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Thread: Jane Austen couldn't spell!

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    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Jane Austen couldn't spell!

    It has been revealed that Jane Austen couldn't spell, wrote in a regional accent and didn't have sufficient punctuation!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti....html?ITO=1490

    That puts this piece of her own writing in perspective:

    "Henry Tilney: It appears to me that the usual tyle of letter-writing among women is faultless except in three particulars.
    Miss Morland (?): And what are they?
    Tilney: A general deficiency of subject, a total inattention to stops, and a very frequent ignorance of grammar.'

    Not to mention spelling, no doubt

    I mean, she wrote 'recieve'.

    Just liked to mention it because it was nice to know And they are going to put free Austen manuscripts online via the British library. Would like to see it for myself.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

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    Radio Interview on Austen Research

    I cant spell either as this email will probably prove!

    If you would like to hear an radio interview with Prof Catherine Sutherland of Oxford University who is currently researching what was Austen's work and that of her editor, then put 'BBC Radio Today Austen' into google search.

    Currently reading Mansfield Park and - against expectations - enjoying it.

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    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiki1982 View Post
    It has been revealed that Jane Austen couldn't spell, wrote in a regional accent and didn't have sufficient punctuation!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti....html?ITO=1490

    That puts this piece of her own writing in perspective:

    "Henry Tilney: It appears to me that the usual tyle of letter-writing among women is faultless except in three particulars.
    Miss Morland (?): And what are they?
    Tilney: A general deficiency of subject, a total inattention to stops, and a very frequent ignorance of grammar.'

    Not to mention spelling, no doubt

    I mean, she wrote 'recieve'.

    Just liked to mention it because it was nice to know And they are going to put free Austen manuscripts online via the British library. Would like to see it for myself.

    This is hardly surprising, because most manuscripts have to be proofread to iron out spelling and grammatical errors. Even the most famous writers are in need of correction. Somerset Maugham once hired a woman to proofread his writing and she was so perfect that it altered the flow of his work and he got rid of her. Much of his writing was proofread by Edward Marsh who also corrected Winston Churchill's writings as well as those by Walter de la Mere, Dorothy Sayers, and A.A.Milne.
    "L'art de la statistique est de tirer des conclusions erronèes a partir de chiffres exacts." Napoléon Bonaparte.

    "Je crois que beaucoup de gens sont dans cet état d’esprit: au fond, ils ne sentent pas concernés par l’Histoire. Mais pourtant, de temps à autre, l’Histoire pose sa main sur eux." Michel Houellebecq.

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    Cool Jane Austen couldn't spell and was a poor grammarian ....

    A professor at Oxford has examined over 1,000 pages of Jane's handwritten manuscript and compared them to the final books in her oeuvre. The prof's conclusions were that Jane was a poor speller and not very good at constructing the longer complex sentences for which she is noted. In other words, Jane's work required heavy editing to get into the form which we have all read. This doesn't mean that Jane didn't have a creative mind with more than a touch of irony. Other well-known writers' work have required another's editing strokes to get into the final form before printing. Scott Fitzgerald's submissions had multiple mispellings and ambiguous antecedents which made his dialogs hard to follow. Those who don't like Austen's romantic, ironic stories about the English upper class will be able to say 'I told you so'. Those who love Austen will be able to take umbrage and proclaim that being a poor speller and grammarian doesn't take anything away form her creativity.

    Another bit of Austen news is that her early death apparently wasn't because of poor genes as perhaps all the Btonte sisters were afflicted, but was due to drinking unhomogenized milk.

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    Registered User keilj's Avatar
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    as long as she never used the word grammarian I'm cool with her

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    Captain Azure Patrick_Bateman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dfloyd View Post
    A professor at Oxford has examined over 1,000 pages of Jane's handwritten manuscript and compared them to the final books in her oeuvre. The prof's conclusions were that Jane was a poor speller and not very good at constructing the longer complex sentences for which she is noted. In other words, Jane's work required heavy editing to get into the form which we have all read. This doesn't mean that Jane didn't have a creative mind with more than a touch of irony. Other well-known writers' work have required another's editing strokes to get into the final form before printing. Scott Fitzgerald's submissions had multiple mispellings and ambiguous antecedents which made his dialogs hard to follow. Those who don't like Austen's romantic, ironic stories about the English upper class will be able to say 'I told you so'. Those who love Austen will be able to take umbrage and proclaim that being a poor speller and grammarian doesn't take anything away form her creativity.

