Doody’s argument typically works like this: “in an ‘Emma Woodhouse’ of Hart-Field we find reference to Emma Hart (Lady Hamilton) and to Queen Emma, to the rich family of Watson-Woodhouse and to a woodshed, to perfection and ego, to queenship and hardship”. Later, possible significations of “Hartfield” are forensically turned over: a white hart was Richard II’s emblem, there are White Hart pubs, and hearts can be lost, but the name itself is ersatz and “sounds made-up”, Doody explains. Fishing with her in these waters can feel thankless, and sometimes dull, but an acutely perceptive point may suddenly emerge. There are no fields or deer in tepid Mr Woodhouse’s faded Hartfield: “it is like a memory of the country”.
Thursday, October 01, 2015
Gay, Rivers, Beacon
At the TLS, Min Wild on Margaret Doody's new book about Jane Austen's names: