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Dear friends and readers,

If you've been reading this blog, you will know that on Janeites and Austen-l the question was asked, what (if any) influence do any or all of the Austen films have on our reading of Austen's books. I think they do influence the people who read the books too, and they give license to all sorts of popular readings today which are not in the books. Some of these readings are fascinating and brings out elements in Austen only adumbrated.   A film which enrichens, explains and interprets an Austen novel brilliantly and is an effective movie in its own right is Nick Dear's 1995 Persuasion, directed by Roger Michell

Here is a touching still from the 1995 Persuasion:



We see Amanda Root as Anne Elliot gently kiss Sophie Thompson as Mary, see Mary brighten up and begin to behave better and Anne herself get more cheerful as she is needed, respected to some extent and is cheering her sister.

For the opening scenes of this movie until this scene Amanda Root as Anne Elliot is desperate and miserable amid her Elliot family in the great house. She stumbles, sits to the back, becomes near going into an open fit of crying when her father talks disdainfully of the curate Wentworth, looks terrible.

She tries to reach Susan Fleetwood as Lady Russell in separate scene, but we see that although Lady Russell loves Anne and means well, she is somewhat dense (like Austens' character). She is is oblivious to Anne's present misery and state; and when asked by Anne to discuss what happened 8 years ago, she refuses to go into it and will only say it was not prudent to marry this man and not address the state of Anne today. Her idea is Anne should go to Bath and that will help. We are led to think how inadequate this is to this depressed woman's state, and from the previous scene realize she may be among the same people who are largely responsible for her present dejection and wretched state.


A still which shows Susan Fleetwood as Lady Bertram does not want to look at what she's wrought (Anne's solitary life), nor can she.

Anne then goes by a miserable cart to Uppercross -- as Elizabeth tells her no one will want you at Bath. No one will pay for a carriage for her.


Anne in her animal cart -- there is so much to carry you see.

Let me suggest this is the first anti-heritage film. Wright was not the first to present the poor conditions of most people including lower gentry in the UK when they came into contact with the lower orders (which Austen did) at this time.  Indeed you may find it in Poldark; but there it is limited to the abysmally poor.  Dear and Michell were the first to break this habit of presenting these earlier people as spic-and-span clean, their hair ludicrously perfect, their clothes as if they had emerged from a supercleaners, their houses those of people having 70,000 pounds (Chatsworth income) a year rather than 900.

Anne finds Mary is wretched too, partly because she is selfish, petty, narrow, stupid, nonetheless we are to feel for her as neglected by her husband (because she is) and needing Anne. We see Mary's malice is most of the time (not all -- and we see when she hurts Anne hard) harmless. Anne begins to feel somewhat better. She is needed, useful. She picks up toys, she helps her sister begin to get out of bed, and her sister makes one of her stupid remarks which are harmless and Anne laughs. Anne kisses Mary and for a moment Mary is softened and grateful. This is the first uncertain step (and Anna sometimes is again hit hard and falls back) towards health and then an experience of fulfillment. 

My discovery is this movie is about a depressed heroine who gradually gets better over the course of the 2 hours. This is the real trajectory or story of this film, and it's very well done.  This is what we see.  You have to be subtle and watch slowly for nuances yourself to get all this. If you do though it could influence your reading of Persuasion, deepen it.

Equally we watch an analogous process experienced by Captain Wentworth (Ciarhan Hinds).  He is (as it were) stranded among people who are not as perceptive and sensitive as he (thus his speech about Benwick in the novel is about himself).  He is lonely and seeking a true congenial partner.  (The 2008 Persuasion by Shergold, Burke, and Snodin understanding this took it further and made Wentworth depressed too, anxious; not here, here the norm of filmic projected manliness still holds sway; Hinds was chosen precisely because he is so sturdy, large, proud looking.)  What happens if you watch slowly is that from the first moment Wentworth sees Anne, he is watching her, he is as nervous as she and trying to reach her, staring at her directly at moments:



He needed to get away inthe year 06

but she seem incapable of making intelligible eye-contact or acknowledging she understands:


She just looks gravely and enigmatically at him.

The first new obstacle beween them is Mary's having come home from a shooting Anne did not go to (staying home with Mary's child).  There (in the film)  he said she was so changed.  (In the movie this is in the house).   It's said maliciously by Mary in the book too.  At the dinner in the film that night we can see that he didn't mean it to hurt.  He moves off the piano because he cannot bear to take a place she wants; she is mortified by the attention.  When you watch the movie still-by-still, rather like when one close reads a poem, you see that he was intensely in love with Anne still, but had long denied this to help me cope.  If you do, you see that Wentworth tries to catch and watched Anne's eye from the moment he enters the cottage, and then goes on to the dinner, as that's the high time of this group.

