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Thursday, August 15, 2019

Austenesque Anticipation... | A Janeite Conversation

Before we get into the second of today's posts, I just want to take a moment to say: you guys are killing it this year! The insight I've seen shared in the comments and on Twitter over the last two weeks is seriously blowing my mind — so many of you have made me think of scenes or characters in a new way, or added something to my understanding of Austen!

And I hope to continue that trend with today's Janeite Convo, were we're taking a look at one of my favorite things in all of reading, but especially in all of Austen: scene anticipation.

Jane Austen, Austen in August, Austenesque, JAFF, jane austen fanfiction, Austen variations, jane austen interview, The Book Rat, BookRatMisty

I think one of my favorite things about reading (and rereading) Austen is the anticipation of certain scenes and events. Sometimes it's even minor things, a single line, that sets my little heart a-flutterin' pages in advance. What are those scenes for you (especially beyond the classics, like proposals)?

JESSICA: Anne seeing Wentworth the first time. Obviously Wentworth's letter is the best ever but I love how that scene is mostly just Anne's internal monologue. As the reader, we don't even really "see" Wentworth, just Anne's reactions to being in the same room and her pep talks to herself. I don't know why, but I love it so much! And when I did a Persuasion adaptation that's what I started with and it was as fun to write as I'd hoped!
DEBORAH: Sorry to be predictable, but the one that always gets me is The Letter in Persuasion. Every time Captain Wentworth returns to the room in the White Hart and places his letter in front of Anne “with eyes of glowing entreaty fixed on her,” I feel my pulse speed up.

ABIGAIL: The first meeting at Pemberley, for sure, and Captain Wentworth writing his letter. Not just the letter itself, but the whole scene around it is just beautiful.
MISTY: It really redeems a lot of his bad behavior, doesn't it?
DEBORAH: I know the whole letter by heart, and yet I join Anne in suspense every. Single. Time.
That’s the big one, but there are also numerous smaller moments that I arrive at each time with a renewed sense of joy. Mr. Bennet’s big windup:  "An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do."
MISTY: Not gonna lie, that might be one of my favorite unexpected moments in all of literature. My heart grew three sizes that day...
DEBORAH: Or Emma Woodhouse, tempted to insult Miss Bates at Box Hill: “Emma could not resist.” (No! Don’t do it!) Or Elinor Dashwood, after listening to Robert Ferrars natter on fatuously about the capaciousness of cottages, taking that path of least resistance so well-known to all women: “Elinor agreed to it all, for she did not think he deserved the compliment of rational opposition.”
MISTY: Oof. I felt that one in my soul.
MARIA: I love the scene in Persuasion where Wentworth insists Anne rides in the gig with the Crofts, and there is a similar little known one where he helps her literally get one of her nephews off her back—the child was climbing all over her. Those little hints of tenderness and what is to come just melt me.
MISTY: So much Persuasion love here today! Also, I've noticed a few people mentioning that scene this year, in various posts, while others are like, "*gasp* I never noticed that!" That's why I love conversations like this, because that has always been a favorite small scene, and one of the first in that book to elicit swarms of butterflies, even from the very first reading, because you read it and just know — although, apparently some people read it and don't know, and were missing out on those butterflies! But now they know. lol
CECILIA: The Wentworth letter. THE WENTWORTH LETTER! I know it's an obvious choice but it's such a reward because even the first time I read Persuasion, being 99% sure it would end up well, I still had a tiny smidge of doubt and that letter was just a tsunami of relief and romance.
MISTY: It's the payoff you need, after being put through so much angst!
CECILIA: Let's just compare that to the last message from my boyfriend which reads: "Morning, babe. Miss you. Gonna have some mouslee." (He was trying to spell muesli.) :|
REGINA: I have told this tale before, but I shall repeat it here. When I was still teaching (40 years in public school), I planned the reading of Captain Wentworth’s letter specifically for my Advanced Placement class. I always had my AP class during 3rd period (a blocked period schedule). Third period was also lunch period, so I had my class for one hour; they went to lunch for 30 minutes, and then returned for the last 30 minutes of the period.
I always made a point of being the one to read Wentworth’s letter aloud, and I had learned over the years to time the end of it perfectly with the lunch bell. When I would finish, the girls (all juniors in high school) would sigh heavily and sit there, kind of dreamy eyed. The boys would be grabbing their lunch bags or heading toward the door. Then one of them would be brave enough to turn back and ask the girls if they were coming. Instinctively, the girls would stand, but they would be eyeing the guys as if they were the scum of the earth. One or more of the young men would shrug his/their shoulders and ask: “What did I do?” In reply, the girls would either punch the boys in the shoulder or give them the cold shoulder or say something to the effect of: “You don’t have a clue!”
MISTY: I love this!
REGINA: It was all I could do not to break out in laughter while they were all still in the room. The great thing came when they returned and we DISCUSSED the letter. I should have felt sorry for the boys, but I did not, for I vividly recalled how I felt about boys that did not understand the nuances of great literature when I was that age.
JENNIEKE: The proposals are always my favorite, LOL. But I will say, I do think the scenes in NORTHANGER where Catherine and Henry Tilney talk for the first few times are SO cute. (Oops, here I go, showing my Tilney preference again 😁 )
MISTY: #TeamTilney!!
JENNIEKE: Absolutely!!😁
DEBRA-ANN: One of my favorite scenes is when Darcy & Elizabeth meet up again at Pemberley.
MARILYN: I am always anxiously anticipating that moment at Pemberley when Darcy and Elizabeth run into each other on the grounds. The build up to that scene is so delicious, and it pays off beautifully!! I could reread those pages daily and never tire of them.
MISTY: Truly, it is the best of scenes.
DEBRA-ANN: Both flush in embarrassment - Lizzy understandable, Darcy is more endearing to me as he’s been working to improve himself and one of the only guys in Austen’s work to flush, not color. Another is when Anne sees Wentworth for the first time in years and the realization of what she gave up.
CHRISTINA: “Her heart did whisper that he had done it for her.”—P&P
So much in that one line.
MISTY: Yessss!

