Not at all Sir, not at all–cried Mr Parker eagerly. Quite the contrary I assure you.–A common idea–but a mistaken one. It may apply to your large, overgrown Places, like Brighton, or Worthing, or East Bourne–but not to a small Village like Sanditon, precluded by its size from experiencing any of the evils of Civilization, while the growth of the place, the Buildings, the Nursery Grounds, the demand for every thing, & the sure resort of the very best Company, those regular, steady, private Families of thorough Gentility & Character, who are a blessing everywhere, excite the industry of the Poor and diffuse comfort & improvement among them of every sort.–No Sir, I assure you, Sanditon is not a place—–
I thought I would write from the Inbetween where blahggers exist when there is no blahgging. My friend, it is a mirror-place I write from: I, blahgger, exist still – but as a non-entity. It has been a long while, traveller, and so I must reach out!!! –
Okay, so. Tomorrow I meet with the Miss Robinson in Gainesville and the rest of the Janeites-of-the-Northernish-Florida-realm to discuss Jane Austen’s Sanditon and other Austen-cult continuations of the same. I am a little behind on reading Julia Barrett’s Charlotte, but I hope to glean a little tonight and tomorrow morning in my downtime. Actually, I am reading The Oxford Illustrated Jane Austen: Minor Works as refresher. In university, I wrote in defense of Sanditon an inordinately long essay arguing its place on a continuum from Northanger Abbey on, only because I was apalled by DA Miller: Sanditon, he said, was the “death of style” and the “death of the Stylothete.” Nah, says I, it and its style foresees a coup where Money makes the blood bluer, and not necessarily high-birth. Sanditon is where good society manufactures gooder society in a social economy where there just ain’t loads of demand for it. Hell, the name Darcy is related to money made in industry; the Gardners of P&P were model folk. In Jane’s repertoire, one can watch the Old Gentry wear thin and struggle against their widowing: Mr Woodhouse’s (Emma) hypochondria–and note that “Sanditon is a resort for the Invalid”–is a key component to that which makes the rich Rich and not riche. Says Miller, “[Sanditon’s grammar] is in need of a brisk salt rub.” Yeah. But that’s the indirectness of F I D. I dig Miller, loads, so I recommend in particular his Jane Austen, or The Secret of Style.
Anyway, I am flipping through Sanditon and thoroughly enjoying myself, and before I see what miss Barrett supposed happened, I hope to blahg a little about what I think ought to happen. Then we can see how close I am. Note that I am excessively excited for tomorrow’s get-together, as I haven’t had much opportunity during my emmigration to make any friends.
Simultaneously, I am writing my review of Cecil Castellucci (I think I spelled that right) and Jim Rugg’s The Plain Janes for The Graphic Classroom, a graphic novel I think subtle and deep and bittersweet. Although my reviews are never considerably long, I spend much time stickey-noting the book – I read it in about two hours and it’s been a week re-reading! I will have plenty to say, soon.
Footnote: This manuscript (Sanditon) is among the few of Jane Austen’s we have; it is fascinating and enlightening: just what and why does she omit that or this? – it is a work ever in progress, frozen in time, an inksmear maybe scribbling-on still somewhere a shadowstep from here. Manuscripts are important.