    Another bit of Austen news is that her early death apparently wasn't because of poor genes as perhaps all the Btonte sisters were afflicted, but was due to drinking unhomogenized milk.

    Dyslexia innit blad?
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    Registered User keilj's Avatar
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    Personally, I find it hard to maintain good spelling habits nowadays because Microsoft Word corrects your words for you with a quick right-click

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    Registered User Lulim's Avatar
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    We've been there already

    Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
    To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits
    in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.”

    Helen Keller

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    Registered User keilj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lulim View Post
    We've been there already
    hey - this thread already has more posts than that one had


    question: if you're dictating to someone - how do they know when you misspell a word??

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    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    Spelling was idiosyncratic until the development of dictionaries. Johnson had written the first English dictionary to be widely used in 1755, 35 years before Austen wrote her first novels. However, I'm guessing that spelling hadn't quite been standardized when Austen was writing. So to talk about "misspelling" words is to project our own values on a different time.

    Also, why assume someone ELSE edited Austen's novels? Perhaps she rewrote them herself. I've read her fragments (Sanditon, The Watsons) and they are nowhere near as well written as the finished novels, but that doesn't prove she had outside help in polishing her completed works.

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    I have seen a note about it and a teacher actually saying she was very experimental. Anyways, Bronte Sisters????

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    Registered User keilj's Avatar
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    let's face it - the problem with Austen's books was not the spelling or grammar - didn't Twain say it was a shame she was allowed of die of natural causes

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    Cool It is not assumed that Austen had an editor ....

    The Oxford prof evidently has proof, and even gives the name of the editor. The spelling on Austen's manuscript pages is evidently corrected in another hand, so her spelling had nothing to do with correct or incorrect spelling in her time. I can't remember where I read all this, and I'm just passing it on, not claiming any truth or falseness to what I read. I've just read a lot of posts here about Austen, both pro and con. In my opinion, she went from great to not so great, with 'Pride and Prejudice' being great and "Persuasion, her last novel, being not so great. I just finished Persuasion so now I've read all but Mansfield Park (all of her five novels). Maybe I'll get around to 'Mansfield' one of these days. Overall, I've enjoyed Ms Austen and wish she would have had a longer life. But as they said in the beginning of the
    19th century: Don't drink the milk.

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    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keilj View Post
    let's face it - the problem with Austen's books was not the spelling or grammar - didn't Twain say it was a shame she was allowed of die of natural causes
    Twain made several famous, funny and derogatory remarks about Austen:

    "To me his prose is unreadable - like Jane Austin's [sic]. No there is a difference. I could read his prose on salary, but not Jane's. Jane is entirely impossible. It seems a great pity that they allowed her to die a natural death."
    ---------
    "Jane Austen's books, too, are absent from this library. Just that one omission alone would make a fairly good library out of a library that hadn't a book in it."
    ------------------
    "I haven't any right to criticize books, and I don't do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can't conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read 'Pride and Prejudice' I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone."
    Great stuff -- Twain, after all, vies with Austen for the title of "funniest great novelist." However, he may give himself away by desiring to beat Austen over the skull "every time I read Pride and Prejudice." How many times is Twain planning to read the book, if he hates it so much?

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    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keilj View Post
    hey - this thread already has more posts than that one had
    Probably because everyone looks on here and not on the appropriate forum??

    Anyway, I suppose that there was something like standardised spelling by the time Austed started publishing. Well before mass book production in the 19th century took off, anyway.

    Though maybe the allegation that Austen's works were practically re-written is a little over the top. I can't think of any editor who would spend such an amount of time on essentially crap in order to produce good stuff out of that. Seems a waste of time to me... Certainly as they had to buy her copyright... Why would you buy the copyright off someone who oculdn't even write her own work?
    Of course she edited her work, with recommendations then probably too as writers do now, but just not left it up to her editor to do so.

    @Dfloyd:

    I didn't find P&P better than Persuasion, on the contrary in fact. Sure, P&P is lighter and funnier than Persuasion, but that does not signify necessarily that the first is better than the last. I found Persuasion more subtle and more subdued, but not at all less to the point. If anything it was less naïve and more profound. Clearly, to me, the work of a person who has got older and who has more of a pragmatic look on life. P&P was rather black and white.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

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