Upcoming Persuasions: Sex, Money & Power

May 19, 2013 at 10:43 am (books, jane austen, jasna) (, , , , , , , )

JASNA has released the contents page of the upcoming issue of Persuasions, the Austen journal sent to members every spring. (For purchase, see their website.)

ball18The issue contains some papers given at the New York AGM last fall – the AGM entitled Sex, Money and Power in Jane Austen’s Fiction.

Can’t wait to read Elaine Bander’s “Why Elizabeth finally says ‘Yes!’.”

Mary Ann O’Farrell’s title, “Meditating much upon Forks” reminds me of the 1991 BBC production’s Mr Collins — who sat at table scrutinizing the Bennet silverware!

VERY interested in seeing Jocelyn Harris’ article on The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge — all the clergymen in my research seem to raise money for this society, certain the Rev. Richard Seymour mentions the society over and again. Usually, he called it by its initial SPCK — took me a while to figure out what it meant!

I chuckle to myself thinking of Willoughby as “a luxury good” – so Shannon Chamberlain’s article will have to be an early read.

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Willoughby’s Confession

August 30, 2010 at 8:55 pm (books) (, , , )

I was close to finishing Sense & Sensibility last evening, when I got stuck on the chapter comprising Willoughby’s ‘confession’. Rather than continue reading, I turned back and RE-read this chapter.

Am I the only one who thinks less of Willoughby after this chapter?

There are so many moments when I wonder if Austen actually meant this appearance to expiate Willoughby — or condemn him a bit further, thereby drawing a line for the credulity of Elinor.

For instance: Did Miss Grey really “dictate” Willoughby’s letter to Marianne? She could certainly play that card, but that’s a position of power for her. With her fortune, Miss Grey could have had her pick of men. There’s just something about her” jealousy,” as Willoughby tells of it, that doesn’t jibe.

What first got me thinking this way? Willoughby’s talking about all stories having two sides and how Elinor mustn’t think him rascal and Eliza saint — as he reminds her to beware who told her one side of this story, he then proceeds to tell her one side of his story. Are we meant to believe it?

Should readers juxtapose this chapter with the *comical* chapter where Brandon offers the Delaford living while Mrs Jennings thinks him offering Elinor his hand? That opens to interpretation the notion that What Willoughby Says may not be what Willoughby in truth is saying.

Frankly, I’m in total confusion…

After last night, I’ve become more like Mrs Dashwood: Ready to write him off as a scoundrel.

Why has Austen included this chapter? Are parts of it truth, and parts of it untruth? Is this confession supposed to point up the “say anything” part of Willoughby’s character? What did he hope to gain? Just to leave Marianne (and Elinor) with such good feelings towards him that she never could say ‘yes’ to the one man Willoughby dreads her marrying? What am I missing here?

Very frustrating at this moment, though I’ve enjoyed this reading of the novel even more than when I read it last (3 years ago).

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