Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Just for Fun Answers

Just for Fun: First Lines of Jane Austen

1. 'How often, in answer to my repeated intreaties that you would give my Daughter a regular detail of the Misfortunes and Adventures of your Life, have you said "No, my freind never will I comply with your request till I may be no longer in Danger of again experiencing such dreadful ones." '
This is the first line from Austen's Juvenilia, Love and Freindship. Juvenilia, written from 1787-93, was originally intended to be shared with her family and close friends.
Written in epistolary form as a series of letters, Love and Freindship is clearly a parody of romantic novels Austen read as a child.
Free ebook available from Project Gutenberg.
2. "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
This is the first line from Pride and Prejudice. It has been slated as perhaps one of the most famous opening lines from any nineteenth-century novel.

Jane's father offers an early version of the novel to a publisher in November of 1797, but the publisher declines to even look at the manuscript. It was finally published anonymously in January of 1813.

In her famously humorous novel, Jane writes of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet's necessity of marrying off their five daughters so that they don't lose their home to a distant cousin in the case of Mr. Bennet's untimely death.
Free ebook available from Project Gutenberg.
Source: Comprehensive web showing the relationships between the main characters in Pride and Prejudice

3. "No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine."
This is the first line from Austen's Northanger Abbey. She chose the family home in Bath as the setting for both Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.  Jane sold Northanger to a publisher in the spring of 1803, but he chose not to publish it. It was eventually published (along with Persuasion) posthumously in late 1818, thanks to her brother Henry. He bought the novel back from the publisher that Jane sold it to in 1803 (for the same price that Jane was paid). The combined edition includes a "Biographical Notice of the Author" written by Henry that identifies Jane Austen as the author of her novels for the first time.

Northanger Abbey follows seventeen year old, Catherine Morland, one of ten kids of a country clergyman. She loves to read Gothic novels, and Ann Radcliff's Mysteries of Udolpho is her favorite.  Catherine is invited by neighbors, the Allens, to visit Bath and partake in the winter season of balls, theater, etc. While there she meets some new friends, including the Tilney's who invite her to stay with them at their estate, Northanger Abbey.

Free ebook available from Project Gutenberg.
4. "The family of Dashwood had long been settled in Sussex. Their estate was large, and their residence was at Norland Park, in the centre of their property, where, for many generations, they had lived in so respectable a manner as to engage the general good opinion of their surrounding acquaintance."

From Jane's Sense and Sensiblity. It was published anonymously (by A Lady) in October of 1811. Only her close family members knew that she was the author. That is, until after her death when her brother outed her.

This is the story of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, sisters who respectively represent the "sense" and "sensibility" of the title. With their mother, their sister Margaret, and their stepbrother John, they make up the Dashwood family. Henry Dashwood, their father, has just died. Norland Park, his estate, is inherited by John; to his chagrin, Henry has nothing but ten thousand pounds to leave to his wife and daughters. On his deathbed, he urges John to provide for them and John promises that he will do so. He is already wealthy because he has a fortune from his mother and is also married to the wealthy Fanny Ferrars. Immediately after Henry's burial, the insensitive Mrs. Dashwood moves into Norland Park and cleverly persuades John not to make any provision for his stepmother and stepsisters. Mrs. Henry Dashwood, disliking Fanny, wants to leave Norland Park at once, but Elinor prudently restrains her until they can find a house within their means.

Free ebook available from Project Gutenberg.
5. "About thirty years ago Miss Maria Ward, of Huntingdon, with only seven thousand pounds, had the good luck to captivate Sir Thomas Bertram, of Mansfield Park, in the county of Northampton, and to be thereby raised to the rank of a baronet's lady, with all the comforts and consequences of an handsome house and large income."
So begins Austen's Mansfield Park which was published in May of 1814.

Taken from the poverty of her parents' home, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with only her cousin Edmund as an ally. When Fanny's uncle is absent in Antigua, Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in the neighbourhood, bringing with them London glamour and a reckless taste for flirtation. As her female cousins vie for Henry's attention, and even Edmund falls for Mary's dazzling charms, only Fanny remains doubtful about the Crawfords' influence and finds herself more isolated than ever.

Free ebook available from Project Gutenberg.
6. "Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her."
This is the first line of Austen's novel, Emma. It was published in December of 1815 and dedicated to the Prince Regent.Although Sandition was presented as a choice, it is an unfinished novel.

Beautiful, clever, rich - and single - Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected.

Free ebook available from Project Gutenberg.
7. "Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynch Hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage; there he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed one; there his faculties were roused into admiration and respect, by contemplating the limited remnant of the earliest patents; there any unwelcome sensations, arising from domestic affairs changed naturally into pity and contempt as he turned over the almost endless creations of the last century; and there, if every other leaf were powerless, he could read his own history with an interest which never failed."
This is the beginning of Persuasion which Jane finished in August of 1816, but as I mentioned above, was not published until after her death.

Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen's most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne's family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?

Free ebook available from Project Gutenberg.
8.  "MY DEAR BROTHER,—I can no longer refuse myself the pleasure of profiting by your kind invitation when we last parted of spending some weeks with you at Churchhill, and, therefore, if quite convenient to you and Mrs. Vernon to receive me at present, I shall hope within a few days to be introduced to a sister whom I have so long desired to be acquainted with."
And finally, this is the beginning of Jane Austen's wickedest tale, Lady Susan. It is a piece of short fiction possibly written 1794 but not published until 1871.

Lady Susan describes the schemes of the main character - the widowed Lady Susan Vernon - as she seeks a new husband for herself and one for her daughter. Lady Susan is a selfish, attractive woman, who tries to trap the best possible husband while maintaining a relationship with a married man. She subverts all the standards of the romantic novel: she has an active role, she's not only beautiful but intelligent and witty, and her suitors are significantly younger than she is.

Free ebook available from Project Gutenberg.

How many did you know? How many of Austen's works have you read?

Thanks for coming by. Have a great day.

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