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"In music she had always used to feel alone in the world": Jane Austen, solitude, and the artistic woman.

[Anne] knew that when she played she was giving pleasure only to herself; but this was no new sensation: excepting one short period of her life, she had never, since the age of fourteen, never since the loss of her dear mother, known the happiness of being listened to, or encouraged by any just appreciation or real taste. In music she had been always used to feel alone in the world ...

Persuasion 47

Persuasion is, AT ITS HEART, the story of Anne Elliot's loneliness and its painfully delayed, gradual amelioration. Having lost her mother, her beloved Wentworth, and her fully trusting relationship with Lady Russell, Anne spends much of the novel bereft of true company, although she is rarely actually solitary, thanks to the demands of her variously sell-absorbed family. Her feeling "alone in the world" while making music is not a singular occurrence: the encouragement and appreciation she lacks at the piano bench has long been missing everywhere else in her life as well.

If Anne's piano-playing offers her, in the narrator's words, "no new sensation," and if it offers us no fresh insight into her emotional and psychological state, why does Austen call our attention to it at all? While Anne's music-making is visible on several occasions, especially when she accompanies dancing, it hardly seems central to her character or to the plot of the novel-- in contrast to Sense and Sensibility and Emma, in which Marianne Dashwood's and Jane Fairfax's respective attitudes towards music play pivotal roles. Austen does not, for instance, bookend this scene of Anne "giving pleasure only to herself" with another in which Captain Wentworth, after his reconciliation with her, sits and listens to her play, finally restoring the "happiness of being listened to" that she has so long lacked.

The full significance of Anne's piano-playing--and, indeed, of any Austen heroine's pursuit of the arts--becomes perceptible only when we move outside the boundaries of Austen's novels and consider their social and biographical context. (1) As I will demonstrate in the next section, the emotional benefits that music and other artistic activities could offer the solitary woman were frequently extolled in the conduct and education literature of Austen's day, even as these publications betrayed anxiety about the potential hazards of a woman's excessive devotion to her artistic "accomplishments." Austen, who had (as Jan Fergus argues (2)) aspired to publication since childhood and was also a lifelong musician, was in a unique position to comment on the rewards and risks of women's artistic practice. Her own careful balancing of these rewards and risks, as well as of privacy and sociability, can be seen in her habits of writing and music-making, reports and representations of which I will discuss in the middle section of this essay.

The influence on Austen's novels of the conduct literature's discourse on accomplishments, and of her own experience as a writer and musician, is rarely either straightforward or explicit. (3) In particular, we look in vain in her novels for heroines who manifest professional ambition, or who pursue literary composition. (4) As with so many themes and topics in her writing, too, what Austen does not say about her artistic women characters or represent them doing is often as revealing as what she does say and represent. For Anne Elliot, as for Marianne Dashwood and Jane Fairfax, the absence or loss of a creative outlet is as telling as its presence, especially when such deprivation coincides with--and, sometimes, is required by--the gratification of marriage. Austen's novels hint at but do not depict a kind of loneliness perhaps more profound than emotional isolation: that of the artistic woman who lacks access to a beloved pursuit.

OCCUPATIONS, AND TEMPTATIONS, FOR THE SOLITARY WOMAN

Critics of accomplishments in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries contended that these fashionable pursuits taught young women to seek praise through self-display rather than to cultivate virtues appropriate to wifehood and motherhood. In response to these attacks, proponents of accomplishments reasserted the supposed value of what Catherine Macaulay, in her 1790 Letters on Education, succinctly called "sources of elegant and innocent amusement" (39). Thomas Gisborne elaborated on this function in his 1799 Enquiry into the Duties of the Female Sex: the "real end and use" of accomplishments, he claimed, is "to supply hours of leisure with innocent and amusing occupations[,] ... to prevent languor and the snares of idleness, to render home attractive ... and to preserve the mind in a state of placid cheerfulness" (84). In other words, pursuits such as piano-playing and drawing provided a privileged young woman with a means of virtuously filling up the extra hours in her life at home, preventing her from craving any more dazzling diversions and protecting her against boredom or discontent. The latter effect presumably results from the young woman's interest in the activity itself: Gisborne does not explain exactly how playing or drawing promotes "placid cheerfulness."