A real problem in this movie is nowhere is it made explicit or even clear that Wentworth and Anne had an affair 8 years ago; it's not until well in Lyme we realize it. I know this from having gone with someone who had not read it.  (The 2008 Persuasion rectifies this.)  Then the film-makers are afraid of their audience: they want to mend again a problem in Austen with her characterization of Wentworth. It's not as bad as in the P&P case; Wentworth is not arrogant and cold and his character not out of kilter with what we see all along, but we are not given enough to be sure of what his attitude was -- he does say in the final chapter he now realizes he loved her all along and that he never meant to lead Louisa along; that's why he fled when she fell and became prostrate. It gave him his opportunity.

I feel this movie is trying to enact this hard thing:at the long dinner sequence Wentworth is looking for her approval, wanting her, watching her unconsciously and hurting her too without realizing it.  I'm now studying the film to watch this process.

It's accompanied by a brilliant use of water imagery and music intended to make us feel we are watching a subjective experience -- in this film it's Anne's we are in, and Wentworth we watch from the outside. In the 2007 Persuasion we have two subjectivities intertwined.





The dinner at which Anne and Wentworth first meet for a lengthy time in the same room is in the 2007 Persuasion film too, only it falls away, vanishes and we are left with the two's inner life staring at one another in front of us.  Whether this is quite what Austen intended we cannot say for the novel is unfinished.  It does make sense of the novel.

The core idea of the free adaptation Lake House, that the two people are creating a world of meeting that never happened, nor could, its utter subjectivity and wish fulfilment would then be a further development of the 1995 insight by Dear. I love the one of the two on benches trying to reach one another, but that's obvious (and we find them sitting side-by-side several times); what I noticed recently was a break in realism where we suddenly have a vision of ice-skate dancers; I've learned this realm of sport-art is one where what's on offer continually between pairs is dreams of love and the insertion of these shots si a kind of pointer to that and Austen's book:



Kate (our Anne character) is played by Sandra Bullock and Alex Wyler Keenu Reeves, and now I realize they were first together in Speed and feel there's an intertexuality here, and it's reinforced (if not deliberately) by the re-making of Speed in the free adaptation of S&S, I Have Found It, by Manohar (the Edward character).

Of course the movies can also lead those who read the books to misread them -- transpositions, commentaries and analogies all do this. However, misreadings are defended all the time nowadays. I'll write about this in another blog soon.

July 19, 2010:   more thoughts on quoted poetry in movie

When we reach Lyme in an emphatic scene between Benwick and Anne on the Cobb there are two sets of lines of poetry quoted in the film.  Neither is quoted in Persuasion: Austen's Persuasion alludes to several poems, including one of Charlotte Smith's sonnets about no spring (or renewal) coming again to people, Byron (several, including possibly the Corsair and through that Dante), Scott, but all that is cited are Marmion and the Giaour.

Dear has Benwick and Anne spontaneously bring out together some lines from Scott's Lady of the Lake (Canto 2, Stanza 22)

Like the dew on the mountain,
      Like the foam on the river,
      Like the bubble on the fountain,
      Thou art gone, and forever!
 
This can be taken in numerous ways, but it is about death, and how death is not being there, vanishing.  The book is about lost youth (even if compensated for by its ending), aging characters, and literal death (Lady Elliot) as well as the possibility any time the Captain could be lost at sea. He almost was he says. We have the crippled ailig Harville, the dead Phoebe (shepherdess name). Benwick is citing is presumably to express his grief over the death of Phoebe Harville and also that he did not marry her in time.

The other is more curious and interesting to me. I suggest by quoting a stanza from Byron's Fare thee well, Dear is suggesting that his reading of the novel and what we are seeing in this film is from the get-go of Wentworth's arrival, Wentworth is still longing for Anne and Anne for him.  This differs from Austen's book for in Austen's book Wentworth says he didn't realize it. As played by Hinds and directed by Michell, Wentworth is trying to reach Anne from the time of the dinner party, intensely watching her during that walk (why he sees how weary and even distraught she is), but she cannot respond or does not until several days at Lyme pass.  Coleridge's epigraph (printed with the poem by Byron) are particularly appropriate too:   "to be wroth with one we love/Doth work like madness in the brain" -- I suggest Nick Dear sees Wentworth's incensed response at Anne's obedience to Lady Russell coming out of half-crazed anger, why else not try to reach her in 8 years?  The second stanza (standing "aloof, the scars remaining/the hollow heart from paining ...") are about them both.

