Sunday, 13 November 2011

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 173

I am always amazed at what one can find when looking into all things "Jane Austen". I picked a number at random and turned to that number in Deidre LeFay's book on Jane's Letters and then found it in Brabourne's edition here:

It turned out to be No. XI in the Brabourne Edition written from Steventon: on Sunday (November 25). Here is the section that struck my fancy:

We have got "
Fitz-Albini"; my father has bought it against my private wishes, for it does not quite satisfy my feelings that we should purchase the only one of Egerton's works of which his family are ashamed. That these scruples, however, do not at all interfere with my reading it, you will easily believe. We have neither of us yet finished the first volume. My father is disappointed -- I am not, for I expected nothing better. Never did any book carry more internal evidence of its author. Every sentiment is completely Egerton's. There is very little story, and what there is is told in a strange, unconnected way. There are many characters introduced, apparently merely to be delineated. We have not been able to recognise any of them hitherto, except Dr. and Mrs. Hey and Mr. Oxenden, who is not very tenderly treated.
We have got Boswell's "Tour to the Hebrides," and are to have his "Life of Johnson"; and, as some money will yet remain in Burdon's hands, it is to be laid out in the purchase of Cowper's works. This would please Mr. Clarke, could he know it.

I like to know as much as I can about an author so that I can understand what their influences were and what they are trying to tell me. So this mention of "Egerton" led me to Egerton Brydges who happens to be a brother to her friend and neighbor, Mrs. Lefroy of Deane. That is why she was probably so interested in reading his book. It is still available today and if I had nothing else to do, I would read it just for fun to see what I could see. What is interesting also is the fact that she recognizes some of the characters as people she knew which leads one to think that it was a common practice to use 'real' people as inspirations. I know that I have seen people in my life that are right out of Jane's novels. In other words, as I say, people have not changed in 200 years.

While investigating Egerton, I found that he had written a commentary about a poet, namely, William Collins! Now where have I heard that name before? Ha! My amazement never ends!
In the next part of my quote she mentions Boswell and Cowper, who also bear some looking into, just for comparisons. This may not appeal to everyone, but this is an avenue I like to travel when I read books.

Happy reading,
Linda the Librarian

Pic: Samuel Egerton Brydges from Wikipedia

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