Even those writers most critical of fashionable accomplishments agreed upon the benefits to a solitary woman of having recourse to absorbing pursuits that could be undertaken at home. Maria and Richard Lovell Edgeworth's Practical Education (1798), while it scathingly satirized the belief that an accomplished woman will "want neither beauty nor fortune to recommend her" on the marriage market, nevertheless asserted that "[e]very sedentary occupation must be valuable to those who are to lead sedentary lives ... every art, however trifling in itself, which enlivens and embellishes domestic life, must be advantageous, not only to the female sex, but to society in general" (378-79). Likewise, Mary Wollstonecraft, a notoriously outspoken critic of norms of feminine education, promoted in her Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) those studies that would render a woman "more independent of the casualties of life" and provide her with "new sources of enjoyment, only dependent on the solitary operations of the mind" (117).

While Wollstonecraft concerned herself particularly with the quality of unmarried women's lives, claiming that "a proper education, or to speak with more precision, a well-stored mind, would enable a woman to support a single life with dignity" (117), other writers specifically touted the advantages to a married woman of cultivating interests that could compensate for loneliness. Frances Byerly Parkes, for instance, imagined the situation of a wife with an absent husband and no children to "interest [her] feelings, and occupy [her] time and attention ... in such cases, her acquirements and information may be as companions to her, whiling away the hours of solitude, which would, otherwise, be spent in listlessness, indolence, and discontent" (320).

Beneficial as artistic pursuits might be to the lonely woman, conduct writers of this era made it plain that she was never to privilege these solitary activities over her obligation to run her household and entertain her guests. Some guides treated this behavior requirement as an etiquette problem, to be solved by spelling out which activities could properly continue in the presence of company. Parkes, for instance, suggested drawing, music, or needlework as pursuits for morning hours when visitors may drop in, because they "can easily be resumed after interruption" (319), and she stated that it would not be rude to persevere with needlework. The anonymous 1837 Etiquette for the Ladies concurred that "in receiving morning visitors, it is not necessary that a lady should lay aside her employment, especially ornamental needlework. Politeness, however, requires that music, drawing, or any occupation, which would completely engross the attention, be at once abandoned" (11).

More often, however, admonitions about the proper relation between private pursuits and social duties reveal a worry that women might devote too much time to the former, with possibly dire consequences. Priscilla Wakefield, for instance, specified in her 1798 Reflections on the Present Condition of the Female Sex that "music, dancing, dress, and works of fancy should be regarded as amusements, not occupations, and be restrained in proper subordination" (76). Jane West concurred in her didactic 1793 novel The Advantages of Education: Or, the History of Maria Williams, which has often been identified as a possible influence on Austen's Sense and Sensibility: "the knowledge [women] gain is superficial, to enliven leisure hours, not form their chief employment" (1: 33). Though Wakefield and West are deliberately vague about the consequences of inappropriate priorities, the double meanings of the terms they use--"occupations," "employment"--hint that women might view an artistic pursuit as a kind of work (whether remunerative or not) rather than as recreation. (5) More obvious is the concern that a woman who does not "restrain" her desires in "proper subordination," to borrow Wakefield's phrase, would not herself be suitably submissive as a daughter or wife.

Fears that women will not comply with accepted feminine roles are evident too in the conduct literature's conspicuous warnings against unusual proficiency in the arts. In her Essays on Various Subjects: Principally Designed for Young Ladies (1778), Hannah More asserted the distinction between the goals of young women's arts training and the training of professional performers and artists: "though well-bred young women should learn to dance, sing, recite, and draw, the end of a good education is not that they may become dancers, singers, players or painters: its real object is to make them good daughters, good wives, good mistresses, good members of society, and good christians" (57). Erasmus Darwin's 17.97 Plan for the Conduct of Female Education in Boarding Schools makes a comparable point: young women should play, in his view, "only so well as to amuse themselves and their friends, [rather] than in so eminent a degree as to astonish the public" (12). Both More's and Darwin's stipulations betray alarm that a woman might prefer to seek public recognition rather than domestic appreciation, or to imagine herself a professional performer rather than a dutiful daughter and wife.