The poem itself is (I think) autobiographical on Byron's part, about leaving his half-sister Augusta. 

Byron's Fare Thee Well


                         "Alas! they had been friends in youth:
                         But whispering tongues can poison truth;
                         And constancy lives in realms above;
                         And life is thorny; and youth is vain;
                         And to be wroth with one we love,
                         Doth work like madness in the brain;
                                   ________
                         But never either found another
                         To free the hollow heart from paining -
                         They stood aloof, the scars remaining.
                         Like cliffs which had been rent asunder;
                         A dreary sea now flows between,
                         But neither heat, nor frost, nor thunder,
                         Shall wholly do away, I ween,
                         The marks of that which once hath been."
                                   Coleridge, Christabel
 

                         Fare thee well! and if for ever,
                             Still for ever, fare thee well:
                         Even though unforgiving, never
                             'Gainst thee shall my heart rebel.

                         Would that breast were bared before thee
                             Where thy head so oft hath lain,
                         While that placid sleep came o'er thee
                             Which thou ne'er canst know again:

                         Would that breast, by thee glanced over,
                             Every inmost thought could show!
                         Then thou wouldst at last discover
                             'Twas not well to spurn it so.

                         Though the world for this commend thee -
                             Though it smile upon the blow,
                         Even its praise must offend thee,
                             Founded on another's woe:

                         Though my many faults defaced me,
                             Could no other arm be found,
                         Than the one which once embraced me,
                             To inflict a cureless wound?

                         Yet, oh yet, thyself deceive not;
                             Love may sink by slow decay,
                         But by sudden wrench, believe not
                             Hearts can thus be torn away:

                         Still thine own its life retaineth,
                             Still must mine, though bleeding, beat;
                         And the undying thought which paineth
                             Is - that we no more may meet.

                         These are words of deeper sorrow
                             Than the wail above the dead;
                         Both shall live, but every morrow
                             Wake us from a widowed bed.

                         And when thou wouldst solace gather,
                             When our child's first accents flow,
                         Wilt thou teach her to say "Father!"
                             Though his care she must forego?

                         When her little hands shall press thee,
                             When her lip to thine is pressed,
                         Think of him whose prayer shall bless thee,
                             Think of him thy love had blessed!

                         Should her lineaments resemble
                             Those thou never more may'st see,
                         Then thy heart will softly tremble
                             With a pulse yet true to me.

                         All my faults perchance thou knowest,
                             All my madness none can know;
                         All my hopes, where'er thou goest,
                             Wither, yet with thee they go.

                         Every feeling hath been shaken;
                             Pride, which not a world could bow,
                         Bows to thee - by thee forsaken,
                             Even my soul forsakes me now:

                         But 'tis done - all words are idle -
                             Words from me are vainer still;
                         But the thoughts we cannot bridle
                             Force their way without the will.

                         Fare thee well! thus disunited,
                             Torn from every nearer tie.
                         Seared in heart, and lone, and blighted,
                             More than this I scarce can die.

Why Anne's mood changes in the movie I don't know as yet:  perhaps it's being freed from the awful family long enough, having Mary at a distance, and finding herself in congenial company for the first time in a long time. (She cares not how poor the Harvilles are.

Ellen

Ellen

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
misssylviadrake
Jul. 13th, 2010 07:13 pm (UTC)
From Marilyn Marshall on Austen-l:

"Ellen, I wholeheartedly agree with your interpretation of the 1995 Persuasion. Nick Dear’s screenplay exhibits a great understanding of the novel and manages to further enhance Austen’s work through visual elements, particularly with water imagery.

The first shot in the film is an underwater view of Admiral Croft's boat, accompanied by appropriate underwater sounds -- I think the underwater sounds start just before the underwater scene is revealed to us. It is the sort of compressed gurgling sound you would hear if you were fully immersed. The first time I watched the movie, I spontaneously thought, "Anne is drowning."

This first impression was so indelible that I can't watch the movie without thinking that it is entirely about a woman who is drowning in loneliness and who needs someone to pull her out of the water.

