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Incandescent Memory

Thomas Powers: Mark Twain

28 April 2011
Autobiography of Mark Twain Vol. I 
edited by Harriet Elinor Smith et al.
California, 736 pp., £24.95, November 2010, 978 0 520 26719 0
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... The sun never shone more brightly and a boy’s dreams never seemed in closer reach, nor the girl next door prettier, nor his friends readier for bold adventure on a Saturday free of school than all did in the ‘white town drowsing’ on the Missouri shore of the mighty Mississippi River where Mark Twain in the 1840s drank deeply of the sweetness of life, and never forgot it. ‘Free’ was a word ...

Noticing and Not Noticing

John Mullan: Consciousness in Austen

20 November 2014
The Hidden Jane Austen 
by John Wiltshire.
Cambridge, 195 pp., £17.99, April 2014, 978 1 107 64364 2
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... attention. The words had been around in English since the late 17th century, and when Austen first uses one of them, in Sense and Sensibility, it is in a conventional and wholly un-Freudian manner. Elinor Dashwood’s ghastly, venal sister-in-law, seeing the growing attachment between Elinor and her brother, Edward, observes to Elinor’s mother that Edward must find a wealthy or noble wife. There ...

Sister-Sister

Terry Castle

3 August 1995
Jane Austen’s Letters 
edited by Deirde Le Faye.
Oxford, 621 pp., £30, March 1995, 0 19 811764 7
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... of a temper that never required to be commanded.’ When Sense and Sensibility was published in 1811, some readers thought Austen had modelled the characters of the Dashwood sisters – the sober Elinor and the sprightly Marianne – on her sister and herself. Austen-Leigh demurred, but only in order to pay tribute to the novelist’s superior moral insight. ‘Cassandra’s character might indeed ...

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