Sunday, 5 January 2014
This quote is to reply to a comment we received from Anonymous last week who questioned the authorship of Jane's novels. You may read his comment at the bottom of the post HERE. I did a search for the book title he wrote and found the description at Amazon HERE. Therefore the author of the comment is Nicholas Ennos.
I wish to state my own opinion on this subject even though I have not read his book. Please keep in mind that this is only an "opinion" because I have not read his book and I believe in hearing both sides of a "story". So here is "my side" which has not been thoroughly researched.
I have quoted the first paragraph in the letter from Sophia Sentiment in Issue No. 9 of James Austen's "The Loiterer" only 3 times since I have been doing these quotes. Hee hee. Here is a link to that issue: No. 9 published on March 28, 1789 when Jane was only 13 years old. And I am opinionated enough to think that Jane is guilty of writing that letter. So here it is again:
I write this to inform you that you are very much out of my good graces, and that, if you do not mend your manners, I shall soon drop your acquaintance. You must know, Sir, I am a great reader, and not to mention some hundred volumes of Novels and Plays, have, in the last two summers, actually got through all the entertaining papers of our most celebrated periodical writers, from the Tatler and Spectator to the Microcosm and the Olla Podrida. Indeed I love a periodical work beyond any thing, especially those in which one meets with a great many stories, and where the papers are not too long. I assure you my heart beat with joy when I first heard of your publication, which I immediately sent for, and have taken in ever since.
Mr. Ennos is concerned with Jane's limited amount of formal education. If memory serves me, her father was a tutor and had a library. As a younger daughter I can envision her spending her time perusing that library and being taught in some indirect manner by her father. Her older brothers were formally educated and I can imagine she picked up some 'pointers' from them also. We have to realize that there were no TVs to distract them, so time was available.
I have collected copies of those periodicals mentioned above, among other books of that era, and am amazed at what they did know. Up until then I thought those people were quite limited in their knowledge.
And as for the "fictitious love affair between Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy", I have my own feelings about that but I am not ready to expose myself yet with my suspicions. Briefly, I think the 'affair' has been overdone, but their feelings may have been held inside for their own reasons, and not as 'exposed' as all these modern authors like to exploit.
So, at present (before I have the chance to do deep research) I respectfully disagree with Mr. Ennos' ideas. And as we say, I won't be so foolish as to 'throw the baby (his book) out with the bath water.' I Thank You, Mr. Ennos for your comments. It keeps us on our toes to get the truth.
Yours with respect,
Linda the Librarian