Female authors of published conduct works themselves walked a fine line between participation in public discourse and proper femininity, a fine line that they did not openly acknowledge. Almost without exception, they presented themselves in the comparatively unthreatening guise of women advising the younger generation, an extension of the mother's role as educator of her daughters. Indeed, many a conduct book is framed in precisely these terms: Mrs. Anne Taylor's 1817 Correspondence between a Mother and Her Daughter at School, for instance, or A Mother's Advice to Her Absent Daughters (1761), by Lady Sarah Pennington. Though such titles are not provocative, and though the content of these works, as we have seen, cautions women against overstepping the boundaries of permissible behavior, the very existence of a lengthy manuscript suggests that its author did not work on it exclusively in her "leisure" hours. She might not, in other words, have followed her own advice that a woman's "chief employment" (to borrow Jane West's phrase) should be her family obligations. Any conduct manual or novel written by a woman and published under her name--or, as in Austen's case, under a pseudonym that revealed her gender--communicated in addition to its explicit advice the implicit message that women could write and aspire to publication.

NOT-QUITE-PRIVATE PLAYING AND WRITING: AUSTEN AT THE PIANO AND THE WRITING-DESK

The question of when a woman author got her writing done without either extensive time to herself or what Virginia Woolf famously called "a room of one's own" has long preoccupied Austen's readers and critics. Her relations' stories about how she did it, while not identical in every detail, all emphasize both Austen's circumspection about her writing and her very qualified privacy. Most famous is her nephew James-Edward Austen-Leigh's description of her as "careful that her occupation should not be suspected by servants, or visitors, or any persons beyond her own family party," writing on individual sheets with a blotter handy for concealment and relying on a creaking door to alert her to interruptions (102-103). In contrast, Marianne Knight's recollection that her aunt would jot down notes while sewing places Austen safely among her family members: "Aunt Jane would sit quietly working beside the fire in the library, saying nothing for a good while, and then would suddenly burst out laughing, jump up and run across the room to a table where pens and paper were lying, write something down, and then come back to the fire and go on quietly working as before" (qtd. in Austen-Leigh, Family Record 184). While Marianne's anecdote is more cheerful than James-Edward Austen-Leigh's--who would not rather imagine a laughing Austen than a furtive one?--each presents a woman making an effort to accommodate social and solitary pursuits. Caroline Austen, for her part, recalled that she often saw her aunt writing letters but never witnessed "any MS of that sort [a novel], in progress" (9).

We might expect that Austen found it easier to find time for her daily piano-playing than for her literary composition, given that music-making was considered both a fully appropriate activity for an unmarried woman and a source of proper domestic entertainment. According to Caroline Austen, however, the Austen family's lack of enthusiasm for music meant that Jane had to be as careful about finding time and space for her playing as for her writing. Caroline's description of her aunt's habits reveals the determination and planning that was necessary in order to preserve this private pleasure:
 Aunt Jane began her day with music--for which I conclude that
 she had a natural taste; as she thus kept it up--tho' she had no one
 to teach; was never induced (as I have heard) to play in company;
 and none of her family cared much for it. I suppose, that she might
 not trouble them, she chose her practising time before breakfast--
 when she could have the room to herself--She practised regularly
 every morning--She played very pretty tunes, I thought--and I
 liked to stand by and listen to them.... At 9 o'clock she made
 breakfast--that was her part of the household work. (6-7)


Caroline's decided emphasis on the solitariness of Austen's music-making is significant, for her aunt's playing, like that of Anne Elliot, fulfilled none of the customary functions of accomplishments: entertaining one's family, attracting the notice of suitors, diverting one's husband, or contributing to the education of one's offspring. Caroline offers no motive for Austen's consistent practicing aside from the pleasure her aunt thereby gave herself--and, on occasion, her young, attentive listener.

Caroline's testimony to her aunt's commitment to music as an adult is corroborated by both the extant collection of music books containing transcriptions notated by Austen herself and also the efforts she is known to have made to secure the use of a piano: in 1807, for instance, she spent 2.13 [pounds sterling] s.6d.--out of a year's total expenses of approximately 45 [pounds sterling]--on the rental of an instrument (Austen-Leigh, Family Record 145). Remembering how many years Austen spent writing and revising before seeing her first novel in print, we might also imagine that the daily experience of playing sustained her while she waited for some recognition of her literary efforts beyond her immediate family's appreciation. At the same time, knowing that her relatives did not enjoy her playing might well have increased her sense of artistic isolation.