Perhaps you've noticed that there are three shots above the title: an underwater view of a boat, a view of Admiral Croft being rowed in said boat to a ship, and Mrs. Clay and her father riding hurriedly in a carriage. My interpretation of the choice of these three shots is that these are the driving catalysts to the movie's action. Anne is drowning in sorrow, the war is ended and freeing Admiral Croft (and his ilk) to return to England, and Mrs. Clay and her father are hurrying towards the Eliot household to assist in the retrenchment and provide an opportunity for Mrs. Clay to join the Eliots in Bath.

This is part and parcel to the great subtlety of the film. What uninformed viewer would be able to get any meaning from these three shots? The movie continues to unfold the plot in a subtle way. Although there are veiled references to Anne's involvement with Captain Wentworth, only a very sharp elf would be able to pick them up in a meaningful way.

Someone who is very familiar with the book might pick up on these subtle clues immediately -- or, as a work of art, the movie's complexities invite the viewer to return again and again for deeper understanding.

Marilyn"
misssylviadrake
Jul. 14th, 2010 11:58 am (UTC)
The 95/07 Persuasion movies; male attitudes towards women in Austen's NA and Persuasion
In reply to Marilyn,

Thank you very much for this reply. What I've been looking at is how the movie itself works or communicates through archetypal and basic patterns, human behaviors (we are to simply see and understand -- as when Lady Russell and Anne sit together at Kellynch and Lady Russell does not look at Anne and after a while Anne turns away for it's no use to try to reach this woman). This is not how books communicate. Then also how the movie brings out and connects elements in the book left unconnected. It falls apart at the very end, partly because the book too suddenly collapses -- not that the penultimate chapter is not beautiful, but it's hurried, tacked on and then the curtain drawn down.

There was no more time; she was sickening apace and her death near.

I've been reading an interesting book -- it has useful insights into Austen, good utterances -- by William Deresiiewicz. In the way of these scholarly books in order to bring out what he labels romantic attitudes in the books he has to "find" supposedly new or different information and he opts for arguing that Austen knew and was influenced by a small group of romantic male poets. The evidence, such as we have it, actually runs counter to this (in the letters and books Austen shows a lack of sympathy for Wordsworth &c). The attitudes he finds are equally in a larger range of poets and writers from mid-century and you can find them in Pope, but still what this licenses him to talk about in the books is so humane and moving.

So, for example, to respond to Marilyn's points, Deresiewicz says of Persuasion, it is "to a great extent, a novel about homelessness and the effort to create a home away from home." Yes, and we see this from the get-go in both recent Persuasions. The latter one (2008) has this desperate fantasy of rebuying the mansion, and the former is not quite true to the book as at its end we do not see Anne aboard a ship, but anxious on shore -- the way Mrs Crofts said she was during the one time the Admiral did not take her with him.

The 1995 movie also brings out Wentworth's reluctance to admit the continual company of women or that they are equal to him in strength and competence. The famous dialogue with Harville also begins with the naval man asserting that men have deeper feelings ("as our bodies are the strongest, so are our feelings") so Anne has to defend women. Her modest complaint (really an explanation for her own depresions) men are luckier in that they are given more to do so their feelings do not prey upon is not allowed by Harville ("Granting your assertion that the world does all this so soon for men, (which, however, I do not think I shall grant"). She denies this eloquently, and yet (if we read the words and pay attention) he is not convinced, and Wentworth's cough (he has taken what is said personally, understood it so and perhaps it was so ment) and the talk breaks off.

What do you make of this, Marilyn? There is a similarly quiet vein (more witty but the meaning as quietly ominous) against women in some of Tilney's remarks in NA. I take the NA we have to be in time and quality a sister-book to Persuasion. (Another reason Deresiewicz is off is the last two books are not Emma and Persuasion, but the to Austen unsatisfactory NA and truncated Persuasion.) And both books have these dead mothers overtly bullied and mistreated by General Tilney, and utterly unappreciated by Sir Walter Elliot (soul-withering man).

I am suggesting the movie is trying to make something of this in the long dinner party and trying to show that Captain Wentworth changes his mind at the final orgasm (it's tacked on the seascape at the close) but that the book won't support it as it is. Nor NA.

Ellen

misssylviadrake
Jul. 20th, 2010 11:17 am (UTC)
From Derrick Leigh on Janeites:

"Those are delightful poetic quotes from the 1995 Persuasion. The Coleridge seems especially apt, and the line "but neither heat, nor frost, nor thunder" feels like it alludes to the famous lines from Cymbeline on the death of Cloten. Death is a form of separation, and being parted from the one we love is also a painful loss.

