Persuasions #9, 1987                                                                                                                                            Page 46


Competition 1988


She spoke then, on being so entreated.  – What did she say?  – Just what she ought, of course.  A lady always does.  (Emma, III, 13, p, 431)


In Anthony Trollope’s copy of Emma, one of the many treasures in the Taylor Collection in Princeton which many of us visited after the New York conference, appears this comment, in Trollope’s own handwriting: “I cannot but notice Miss Austen’s timidity in dealing with the most touching scenes which come her way, and in avoiding the narration of those details which a bolder artist would eagerly have seized.  In the first scene between Emma and her lover, – when the conversation has become almost pathetic, – she breaks away from the spoken dialogue and simply tells us of her hero’s success.  This is a cowardice which robs the reader of much of the charm which he has promised himself.  (August 17, 1864).”  Trollope has not been the only reader to be disappointed, and this year’s competition gives you the chance to satisfy such people.  You are invited to respond to the question,


What did Emma say?


Your entry should consist largely of Emma’s words, though you may if you need to include a few of Mr. Knightley’s and/or of the narrator’s.  Show how your passage fits into the text, returning to Jane Austen’s text by the paragraph beginning, “Seldom, very seldom ...”  Maximum length 500 words.  Open to JASNA members only.  Please use a pseudonym on your entry, but identify yourself in a covering letter to the editor; and mail your entry by September 1, 1988, to Gene Koppel, Department of English, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721. [Ed.]


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