Throughout her life, Austen's ability to devote herself to music and writing fluctuated according to where she was living, with whom, and the general health of the household. Had she married, she would likely have had less control over her time. Indeed, Deborah Kaplan has speculated that Austen ultimately rejected Harris Bigg-Wither's 1802 marriage proposal because she realized that married life would interfere with her writing (115-19). Austen's comment in an 1817 letter to Fanny Knight--"I shall hate you when your delicious play of Mind is all settled down into conjugal & maternal affections" (20-21 February)--is often taken as an indication of her view that marriage curtails a woman's creativity. Austen's remark is especially thought-provoking given that Fanny was, as Vivien Jones has recently explored, a prolific letter-writer and diarist whose interest in writing was well known to her aunt.

While Austen herself seems to have chosen creatively productive singlehood over the supposedly more fulfilling life of a married woman, in her fiction she satisfies both the conventions of literary comedy and the social expectations of her day by marrying each of her heroines to a suitable mate. Austen's characters never ask whether to marry, only whom, and she is for the most part very quiet about what compromises they make in becoming wives. Looking at what happens to these characters' artistic pursuits gives us a glimpse into what they give up, as well as what they gain, when they trade solitude for companionship.

FEELING ALONE IN THE WORLD--WITHOUT BEING ALONE IN THE ROOM

Many times, when Austen's characters feel isolated, they are in fact literally alone. Fanny Price in her cold bedroom at Mansfield Park comes to mind, or, more humorously, Catherine Morland left by herself to discover the laundry list in her room at Northanger Abbey. Often, however, Austen's characters endure profound isolation in the presence of others. In the passage from which I quoted at the beginning of this essay, for instance, Anne Elliot "feel[s] alone" while actually being surrounded by the Musgrove family.

When an artistic pursuit is involved, the distinction between actual aloneness and the feeling of being solitary is important, because it enables us to glimpse what Austen chooses not to show us about her heroines' experiences of the arts. Anyone who has ever learned to play a musical instrument or draw knows that doing so requires dedication and the ambition to succeed as well as interest and inclination. In Austen's novels, this dedication and ambition are invisible: she narrates no scenes in which her heroines, alone, apply themselves to their artistic pursuits. When we meet her heroines, they have already acquired their artistic and musical abilities, and we are left to assume that, for instance, Marianne Dashwood and Jane Fairfax must have put in substantial practicing time in order to play as well as they do, and that Elinor Dashwood probably received instruction in drawing and painting screens. (6) By depicting experiences of isolation alleviated (or not) by artistic endeavor, Austen keeps our attention focused on her heroines' ability to achieve the emotional benefits of the activities emphasized by conduct writers, instead of echoing those writers' alarms about the consequences of excessive dedication.

This effect is first noticeable in Sense and Sensibility, in which Marianne's music-making, an index of her rampant sensibility, transgresses proper social behavior but does not, to borrow Erasmus Darwin's phrase, "astonish the public" (12). Even at the best of times, Marianne would often rather be "wrapt up in her own music and her own thoughts" (145) than participate in conversation, a clear dereliction of the duty prescribed in the conduct literature. In Willoughby's absence, she wallows in music-making with even more abandon, spending "whole hours at the pianoforte alternately singing and crying" (83). Because Marianne seeks indulgence, not relief, in her orgy of singing and playing, that--not the "placid cheerfulness" touted by Thomas Gisborne (84)--is what she finds. (7)

Austen makes it clear, however, that Marianne is a gifted and enthusiastic musician when not in the grip of her emotions (35). Since these qualities immediately endear her to Colonel Brandon when he first hears her sing at the end of chapter seven, we might well expect Marianne to integrate music-making into her married life with him. Long before the wedding, however, Marianne has already become estranged from her pianoforte because of its agonizing reminders of Willoughby. Overwhelmed by the sight of an opera score given to her by him, she "shook her head, put the music aside, and after running over the keys for a minute complained of feebleness in her fingers, and closed the instrument again; declaring however with firmness as she did so, that she should in future practice much" (342). In spite of her resolution, Marianne never returns to the instrument in the remainder of the novel. So overpowering are music's associations with her former emotionalism and unwise first love, apparently, that she must cut herself off from it permanently. Austen leaves it to be inferred that Marianne's "new duties" and identity as a wife take up the time she once devoted to music, even as her "new attachments" compensate her for any pleasure lost (379).

