'How pleasant it is to spend an evening in this way! I declare that after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.' No one made any reply. She then yawned again, threw aside her book, and cast her eyes round the room in quest of some amusement. — from Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (1775-1817)
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December 26, 2015

Re-reading, noticing



I have {finally} been 'most deedily occupied' {it was entirely necessarily for me to use that phrase at least once} with Emma.   This is a re-reading for me, several times over, though not recently, and although this isn't a very new or profound observation, it's reminding me that there is definitely something to be said for how very readable our Jane is.

I think {though I'm not positive} that I read Emma for the first time after seeing at least one of the movies, maybe more, so even then there weren't any spoilers, plot-wise. And there certainly aren't any this time, though in a way that's a good thing.  Knowing what's going to happen, and when, really does let you skim over that facet of reading, and discover things you hadn't noticed before. As I said, not new or profound....

But happily true. :)  This morning, there I was, in Volume II, Chapter 10, where everyone is gathered in the Bates' parlor to see the new pianoforte.  Frank Churchill is fixing Mrs. Bates' spectacles, and being a creep and a cad. Emma is mortified, but enjoying all of this too much. Miss Bates is being 'talking,' Jane is stunned by the gift, and replying reluctantly to Frank's taunts about Colonel Campbell, with 'forced  calmness,'  and then there's this:

      Emma wished he would be less pointed, yet could not help being amused, and when on glancing her eye toward Jane Fairfax she caught the remains of a smile, when she saw that with all the deep blush of consciousness, there had been a smile of secret delight, she had less scruple in that amusement, and much less compunction with respect to her. — This amiable, upright, perfect Jane Fairfax was apparently cherishing very reprehensible feelings.
That last line is just delicious in itself. And this is all a clue, though I'm sure I missed it the first two or three times around.  I feel less compunction with myself, though, because Emma misses it too.

I hope everyone had a merry Christmas and that the holiday feeling is lingering.:)   It feels slightly more December-y here {a foggy Christmas eve, without a coat, was just weird} and I'm looking forward to our winter break and lots of reading.



5 comments:

Claire (The Captive Reader) said...

I was dipping into Emma earlier this week too and being reminded of just how perfect it is - and how much there is to discover anew on every reading! Happy reading on your winter break!

Lisa said...

What I particularly enjoyed last time I read Emma was tracking Frank Churchill through the story, and watching him hoodwink Emma (as he hoodwinked me the first time I read it).

I hope you have a lovely break! Do you have books lined up, or will you read by whim?

Audrey said...

A little of both! Finishing Emma, then a library book or two or three, and then whim, if there's any time left (usually, I oversestimate!)

JoAnn said...

Now that I've finally finished Emma, I can look forward to the joys of rereading!

Frances said...

That is a delicious line but knowing all that was to happen, I still had a vague sense of dread. I appreciate the craftsmanship (craftswomanship?) but it will never be my favorite Austen. Some call this a mystery but it feels like an uncomfortable lack of self awareness to me each time I read it. :)

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