Sunday, 6 November 2011

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 172

To me, Jane Austen is many things altogether. One of them: she is one of the very few authors whose writings still attracts me, despite her long, long (and I mean LONG) sentences. So, when I found this letter today, I cannot help but laughing, because the short sentences were so unlike her long style!

But rest assure, dear friends. This letter was written by our dearest Jane, dated Wednesday 15 – Thursday 16 September 1813, to Cassandra Austen (LeFaye 1997 edition). The bolded parts are my own.

I am going to write nothing but short sentences. There shall be two full stops in every line. Layton and Shear's is Bedford House. We mean to get there before breakfast if it's possible; for we feel more and more how much we have to do and how little time. This house looks very nice. It seems like Sloane Street moved here. I believe Henry is just rid of Sloane Street. – Fanny does not come, but I have Edward seated by me beginning a letter, which looks natural.

Henry has been suffering from the pain in the face which he has been subject to before. He caught cold at Matlock, and since his return has been paying a little for past pleasure. – It is nearly removed now – but he looks thin in the face – either from the pain or the fatigues of his tour, which must have been great.

Lady Robert is delighted with P. & P – and really was so, as I understand, before she knew who wrote it – for, of course, she knows now. – He told her with as much satisfaction as if it were my wish. He did not tell me this, but he told Fanny. And Mr. Hastings – I am quite delighted with what such a man writes about it. – Henry sent him the books after his return from Daylesford – but you will hear the letter too.

Let me be rational, and return to my two full stops.

I talked to Henry at the play last night. We were in a private box -- Mr. Spencer's -- which made it much more pleasant. The box is directly on the stage. One is infinitely less fatigued than in the common way….

You know, I also attended several other forums, some of them are fan-fiction forums. In one of them, we sometimes made ‘round-robin’ fanfictions where every fan-fiction writer must write just a single sentence before another writer resume the sentence, in the style and direction entirely theirs! So what I did was copying Jane Austen’s paragraph-length sentence and got pretty much what I wanted to say in a sentence! A paragraph-length sentence, that is.

She’s such a delight, Jane Austen!

Pic: Cassandra (Anna Maxwell Martin) reading a (heavily edited) letter from Jane (Anne Hathaway) in Becoming Jane 2007

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