Patrick Piggott notes that Austen, near the end of her life, abandoned work on Sanditon shortly after--as he deduces from her correspondence--she ceased her morning piano-playing. To him, "the moment when Jane Austen closed her instrument for the last time becomes ... a tragic symbol for the premature silencing of her all-too-short literary career" (30). Without stretching too far the parallel between the talented but immature Marianne and her author, we can read Austen's scene of Marianne shutting her pianoforte in a similar light, as indicating what she must leave behind in order to embark on marriage. Although Austen admits that Marianne's love for Brandon develops after, not before, their wedding--an unusual acknowledgment for her of the balance women must strike in marriage--she otherwise comments only on the advantages for Marianne of marrying him, not the costs.

Music-making, psychology, and emotion are as thoroughly entangled, and artistic self realization as deeply buried, for Emma's Jane Fairfax, who by all accounts exceeds Marianne in her musical gifts as well as her adherence to decorum. "Wrapt up," as Emma Woodhouse sees her, "in a cloak of politeness" and reserve (169), Jane is oppressed as well as pleased by the anonymous gift of a Broadwood pianoforte. Austen eventually reveals Jane's uncharacteristic breach of propriety, which the pianoforte threatens to expose, to be a secret engagement. Yet the instrument is also a substantial symbol of Jane's commitment to and reliance upon music-making, and it enables her to express herself musically as much and as often as she wishes, functions that hint at another, submerged narrative. What if Jane, the very embodiment of rectitude (at least in the absence of Frank Churchill's influence), were grappling with inappropriate musical desires as well as romantic ones?

Like Austen herself, Jane possesses uncommon gifts in a society that educates its privileged young women in the arts but condones neither remunerative work nor artistic achievement for gentlewomen. (8) Set apart by her artistry as well as by her uncomfortable consciousness of her secret engagement, she employs strategies of reticence and non-disclosure that strongly recall Austen's own concealment of her writing from visitors. In Jane's case, of course, no public acclamation or success results from her efforts. Her marriage to Frank Churchill, while it delivers her from the abhorred fate of the governess and supplies her with a steady--albeit selfish--duet partner, does not address her possible artistic longings (and provides her with a husband whose wayward character is only doubtfully reformed). Indeed, any speculation that Frank's present of the pianoforte indicates his support of Jane's musicianship must be balanced by Mr. Knightley's damning judgment of it as "the act of a very, very young man, one too young to consider whether the inconvenience of it might not very much exceed the pleasure" (446).

For much of Persuasion, Anne Elliot's music-making makes possible a socially acceptable level of emotional release--such as the excessively self-absorbed Marianne Dashwood never achieves--without opening up the difficult questions of fulfillment raised (in different ways) by Marianne's abandonment of the pianoforte and Jane Fairfax's uneasy embrace of it. Piano-playing, especially to accompany dancing, allows Anne to yield to her emotions in a kind of protective cocoon that affords her privacy without actual withdrawal: "though her eyes would sometimes fill with tears as she sat at the instrument, she was extremely glad to be employed, and desired nothing in return but to be unobserved" (71). Anne's playing does not completely insulate her from unwelcome thoughts, however. Since dance tunes do not require her whole attention, she is still capable of noticing, painfully, whom Captain Wentworth is partnering and how much he is enjoying himself (72).

While Anne's ultimate reconciliation with Wentworth certainly satisfies her emotionally, her marriage, like Marianne's, is not without cost. Austen at least represents Marianne taking leave of her instrument; Anne has not even this opportunity. Although her new life as a Navy wife is likely to be exhilarating and liberating in many ways, she will hardly be able to take a piano-an expensive, large, and barometrically temperamental instrument--with her when she accompanies Wentworth aboard ship. In addition to paying the "tax" of anxiety about war (252), it seems that she must also give up one of her chief delights. (9)

Anne's likely deprivation of music seems especially troublesome since she, unlike both Marianne and Jane Fairfax, has always adhered impeccably to propriety, even when doing so has required severe personal sacrifice. Anne's acquiescence to dismissing Wentworth as a suitor at Lady Russell's recommendation is the novel's major example of this character trait; a more minor one, in the realm of the arts, is her generosity in translating songs from the Italian for the benefit of her fellow concertgoers in II.viii rather than concentrating on the performance herself. Anne's willingness both to be of service to others when they notice her and to sustain herself through music-making when she is ignored distinguishes her decisively from her peevish, attention-seeking relations, especially her sister Elizabeth, whose ill humor Austen attributes in highly conventional terms to the "vacancies [of mind] which there were no habits of utility abroad, no talents or accomplishments for home, to occupy" (9). Indeed, it is Anne's very qualities of selflessness and self-sufficiency, which come to the fore in the novel's various family crises, that succeed in attracting Wentworth's notice. Why should faultless Anne, having long given "pleasure only to herself" (47) at the piano, neither finally share this pleasure with Wentworth nor continue to enjoy it herself?

