Friday, September 30, 2011

Pairs: Two letters of Jane Austen and one Matissean nude (alone)

Jane Austen writes her sister Cassandra to say there has suddenly been quite a bit of company, "an accidental meeting & a sudden impulse produced Miss Benn & Maria Middleton at our Tea Table"  (Wednesday 29 May 1811). I love the idea of both the "accidental meeting" and the "sudden impulse," as well as the two guests, (and we hear nothing of them!).

Later, she writes, in mock-complaint,  about her brother Edward's "taste": "Edward is no Enthusiast in the beauties of Nature.  His Enthusiasm is for the Sports of the field only. -- He is a very promising & pleasing young man however upon the whole .... & we must forgive his thinking more of Growse & Partridges than Lakes & Mountains ..." (from Edward's house at Godmersham Park, Sept. 25 1813, to her brother Frank). Again, the lovely, unusual pairings, "Growse & Partridges" and "Lakes & Mountains," sounding a bit like a passage from one of her novels ...

Extra guests do appear at Tea, and people will have differing tastes ... and in Napa, the vendange has to begin now before next week's rain, whether people are ready or not ... so my "here and there" odalisques are progressing nicely, right at home among all these unsettled pairings, judgments and weather patterns. Below is a glimpse of the lovely, strange angles of Matisse's "Blue Nude," who will need something other than the palm fronds and tropical greens of the original:

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