There is a…dialectic at work in Jane Austen’s words, their meaning being dependent on the level at which they are being used. One cannot simply say, for example, that “propriety” is one of Jane Austen’s values, but “sensibility” is not because as they stand those statements have no useful truth or falsity. There is a sense in which either word may be used to claim an unreal value; in this false sense it may well mean, not hypocritically but ironically, the very reverse of the unlimited strength it assumes and represents itself to be. There is another sense in which either word has a real value; and in this sense it may well be a possession of someone who does not seem to have it, or may seen to be a weak limitation of its possessor rather than the strength it proves to be. –Stuart M Tave, *Some Words of Jane Austen*
I will be reading from *Stony Lonesome* (I plan to read some of the poems I haven’t been reading, so if you have been to an earlier reading, you should hear some new poems). I will also be reading from draft poems for my new book, whose working title is *Flirting with Death*. St. Dunstan’s is a great space for an event like this; I hope to see you there.
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
I have been slowly reading through Tanner’s impressive Jane Austen. It is truly instructive: even when I disagree, I often do so using the very terms of discussion that Tanner discerningly provides, so that my disagreements turn often on more fundamental agreements (“we agree in the language we use”). I strongly recommend the book to any serious Austen fans out there. The chapter on Mansfield Park is worth the price of the book by itself.