Derrick
misssylviadrake
Aug. 1st, 2010 05:11 pm (UTC)
Moives provide rich vein
From Marilyn Marshall:

"You’ve hit a very rich vein of meaning in Austen. Persuasion is
suffused with the stark differences between men’s and women’s lives and the sad separateness from the outside world that vital women must have felt – eventually vocalized in Anne’s conversation with Captain Harville by the window. The book constantly reminds one of Anne’s predicament. In her time, a woman couldn’t afford to make a mistake, either through a bad choice in marriage or turning away a likely suitor. She was stuck in whatever male dominated situation she was in.

With Anne, it meant having to endure her family – and eternally regret the bad decision that kept her there.

I’m not sure what to make of Deresliewicz saying “to a great extent,
a novel about homelessness and the effort to create a home away from home”, having not read the book. My vision (from the 1995 film) of Anne submerged in the murky depths waiting for Wentworth to plunge his hand into the water and pull her out doesn’t quite mesh with this image of homelessness. Her dilemma is existential. ”She was sickening apace and her death near.” Did you say that or
were you quoting someone? My heart is sick for her. If she can’t go to Wentworth, she has nowhere to go but death. The rest is too unspeakably depressing and pointless.

The end of the 2008 film disgusted me. It trivialized everything
that Anne and Wentworth had endured. They are an admirable couple because their aspirations go beyond class or convention. Anne’s gravest sin was allowing the conventional mores of her tribe overshadow her recognition of Wentworth’s worthiness as a mate. They were a pair who could pursue a shared personal ideal that was not based on status or social toadying, two things that are greatly
mocked in the book. To reward them with Kellynch Hall and the implied thumbing of noses at her father made no sense and displayed a tone-deaf reading of Austen’s book.

How to convey all of this elegantly is the problem, and you are hot
on the trail of how it was done in the 1995 film by revealing the parallel story of the subtle body language that reveals the deeper emotional drama. I remember that scene with Lady Russell and Anne’s shrinking into herself. I plan to watch the movie again soon (if I remember to pack it, I can watch it on my laptop) and keep your thoughts in mind, paying particular attention to the dinner party
and the final orgasm. ;>)

I’m afraid I’ve been occasionally guilty of the prejudice that films
are simply picture versions of books and not paying enough attention to their creative underpinnings. Nick Dear and David Auburn have both wrested so much emotional meaning from Austen and your writings have been so insightful that I have a renewed respect for the medium.

Marilyn"

misssylviadrake
Aug. 1st, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC)
Sutdying Movement Images (1)
The thing seems to me to study what Deleuze called the movement images not the over story or characters which stay on the level of large archetypes. Like books, movies try to appeal to different audiences. On that same blog more recently I backtracked and said I had been partly wrong about the 1995 P&P: it's not Oedipal and just as strongly -- maybe more strongly -- centered on the two sisters, if you study the movement images:

http://misssylviadrake.livejournal.com/25951.html

Studying them also brings out what I find a number of people have said to me about the film: how wonderful is Susannah Harker's performances. You can see that only if you are (so to speak) watching not against the grain but in another spirit.

Movies are moving pictures.

I've carried on with the 1995 Persuasion, only much slower now and am just coming to the end. My feeling is that Nick Dear and David Auburn recognized the problem in Austen's text: it's not finished. The last part suddenly has Amanda Root trying desperately to reach Captain Wentworth, at last aware from his speeches (at Milsom's, again at that concert, a man does not get over such an attachment) he loves her, but it's too quick, and the implication from the scene with Lady Russell that again terrible anguish and near loss of one another was going to happen (on that Tuesday night the play was originally going to be seen) must be shown too swiftly. They do their best with the one scene, but they don't have enough.

Similarly, I've been watching the actress playing Mrs Clay. Talk about abject body gestures. Felicity Dean is almost craven. She's bent, she's continually shrinking in to herself, she doesn't know where to look; she alone shows sympathy for Anna in that Milsom's shop, and there are precious few seconds showing her intense disappointment she doesn't get to be with Mr Elliot on the walk, and the scene witness by Mary from the window is charged with her need and his pretense or response.