So, fellow Janeites: what are some of your favorite small, subtle scenes, or scenes that you anticipate well in advance? Let us know in the comments!

The Janeites:
Christina Boyd, editor of the anthology Rational Creatures, et al
Marilyn Brant, author of According to Jane, et al.
Jennieke Cohen, author of Dangerous Alliance
Regina Jeffers, author of the Pride & Prejudice Murder Mystery series and many variations
Maria Grace, author of the series' Mr Darcy's Dragons, Queen of Rosings Park, et al.
Cecilia Gray, author of the Jane Austen Academy series, et al.
Jessica Grey, author of Attempting Elizabeth, et al.
Debra-Ann Kummoung, author of Falling for Elizabeth Bennet, et al.
Abigail Reynolds, author of Last Man in the World and many other P&P variations
Deborah Yaffe, author of Among the Janeites

Jane Austen, Austen in August, blog event, Jane Austen fan fiction, JAFF, The Book Rat, BookRatMisty
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  1. Two of my favorite scenes are from Persuasion. One is when Anne talks with Captain Harville about love. The other one is Capt. Wentworth's reaction to Louisa and Benwick "A man does not recover from such a devotion of the heart to such a woman. He ought not; he does not" and then Anne's reaction to his statement: "Anne who...had distinguished every word, was struck, gratified, confused, and beginning to breathe very quick, and feel an hundred things in a moment."

  2. It's cruel of me, but I always anticipate the scene in Mansfield Park when Edmund and Fanny are returning in the chaise from Portsmouth to Mansfield and he has to tell her how duped he was in his vision of Mary Crawford. I love Mary, but Edmund wasn't seeing her with both eyes open until now and I felt this is the point that he started to see how blind he was about several people.

    Another scene I anticipate and cringe for is when Catherine has to admit to Henry what she suspected about his father when he caught her sneaking out of his mother's room.

    But yes, all the proposal scenes are still fab.

  3. Captain Wentworth's letter - swoon, what can I add. I loved your story Regina, such a neat trick. :-) Poor boys.

  4. I love the scene in Persuasion when it’s raining and Anne is sheltering in the shop and she sees Captain Wentworth through the window. I love his reaction to seeing her when he enters the shop and their awkward conversation. So much built up emotion between them.

  5. I have a bunch of these from Sanditon, actually (the version finished by Marie Dobbs, so not strictly Austen, but I can count it, right? :P) I love the scene where Sidney gets Charlotte's feedback on the "extremely pretty" shell box (which he then later gifts to her). And the scene in the tea room where Diana comes across the two of them together. And then of course, the proposal scene. I'll just stop here before I list every scene between Sidney & Charlotte XD


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