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Persuasion > Chapters 14-16

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 26, 2014 02:49PM) (new)

Lady Russell and a removal to Bath

message 2: by Hana (last edited Nov 05, 2014 07:23AM) (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
I know that Jane Austen lived in Bath and knows the social status attached to all these addresses. Sir Walter has "a very good house in Camden Place, a lofty dignified situation...."

I quite enjoyed the Musgroves (Charles, Henrietta and Louisa's parents); the Christmas scene (Ch. 14) at their house with the younger children was so cheerful and a great contrast to Anne's tiresome father and siblings.

message 3: by Hana (last edited Nov 05, 2014 07:23AM) (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
Ch. 15 What a contrast the Musgroves made with Anne's reaction to Bath and her father and sister Elizabeth's new home: “Anne entered it with a sinking heart, anticipating an imprisonment of many months, and anxiously saying to herself, "Oh! when shall I leave you again?”

message 4: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 69 comments Mary amuses me. She's busy in Lyme and has no time for her nerves. I love/hate Mary. She's so awful to her sister and while Charles is a nice guy, he's teasing his wife. He finds it amusing that Benwick doesn't pay any attention to Mary but is more interested in Anne instead. Lady Russell's reaction is curious. 8 years ago she was dead set against Anne's interest in Frederick but now she's OK with Capt. Bennwick's possible interest in Anne without knowing anything about him.

About Bath, in case you haven't been there. A map of Georgian Bath I purchased shows Camden Place way on top of a hill up from the Abbey at no. 10 on the map 1995 movie places the Elliots closer to the city center. You can stay there. I wish I could afford it.

Camden Place is on the southeastern slope of Beacon Hill in the northern part of Bath. "While Austen does not reveal Sir Walter's precise address, but it is most certainly number 16, directly under the central pediment bearing Lord Camden's coat of arms." (Robert Morrison, editor) Looks can be decieving though because Camden Place was never finished due to landslides. Patricia Bruckman claims Camden Place does not relfect Sir Walter's superiority. The instability of the site, the pretentiousness of the buildings and their flawed, incomplete architecture locate him in a crumbling and isolated relic of the aristocracy. His house is located on sand which confirms his folly and his decline as a feudal patriarch. He is a failed landlord and failing to respond to change.

Laura Place is the most prestigous of all the locations mentioned in Bath. On the map it is no. 20. Lady Russell lodges at Rivers Street no. 29 on the map. Lansdowne Crescent is at no. 18 on the map. Marlborough Buildings is adjacent to the Royal Crescent at no. 22 on the map.

The viscountess is an Irish peer which signified she was on the fringes of acceptability.

Anne hates the pretentiousness of her father and sister. She's embarassed by them. I can see why she dislikes Bath. Today it's a beautiful, amazing little city but I can imagine the white stone buildings were smoky gray and the streets very dirty. The whole place sounds dingy and a bit on the seedy side from Anne's point-of-view. It was no longer the fashionable watering hole it once was.

What make you of Mr. Elliot?

message 5: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 102 comments I think of one word for Mr. Elliot: smooth.

message 6: by Hana (last edited Nov 10, 2014 11:46AM) (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
I just found this wonderful essay on addresses and locations in Persuasion, but because of spoilers it's only for those who have read the book!

One of the interesting points Keiko Parker makes in the essay is that Mr. Elliot is the only main character whose address in Bath is never specified. Parker clearly thinks that Jane Austen did this very deliberately.

message 7: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 69 comments I have photos of a lot of those locations. I'll post them when I'm done with the novel. I don't have pics of them all due to the weather and lack of energy. Jet leg and early mornings kept kicking my butt!

message 8: by Hana (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
Pictures are always fun! November is always a bit of a drag :(

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 70 comments I have not completed reading this section, so I have not read these posts that are already here. I expect to finish it today.

When I have a feeling about something that has not yet happened, I like to record it: I think that Mr. Elliot is going to offer for Anne and not Miss Elliot.

Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ | 108 comments Mod
Andrea (Catsos Person) wrote: "I have not completed reading this section, so I have not read these posts that are already here."

Probably a good idea. The spoiler tagging is a little haphazard. :)

message 11: by Mary (last edited Nov 11, 2014 08:31AM) (new)

Mary Catelli | 48 comments Andrea (Catsos Person) wrote: "When I have a feeling about something that has not yet happened, I like to record it: I think that Mr. Elliot is going to offer for Anne and not Miss Elliot. "

Read on, read on. (view spoiler)

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 70 comments @Qnpohbear

I'm glad you asked the question "what do we make Sir Walter?"

I will answer that JA has a rare gift for establishing a character as stupid, silly and contemptible without using any descriptive epithet-like words.

I also think that he is a hypocrite. He was offended by CWs offer for Anne, yet he and his favored daughter (she really is her father's girl!) are on intimate terms with his property manager's daughter!