I feel the blackening of Mr Elliot is too black and we were going to learn something of what was put into the 1995 Persuasion: he's broke, he needs money and Mrs Smith's story was a skewed one. This reminds me of how Wickham had more to say for himself than our present versio of P&P allows -- and now the 1995 and 2005 P&Ps try for this (though the 2005 P&P rightly in my view shows him already sick of Lydia, and inclined to be rough with her).

The 1995 P&P and Persuasion films are transposition; they mean to stick tot he text; that's their problem so to speak. They want to do more.

I'll continue this in a second part.

Ellen

misssylviadrake
Aug. 1st, 2010 05:37 pm (UTC)
Studying Movement Images (2)
I like the 2007 Persuasion because I see it as a commentary, a deliberate departure which (in brief) has the man as abject as the woman (loving Anne from the start still too, and more aware of it). It's a film for our post-feminist age. The final conclusion of return to that house is a painful image: she is willing to be blindfold. I think the movie-makers meant us to recoil -- or some of us. It's a study of neurotic depression and abjection.

Interstingly both the 2007 and 1995 films cannot do without that Lady Russell-Wentworth clash scene from the cancelled chapters. I suggest they would have been worked in later, in a third volume.

I critiqued the 2005 P&P not because it was a commentary but on the grounds of what it is: a mish-mash, but it too can be "read" by movement images and then you can see it as part of Wright's work on landscapes and visions. But you must drop Austen altogether, forget the text.

Not the 2007 Persuasion which is a commentary on it.

I recommmend Julianne Pidduck's brilliant books, Contemprary Constume Film - she studies these films from the point of view of movement-images. She has also a great article on S&S and Persuasion -- which she cites in the book.

As to the theme of homelessness v existential: it depends on what level you cut in on. You can be more local. And Anne is homeless, familyless as Persuasion starts, or like to be.

I'm glad to respond because it keeps my mind active on these matters and helps me bring thoughts together about the 1995 Persuasion. I want to do a thorough study of both the 2009 Lost in Austen and the 2009 Emma by the way. I like both in totally different ways: both are Austen films, one a self-reflexive witty free adaptation and the other a return to the transpositions of the 70s and 80s in themes except that now we have these brilliant computer techniques and have learned about Austen by the intervening films.

Scorcese and Jay Cocks in their screenplay of Age of Innocence do something so wondeful no one else does; they have an essay where they say their sources; turns out these are films far more than age of Innocence. So I feel the 2009 Emma is also sources in previous Austen films as much as the 2009 Lost in Austen.

E.M.
misssylviadrake
Aug. 3rd, 2010 10:36 pm (UTC)
The meaning of the film lies in its pace
The way in which one set of images replaces another is slow and gentle and not much happens in each. The biggest moments are intangible: two characters looking at one another and reading one another's faces, slowly hearing one another's words, indirectly telling one another of how they feel, until the final getting together prompted by Harville, and then downstairs in the streets. It's a hard film to capture as the depths of this book is hard to fathom.

I'm struck by how easy it was for Austen to truncate her book. She does not seem suddenly to crowd incidents together in the way of Smith. Her technique is to have few incidents and draw them out and this gets ever more prominent in the last published Emma, and this one of the two unpublished, unlike NA a revision of an earlier book.

Ellen
misssylviadrake
Aug. 8th, 2010 02:47 am (UTC)
Homelessness
From Marilyn Marshall:

Ellen writes: "As to the theme of homelessness v existential: it depends on what level you cut in on. You can be more local. And Anne is homeless, familyless as Persuasion starts, or like to be."

When you think of it, everyone in Persuasion is homeless. The Eliots have spent themselves out of Kellynch Hall and are in exile in Bath. All of the Navy men are homeless, as are their long-suffering families; think of Mrs. Croft's story about her lonely winter in lodgings in Deal. Mr. Eliot is looking for a place to land. Mrs. Clay seems to be between homes. Mrs. Smith is in lodgings. Ann is unwelcome at home. Everyone is gadding about.

Jane Austen knew homelessness very well, so perhaps this is her way to share her anxiety and discomfort of not having a place to hang her hat and maintain a productive writing life.
misssylviadrake
Aug. 8th, 2010 02:56 am (UTC)
Did you see where I made a continuation blog: 1995 Dear/Michell Persuasion: poetry, music, pace:

http://misssylviadrake.livejournal.com/26670.html

The Austens had been wanderers since her father's death, and at Chawton Edward's claim to Godmersham and his inheritance was under real attack. He had to pay the people off to get them to go away (years later). Jane herself had no income coming to her; the allowance could be withdrawn at any time.

E.M.
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