Thursday, July 23, 2015

Falstaff and Austin - Notes

 In a moment of atypical solemnness the lovable drunkard Falstaff asks,  “What is honour? A word. What is in that word honour? What is that honour? Air.” So sets one of the heavier themes of Henry IV, Part One.

Sense and Sensibility 

On every formal visit a child ought to be of the party, by way of provision for discourse. -- Chapter 6

Colonel Brandon, the friend of Sir John, seemed no more adapted by resemblance of manner to be his friend, than Lady Middleton was to be his wife, or Mrs. Jennings to be Lady Middleton's mother. He was silent and grave. His appearance however was not unpleasing, in spite of his being in the opinion of Marianne and Margaret an absolute old bachelor, for he was on the wrong side of five and thirty; but though his face was not handsome, his countenance was sensible, and his address was particularly gentlemanlike. -- chapter 7

Sir John was loud in his admiration at the end of every song, and as loud in his conversation with the others while every song lasted. Lady Middleton frequently called him to order, wondered how any one's attention could be diverted from music for a moment, and asked Marianne to sing a particular song which Marianne had just finished.

His pleasure in music, though it amounted not to that ecstatic delight which alone could sympathize with her own, was estimable when contrasted against the horrible insensibility of the others; and she was reasonable enough to allow that a man of five and thirty might well have outlived all acuteness of feeling and every exquisite power of enjoyment. She was perfectly disposed to make every allowance for the colonel's advanced state of life which humanity required.
 It would be an excellent match, for HE was rich, and SHE was handsome.

Lady Middleton was more agreeable than her mother only in being more silent.

Austen scholar Ros Ballaster argues that “while the great events and philosophical movements of history play themselves out around us, it is our own nature and actions, and the nature and actions of the people around us, that most influence our lives” (Ballaster).

Austen died at forty-two on July 18, 1817. During her life she jealously guarded her privacy, and after her death, her family destroyed or censored most of her letters. Her identity as an author was known to her family and a few close friends but she deliberately avoided the popularity that could have been hers. Critic Ronald Blythe argues that “literature, not the literary life, was always her intention” ( Austen protected her identity as jealously as Bruce Wayne protects Batman. Austen is a rare literary superhero. The December following Austen’s death, her brother Henry reveled to the world her role as author. Almost thirty years later historian Thomas Macaulay stated that Austen as a writer has, “approached nearest to the manner of the great master, Shakespeare” (Ballaster).

Sir Walter Scott said of Austen, “That young lady has a talent for describing the involvements and feelings and characters of ordinary life which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with" (Janeite Deb, @Sir Walter Scott on Austen—March 14, 1826, Jane Austen in Vermont, (