The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik

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January 29, 2013

On January 29th, however...

On January 29th, however, nothing could be thought of but Pride and Prejudice. Jane had received a set from Mr. Egerton, and wrote to Cassandra: 'I want to tell you that I have got my own darling child from London.' Henry had been entrusted to despatch the others, and wrote to say he had given one to Charles and sent another by coach to Godmersham. ... She wrote to beg Henry to send her the remaining two so that she could despatch them to James and Mary, and to Frank at Portsmouth; but Henry had left town for a day or two, so delay was unavoidable; by Jane consoled herself by saying to Cassandra:  'For your sake I am as well pleased that it should be so, as it might be unpleasant for you to be in the neighborhood in the first burst of the business.' On the day of the volumes' arrival Miss Benn dined at the cottage, and Mrs. Austen, Martha and Jane told her they had got a new novel from town, of which they had heard before its publication, and had asked Henry to send them as soon as it came out. They suggested reading it aloud after dinner, and Miss Benn was all acquiescence. Mrs. Austen did the reading, and Jane thought Miss Benn was genuinely amused; 'she really does seem to admire Elizabeth.' Jane added with complete candour:  'I must confess that I think her as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print, and how I shall be able to tolerate those who do not like her at least, I do not know.'
from Jane Austen:  a biography, by Elizabeth Jenkins

{The painting -- so lovely! -- is An Interesting Story (1806),
by William Wood, found here.}


Cosy Books said...

Jane Austen AND Elizabeth Jenkins in one book, that's something special.

Visiting Jane's home in Chawton just over a year ago provides all sorts of daydream material while I perform mundane tasks.

Audrey said...

Hi, Darlene: I'd recommend it if you can find it (I was lucky that our library had a copy, but now I want one of my own). It's a wonderful mix of biography and commentary on the novels.
And that's what I'm doing this week, in a way - imagining Jane, exactly 200 years ago. :)

Lee-Anne said...

I've decided that I need to read more biography of Jane Austen. I've only read Carol Shields - this looks like an excellent next step! I enjoyed that quote. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

This does sound like a delightful read. And lucky me, I found a free ebook version of this! Now will be a good time to start dipping into it, I think. :)

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