Anne's joyful union with Wentworth--and the gratification that this marriage offers readers of Persuasion who long to see Anne appreciated at last--may make this question seem unimportant or beside the point. Accustomed by our novel-reading to accept that companionate marriage with a well-suited mate is an ultimately fulfilling fate for deserving heroines, we may feel that it is inappropriate or churlish to focus on what these characters trade for their happiness rather than on that happiness itself. If we do not attend to these compromises, however, we miss the essential message that Austen's life, her novels, and the conduct literature of her era have in common: that a Regency gentlewoman's existence was an act of delicate and difficult balance between personal pleasure and family duties, privacy and sociability. Artistic pursuits, whether piano-playing in the drawing-room or novel-writing for publication, offer a unique window onto the effort that went into maintaining that balance.

NOTES

(1.) Until recently, studies of Austen's treatment of the arts, notably Patrick Piggott's The Innocent Diversion, invoked little social context and tended to equate Austen's experience with her heroines'. In the last decade, Helene La Rue has traced the discourse about music and etiquette in which Austen participated; Ann Bermingham has read Austen's accomplished women, particularly her visual artists, in light of theories of consumption; Kathryn Shanks Libin has explored the role of music in Emma from a musicologist's perspective; and Mollie Sandock has studied the texts of music owned and played by Austen and her contemporaries.

(2.) Fergus contends that Austen's careful imitation of printing conventions in the recopied volumes of her juvenilia indicates that the young writer was thinking about publication: "creating something very like a printed book, but for family circulation, Austen was typically having it both ways: treating her writing both privately, as a family entertainment, and yet seriously, 'publishing' her own collected works" (52-53).

(3.) One notable exception is the debate about defining an accomplished woman that takes place in chapter eight of Pride and Prejudice, which both spoofs and comments on conduct writers' efforts to delimit accomplishment.

(4.) The filmmaker Patricia Rozema's amalgam of Fanny Price and Austen herself in her adaptation of Mansfield Park (1999) is a recent and conspicuous example of the effects of importing Austen's literary composition and her professional ambition into her novels. Many of Austen's heroines are, of course, prolific letter writers.

(5.) The dual implication of these terms is visible throughout the discourse on accomplishments, even in statements (such as the Edgeworths' and Gisborne's, quoted above) that fully support the activities.

(6.) An exception is the young Catherine Morland's unhappy experience of piano study, recounted in the first chapter of Northanger Abbey. Catherine, who was previously "very fond of tinkling the keys of the old forlorn spinnet," hates her formal lessons and is overjoyed when her mother allows her to abandon them (14).

(7.) As so often in Sense and Sensibility, Elinor's behavior contrasts completely with Marianne's and hews much more closely to the conduct-book ideal of balancing the emotional benefits of accomplishments with one's family obligations. In Edward Ferrars' absence, the narrator reports, Elinor "sat down to her drawing-table as soon as he was out of the house, busily employed herself the whole day, neither sought nor avoided the mention of his name, appeared to interest herself almost as much as ever in the general concerns of the family, and if, by this conduct, she did not lessen her own grief, it was at least prevented from unnecessary increase, and her mother and sisters were spared much solicitude on her account" (104).

(8.) Although Austen does not explicitly comment on Jane's level of ability, the sheet music that Jane possesses, particularly the Cramer work to which Frank Churchill calls attention, indicates a high level of proficiency, according to Kathryn Libin (18-19).

