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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Icing on the cake

It’s turning into a self-promoting kind of week.


After taking a bow on Monday for my small contribution to the ginormous task of correcting online Jane Austen misquotations, I’m now happy to report that I have an article in the latest edition of Persuasions, the journal of the Jane Austen Society of North America.


My piece, “Two Cheers for Edward Ferrars,” is a slightly revised version of the breakout talk I gave at last year’s JASNA Annual General Meeting, held in Victoria, British Columbia, and focused on Sense and Sensibility. In the article, I argue that the novel’s readers--many of whom disdain Edward as dull and passive, or worse--often overlook the structural and thematic clues Austen has provided that make clear why Edward is genuinely heroic.


JASNA members receive a hard copy of Persuasions each year and can download an ebook version. Digital versions of some articles are also publicly available, though that doesn’t yet seem to be the case for the current issue. (If you don’t have access to my piece but would like a copy, drop me an email and I’ll send it along.)


Presenting a JASNA breakout talk was a bucket-list item for me, and getting the talk published in Persuasions is icing on the cake. Many thanks to those who made it possible, chief among them Persuasions editor Susan Allen Ford.

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8 Comments


harriet
Sep 11, 2023

I really enjoyed the essay, and I particularly liked the comparison with Fanny Price. Because a key thing the two of them have in common is the ability to say NO in the face of family pressure. I think unique among the heroes, and almost so among the heroines? (Elizabeth does so, but at least her father is on her side.)


I agreed with everything you said, although I do ALSO stand with category #1 - that Austen didn't quite pull off what she was trying to do. Because she gave us all the evidence of his virtues, and why we should admire him, and see that he deserves Elinor - evidence that, as you point out, so many of…


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Deborah Yaffe
Deborah Yaffe
Sep 12, 2023
Replying to

Thank you for reading -- I'm so glad you enjoyed the essay! I do agree with your last point --Edward doesn't quite come to life as a likable person, which no doubt explains why both Andrew Davies and Emma Thompson add those not-in-the-book Norland scenes of him being sweet to Margaret. I think Austen was trying to show that superficial charm, of the type Willoughby has in abundance, is not to be relied upon in choosing a mate. But she may have overcorrected a bit in giving Edward very little charm at all!

As for the standing-up-to-family thing: Arguably, Henry Tilney (with the general) and Darcy (with Lady Catherine) do defy pressure to not-marry the heroine, but neither of them…

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notyrbottom
Sep 08, 2023

Just dropping in to say how much I enjoyed the essay -- you've put into words some vague notions I had about why I like Edward in spite of everything, and said so much more besides. Thank you again for sending it!

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Deborah Yaffe
Deborah Yaffe
Sep 08, 2023
Replying to

Thanks so much -- I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

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amsprayberry
Sep 07, 2023

Congratulations, and I'm proud to say I read the article two days ago! Huzzahs!!

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Deborah Yaffe
Deborah Yaffe
Sep 07, 2023
Replying to

Thank you!

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rearadmiral doublezero
rearadmiral doublezero
Sep 07, 2023

Congrats 🎉🎉🎉🎉

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Deborah Yaffe
Deborah Yaffe
Sep 07, 2023
Replying to

Thanks!

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