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 12, 2020


Happy new year!  Before I start watching Sanditon tonight, I wanted to be sure to read (or, actually, re-read) Sanditon, because I was curious about what the TV version would go forward with our Jane's unfinished story.   There's so heartbreakingly little of her book (I just read that she was writing it when she was already ill, in the six months before she died), but it was very moving because what she did write seems so joyous.  Maybe that's because it's set in a sunny seaside resort, or because so many of the characters (except, possibly, Charlotte Heyward, our heroine, and Clara Brereton, the poor relation who is companion to wealthy Lady Denham), are a little larger than life:  Mr. Parker, Sanditon's promoter; his invalid siblings, his flashy brother, Sydney {was he going to be Willoughby/Wickham, or Darcy?  hard to tell}, twice-married Lady Denham (who seems like a more humorous version of Austen's other rich, controlling old ladies).  All the fragment does is to introduce the characters and set the stage for whatever was going to happen to them, but there seem to be endless possibilities in what to do with it, and I like to think that Austen would have taken some possibly snarky delight in that. 

 At the library, I found a continuation 'by another {unidentified} lady' that was written in 1975. I've read this before too, but it was a long time ago, but it would be fun to compare the two versions.  Nothing can compare with the real thing, but we have more Jane, and there's nothing sad about that.


JoAnn said...

Happy New Year, Audrey! I was also hoping to reread Sandition before watching but, unfortunately, it did not happen. In addition, I can't even watch it in real time tonight... have to pick my husband up at the airport. Sure hope it's available to stream tomorrow!

How are you doing with The Way We Live Now? I'm starting Chapter 38 and enjoying it very much... classic Trollope!

CLM said...

I really enjoyed the first two episodes on Sunday night, although read it so long ago I did not remember anything about it. I like your comment about how we don't know what she would have done with Sidney. He certainly looked the part! I would not have remembered his tiny (but important) role in Downton Abbey if someone hadn't pointed it out to me. Are you a Heyer fan? I can see him as Vidal in Devil's Cub!

Con in Boston

JaneGS said...

I started watching episode 1 last night, but fell asleep part way through it...never a good sign, but I liked what I saw. You’re right, Austen had little chance to do much more than introduce characters and establish setting. Such a tantalizing fragment.

Vintage Reading said...

Yes, I think Charlotte Heyward would have been one of Austen's great literary heroines if only she could have finished the book.

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