(9.) Kathryn Libin has recently informed me that her research into the contents of naval ships may shed new light on this question. She found that small, portable keyboard instruments, such as clavichords, were actually not uncommon shipboard possessions, a discovery that might well indicate that Anne Elliot could continue to play at least in some fashion while traveling with Wentworth. Austen, however, does not address this particular issue: she attempts to bridge the substantial gap between Anne's drawing-room existence and her life aboard ship primarily through Mrs. Croft's account of her contented life as a Navy wife, which represents the pleasure of conjugal companionship as powerful enough to overcome any discomfort, deprivation, or loneliness.

WORKS CITED

AUSTEN, CAROLINE. My Aunt Jane Austen: A Memoir. London: Jane Austen Society, 1952.

AUSTEN, JANE. ,lane Austen's Letters. Ed. Deirdre Le Faye. 3rd ed. Oxford: OUP, 1997.

--. The Novels of Jane Austen. Ed. R. W. Chapman. 3rd ed. Oxford: OUP, 1969.

AUSTEN-LEIGH, JAMES-EDWARD. A Memoir of Jane Austen. Ed. R. W. Chapman. 2nd ed. Oxford: OUP, 1926.

AUSTEN-LEIGH, WILLIAM, AND RICHARD ARTHUR AUSTEN-LEIGH Jane Austen: A Family Record. Rev. Deirdre Le Faye. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1989.

BERMINGHAM ANN. Learning to Draw: Studies in the Cultural History of a Polite and Useful Art. New Haven: Yale UP, 2000.

DARWIN, ERASMUS. A Plan for the Conduct of Female Education in Boarding Schools. Derby: Drewry, 1797.

EDGEWORTH, MARIA, and Richard Lovell Edgeworth. Practical Education. 1798. 3rd American ed. New York: Harper and Bros., 1835.

Etiquette for the Ladies: Eighty Maxims on Dress, Manners, and Accomplishments. 4th ed. London: Charles Tilt, 1837.

GISBORNE, THOMAS. An Enquiry into the Duties of the Female Sex. 4th ed. London: T. Cadell, 1799.

JONES, VIVIEN. "Austen's Nieces: Case Studies in Women and Writing." Women's Writing in Britain 1660-1830. U Southampton and Chawton House Library. Winchester, U.K. 17 July 2003.

KAPLAN, DEBORAH. Jane Austen among Women. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1992.

LA RUE, HELENE. "Music, Literature, and Etiquette: Musical Instruments and Social Identity from Castiglione to Austen." Ethnicity, Identity, and Music: The Musical Construction of Place. Ed. Martin Stokes. Oxford: Berg, 1994. 189-205.

LIBIN, KATHRYN L. SHANKS. "Music, Character, and Social Standing in Jane Ansten's Emma." Persuasions 22 (2000): 15-30

MACAULAY, CATHERINE. Letters on Education. With Observations on Religious and Metaphysical Subjects. Dublin, 1790.

MORE, HANNAH. Essays on Various Subjects: Principally Designed for Young Ladies. London, 1778.

PARKES, MRS. WILLIAM [Frances Byerly]. Domestic Duties; Or, Instructions to Young Married Ladies, on the Management of Their Households, and the Regulation of Their Conduct in the Various Relations of Married Life. 3rd American ed. New York: J & J Harper, 1829.

PENNINGTON, LADY [SARAH]. A Mother's Advice to Her Absent Daughters. 1761. New York: Garland, 1986.

PIGGOTT, PATRICK. The Innocent Diversion: A Study of Music in the Life and Writings of Jane Austen. London: Douglas Cleverdon, 1979.

SANDOCK, MOLLIE. "'I Burn with Contempt for my Foes': Jane Austen's Music Collections and Women's Lives in Regency England." Persuasions 23 (2001): 105-17.

TAYLOR, MRS. ANNE. Correspondence between a Mother and Her Daughter at School. London, 1817.

WAKEFIELD, PRISCILLA. Reflections on the Present Condition of the Female Sex. 1798. New York: Garland, 1979.

WEST, JANE. The Advantages of Education: Or, the History of Maria Williams. 2 vols. 1795. New York: Garland, 1974.

WOLLSTONECRAFT, MARY. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Ed. Miriam Brody. 1792. New York: Penguin, 1992.

Juliette Wells, an assistant professor of English at Manhattanville College, received her Ph.D. from Yale and undergraduate degrees in English and music from Johns Hopkins. She teaches and researches in the areas of Victorian literature, the novel, and women's writing.
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Author:Wells, Juliette
Publication:Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal
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Date:Jan 1, 2004
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