Friday, 1 August 2008

Jane Austen Quote of the Week- Week Fifteen

I have been thinking about this one as a quote of the week for a while but I wasnt sure. On reflection, however, I think it is highly significant.

In Persuasion, Anne Elliot is contemplating her trip to Lyme which although enjoyed, caused her much 'anxiety and distress'; she says:

"One does not love a place the less for having suffered in it, unless it has been all suffering, nothing but suffering."

- Anne Elliot, Persuasion, Chapter 20

Although in this context it is perhaps not particularly significant but if you think about Janes life journey, it is. Jane moved with her parents and her sister, Cassandra, to Bath in 1801 and all reports suggest that she disliked it here intensely. Her beloved father died in 1805 and this was a very tough time for her.

I think that this is represented throughout her novels; note that her heroines are all very fond of the country life, e.g. Elinor Dashwood, Anne Elliot.

Characters that are intended to be particularly unwise show a fondness of Bath; Mrs Allen in Northanger Abbey proclaims "Bath is a charming place, sir." when discussing muslins with Mr Tilney.

Persuasion was the last completed novel written by Jane Austen so I sincerely believe that with this life experience, this quote is significant for how she felt about the city she had to live in for four years of her life. Note that there are no surviving letters written by Jane from 27 May 1801 and 14 September 1804. In 1799 Tom Lefroy married Mary Paul and in late 1800 he visited Ashe with his father. With this so close to the move to Bath in 1801, was there any wonder that Jane disliked the city so much...........?

1 comment:

Icha said...

Such an interesting quote, Rachel, thanks a lot. And yes, I agree that Jane disliked Bath, or at least had an ambivalent feeling about it, for I beleive it was in Bath also, in November 1797, that she met Tom Lefroy again and had some lovely moments too (explained and poured in Northanger Abbey through Catharine Morland's eyes).

And I love, love, love Persuasion 2007! I think it was a serious contender for Becoming Jane for the JA Center contest.