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Record 10373

Reading Experience:

'I could not do without a Syringa, for the sake of Cowper's Line.'
Century: 1800-1849
Date: unknown
Country: England
Time: n/a
Place: n/a
Type of Experience (Reader):
silent aloud unknown
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown
Type of Experience (Listener):
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown

Reader/Listener/Reading Group:

Reader:Jane Austen
Age Adult (18-100+)
Gender Female
Date of Birth 16 Dec 1775
Socio-economic group: Clergy (includes all denominations)
daughter of clergyman
Occupation: Novelist
Religion: Anglican
Country of origin: England
Country of experience: England
Listeners present if any:
(e.g. family, servants, friends, workmates)
Additional comments: n/a


Text Being Read:

Author: William Cowper
Title: The Task
Genre: Poetry
Form of Text: Print: Book
Publication details: n/a
Provenance: owned


Source Information:

Record ID: 10373  
Source - Print  
  Author: Jane Austen
  Editor: Deirdre LeFaye
  Title: Jane Austen's Letters
  Place of Publication: Oxford
  Date of Publication: 1995
  Vol: n/a
  Page: 119
  Additional comments: Letter from Jane to Cassandra Austen, Sunday 8 - Monday 9 February, 1807, from Southampton.

Citation: Jane Austen, Deirdre LeFaye (ed.), Jane Austen's Letters (Oxford, 1995), p. 119,, accessed: 25 August 2019

Additional comments:

Jane Austen knew Cowper's poem "The Task" extremely well. According to her brother, Cowper was her favourite poet. She quotes The Task elsewhere - notably in "Mansfield Park" ["Myself creating what I saw"]. The line alluded to here is "...Laburnum, rich / In streaming gold; syringa, iv'ry pure." 'The Winter Walk at Noon', vi, 149-50. For more on Austen's use of Cowper's The Task, See Katie Halsey, 'Spectral Texts in Mansfield Park', "Forum for Modern Language Studies" 42:3 (July, 2006).



Reading Experience Database version 2.0.  Page updated: 27th Apr 2016  3:15pm (GMT)