He has very poor judgement to not see that intimacy with Mrs. Clay ONLY benefits Mrs, Clay and does he and Elizabeth no credit.

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 70 comments Oh dear! Qnpoohbear was asking about mr. Elliot and not Sir Walter!

I think that Mr. Elliot is "up to something." He seems to have ready responses for all of his past sins and may offer for Anne instead of Elizabeth.

message 14: by Hana (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
I think Mr. Elliot is "up to something", too! JA is very clever about raising our suspicions by putting them as doubts in Anne's mind. Ch.15:"she had the sensation of there being something more than immediately appeared in Mr. Elliot's be well received by them." We're already coming to trust her judgement and so we start to doubt him.

message 15: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 69 comments Anne thinks Mr. Elliot's manners are TOO polished. Unlike a certain person in P&P who exudes charm, Mr. Elliot is a little too... smarmy for Anne's taste. She prefers her men rough and raw around the edges. I think Austen is equating the overpolished manners of Mr. Elliot with the type of superficial society she abhorred.

message 16: by Marquise (new)

Marquise Not much to comment about the occurrences in this chapter batch on my part, but I'd like to make a couple of observations...

From comments I read here, seems like the first impulse on reading Sir Walter's attachment to socially-inferior Mrs Clay, and of Lady Russell's favourable approach towards Captain Benwick is to call them hypocrites given their past attitudes towards Wentworth's wooing of Anne. But whilst I can see the basis for such an interpretation is there, I am not so sure that this view is all there is to the matter.

I am thinking that this might be an evolution of attitudes, even a change, rather than a case of double standards. Why do I think that? Because in 8 years the circumstances have changed dramatically. Sir Walter is no longer a wealthy country baronet, and whilst he can still put on airs and be as superfluous/judgmental as ever, you can see he seems to have softened too, and Austen shows it quite subtly first in his manners. For example, Mr Elliot makes a remark on how well Sir Walter is looking despite his age, and you see that Sir Walter is polite enough to not make an impolitic reply in turn. In addition to that, he's been a widower for longer now, it's less close to his wife's demise than it was when Anne was being courted, and in that long period he'd have started to feel the need for a new woman to share his life with. Mrs Clay doesn't seem so unsuitable exactly if you look at her closely, and Anne and Lady Russell's disapproval is very obviously class-influenced, though at least Anne wants to find other reasons. Yet she's not immune to class bias as the rest of her family, it's just less blatant than in them partly due to her own past love of Frederick as well as her warmer interactions with people of lower status.

As for Lady Russell, I am thinking that perhaps she's also "softened" seeing how Anne is at present a spinster and very lonely. Could she be more willing to approve of a good suitor for her despite him not being of the adequate status? Because in the end, a respectable marriage is better than no marriage at all, and she genuinely loves Anne and it might pain her to see her like this. Also, there's the "not stumbling on the same stone twice" angle. This time, she's hearing good things about Benwick, and he's a Captain and can support a wife well, not a mere sailor of low rank as Wentworth was.

Besides the above, there's the literary irony technique at play here. Sir Walter rejected a lowborn suitor for his daughter and is now attached to a lowborn woman himself. Lady Russell discouraged Anne from attaching herself to a lowly naval chap, and is now looking favourably at a naval chap. That's coming full circle from the perspective of literary irony.

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 70 comments Marquise,

Your observations have all been outstanding!

You see so much that I miss! Such subtleties!

Since Sir Walter is older and poorer, more accepting of the Low-born Mrs. Clay, perhaps in that small mind of his he's wondering what will become of Elizabeth and Anne if he dies and they are yet unmarried?

Perhaps because of the changes in his character and in Lady Russell about tolerance for people of lower birth as you mentioned, Sir Walter might accept a naval captain as a husband for Anne?

I can't see Elizabeth changing to accept a naval captain if one were interested in her though, do you?

message 18: by Marquise (new)

Marquise Thank you, Andrea! I am having lots of fun with this buddy read. :)

Given that Sir Walter came to view Admiral Croft favourably and recognise the man's qualities despite his status and his profession, yes. I do believe he can come to accept a honourable Navy man for his daughter even if that weren't his notion of an ideal match. Aside that, I was also noting that he does have good manners and is in general quite polite and avoids offending people. His silly comments seem to be in private, within the family and their intimates; he's mindful of other people's feelings in social circumstances and wouldn't commit the sin of insulting people to their face like his daughter Mary does, and like Elizabeth does too. But Elizabeth definitely seems to be going down the route of her younger sister, and would likely not be so accepting. She was very rude to Wentworth in not acknowledging his presence, which I don't see even her father doing.

message 19: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 69 comments Marquise hold on to your observations! I'm not going to comment on them yet but you bring up many good points.

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