austen ephemera like: Jane Austen Puzzle: 500-Piece Puzzle, Jane Austen Mini Journal and Jane Austen Notecards, this is a gem that Janeites should be made aware of. This classy new 5 year diary has a lot of pluses in its favor to make up for the title flub. Here is the publishers blurb from the back: Let the wit and wisdom of Jane Austen guide you throughout the next five years. Each journal page features a memorable quote from the iconic author’s oeuvre that can be revisited each year. Created to help you make a time capsule of your thoughts, simply turn to today’s date and take a few moments to comment on the quote. When you finish the year, move on to the next section. As the years go by, you’ll notice how your commentary evolves. Of course the best thing, (more…)
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Time flies by in Sense and Sensibility

There is a curious lacuna in Jane Austen studies one would have thought had been filled long ago. No-one has as yet drawn out and explained the chronology of Sense and Sensibility. From Austen’s other five novels scholars have educed detailed calendars most of her readers have accepted as really in Austen’s novels because these have explained hitherto puzzling elements in her novels. Only Sense and Sensibility has been left out.1 There has been one brief attempt to draw out the chronology of Sense and Sensibility, Patricia Craddock’s “The Almanac of Sense and Sensibility.”2 Craddock did not carry her project through consistently or thoroughly. Throughout most of her essay she remains undecided between wide-ranging pairs of years (1794- 95, 1797-98, 1800-1, and 1805-6). When, at the end of her piece, she suddenly dates the Easter of the novel as 31 March, as this date enables her to suggest the calendar of Sense and Sensibility as we now have it was based on a 1792-93 almanac, she ignores the fact that the dates we have for the Juvenilia are precisely these and that the Juvenilia are the work of a much younger mind.3She also does not cite Austen’s sister, Cassandra’s memorandum, in which, if Cassandra is somewhat vague about the date of an earlier version of the book, she nonetheless most decisively said: “I am sure something of the same story & characters had been written earlier & called Elinor and Marianne,” and that the Sense and Sensibility we have is a text “begun Nov. 1797.”4 More importantly–for the whole (more…)
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Persuasive Dates

WentworthsGo directly to the Persuasion Calendar The calendar supporting Persuasion reveals that the novel is in a heavily unfinished state; that the book was supposed to have the same kind of underlying hidden ironic story that we were to find out only at the close of a third volume. Since Anne did not have an opportunity to tell Lady Russell the truth about Mr Elliot, we were to have a Tuesday of intense mortification and reversal for both Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth (either at a card party organized by Lady Russell, or a gathering at a performance of a play bought by Charles for a Tuesday evening in Bath). We were to learn that Mrs Clay and Mr Elliot had a longer-standing relationship than Mrs Smith knows. As it stands, Anne Elliot says more than once that Mr Elliot’s conduct does not make sense. We were to learn more about why he happened upon the party at Lyme, and why he looked so at her. We were to discover what was in the package he was delivering for Mrs Clay in Bath; why she made such a point of wanting to walk with him; where he went; what they were conferring over near the White Hart when spied by Mary Musgrove. As to the movement in time, it is inconsistent somewhat in the manner of Mansfield Park. Until Anne arrives in Bath time is often indeterminate. Once she arrives, one finds a time-line which is as exquisitely traced as (more…)
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A Calendar for Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice

Click Here to go directly to the calendar.
This calendar, drawn from the extant text of Pride & Prejudice,
demonstrates that the novel went through a number of revisions.
The 1796-97 First Impressions was a far more
leisurely affair with many more conversations between
Darcy and Elizabeth, with something of the pace of
Mansfield Park, and of the didactic outlining of
conversations at the close of the extant Sense
and Sensibility
which recall those of
Rasselas and periodical fiction of the period.
It was probably epistolary, and the journey into Derbyshire
reveals “lopping and chopping”. Continue reading A Calendar for Pride and Prejudice

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A Calendar for Emma

Click Here to go directly to the calendar.

Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma Woodhouse.Emma “works”somewhat differently from Austen’s other realistic prose narratives. Austen still exploits the differences between psychological and calendar time to pace her book and our response to it, and she paces the events of the book in a closely intertwined way with detailed references that move back and forth in time; she still introduces but one new turn at a time. However, in this book she pays attention to seasons as well as the artificial calendar, she plays hidden games with the reader, and at turn in the narrative time is allowed to seem to float free (although a study of all the references to time shows that Austen is still using her almanac to attach narratives consistently to one another across hundreds of pages. Continue reading A Calendar for Emma

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A Jane Austen Event Calendar

As a result of a careful scrutiny of the calendars in Austen’s novels during which I constructed an Austen event calendar for each as part of an on-going study of her use of letters in all her novels in order to shed light on the possible origins of P&PS&S, and even in part MPas epistolary narrative I have come across a curious and repeating pattern.

With the exception of Northanger Abbey, Austen pointedly makes certain similar kinds of pivotal events in her longer finished novels occur on a Tuesday. These events often include a snubbing or humiliation of the heroine or hero (or anti-hero or co-heroine) as a significant part of the event, and they lead to denouements or climaxes. In most of these one does not have to work out that the day is Tuesday; Austen tells you this more than once: Continue reading A Jane Austen Event Calendar