His early collection of stories, Den Koffer und weg! When Abate returned to his native Italy, he taught at the university in Trentino. Many of his works deal with displacement and the immigrant experience. In Between Two Seas, Abate tells another tale inspired in part by his own past. Narrated by Florian Heumann, the novel tells the story of a child of two countries—Italy and Germany.
The grandson of famous photographer Hans Heumann of Hamburg and Giorgio Bellusci of Calabria, Florian discovers uncomfortable truths about his heritage. In the years following World War II , photographer Heumann traveled to southern Italy hoping to capture the famous southern light. There he met Bellusci, who became his companion in travels throughout the region. Both men had dreams: Heumann, to become a world-renowned photographer, and Bellusci, to rebuild his family's famous hostelry, the Fondaco del Fico, in Calabria. These disparate dreams, however, eventually put the two men at odds with each other, leading to a family vendetta.
It is this story that young Florian uncovers when he and his family resettle from Hamburg to his mother's native Roccalba in the south of Italy. The central focus in the novel is the exploration of three generations of Belluscis. The first generation features another Giorgio, host of the family inn in when the famous writer Alexander Dumas was a guest. The Juvenilia certainly directs our gaze toward an examination of characters' motivations, but Austen clearly is not interpreting alcoholic or, in other stories, gluttonous excess as merely a phenomenon of the "delinquent recalcitrant will," for Alice's inebriation arises in large part from a cultural conditioning that simultaneously stimulates desire and enforces codes that inhibit fulfillment.
Second, and simultaneously, the story reveals how drunken excess functions as a code that exposes cultural flaws. And Austen makes it explicit that there can be no outlet when women are, by custom's force, always the losers in a market that male buyers control. A reading of the Juvenilia, however, might well lead a reader to feel that conservative moralists and repressive systems are fighting a fruitless battle.
Most of the marriages Austen depicts are illegitimate; a few select characters are "natural"; appetites of all kinds as we have seen are voracious, and usually laws and legal procedures move too slowly for characters who want immediate sexual gratification. Louisa Lesley "wantonly disgrace[s] the Maternal character and. Her husband recovers immediately, and in fact "even feels himself obliged to her for her Elopement, as he thinks it very good fun to be single again" Their father's sensuality embarrasses his daughters, as he remains "a flighty stripling.
Lesley Castle's exploration of sexual excess relies on a protective shell of comical phantasm, which both masks and enhances the feminist and political critique that the work suggests. Oblivious to Eloisa's grief though it is, no doubt, rather hyperbolic , Charlotte preposterously "join[s] in heartfelt lamentations on the dreadful Waste in our provisions.
They enter into their "Devouring Plan. Austen unites the two sisters' reactions at the level of a deliciously wrought metaphor: Charlotte's "devouring plan" suggests a post-wedding riot of consumption wherein feeding displaces sexual consummation, an association strengthened by the fact that the "Beef, Broiled Mutton, and Stewed Soup" were prepared "to last the new-married Couple through the Honey-moon" Fifteen days later, she writes that I have the satisfaction of informing you that we have every reason to imagine our pantry is by this time nearly cleared, as we left particular orders with the Servants to eat as hard as they possibly could, and to call in a couple of Chairwomen to assist them.
We brought a cold Pigeon pye, a cold turkey, a cold tongue, and half a dozen Jellies with us, which we were lucky enough with the help of our Landlady, her husband, and their three children, to get rid of in less than two days after our arrival. The metaphor also enables Austen to make sound social commentary, though not necessarily in a realistic mode, in that the two story lines together amplify the ever-present sense that like the victuals, which will go bad if not eaten before they decay, a marriageable girl is stamped with an expiration date.
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The sisters' varying systems of deriving satisfaction one through marriage, the other through cookery provide other ways for Austen to manipulate the narratological instability in the story while focusing on sensual superabundance. On the one hand, Charlotte's initial rage that she had "been Roasting, Broiling and Stewing both the Meat and Myself to no purpose" exposes the hot anger boiling underneath supposedly willing martyrdom or perhaps, more likely, unfulfilled desire.
If Eloisa's "expiration date" foreshadows Marianne Dashwood's—her half brother exclaims that her "bloom. Specifically, Charlotte relocates her fleshly pleasures onto food, first the creaminess of desserts—her favorite figurative phrase is a "Whipt-syllabub" sweetened milk or cream mixed with wine or cider and beaten to a froth and second, the flesh that is eaten: "I shall be able to manage the Sir-loin myself; my Mother will eat the Soup, and You and the Doctor must finish the rest" Further, her preference for catering over marrying—she "never wish[es] to act a more principal part at a Wedding than.
Finally, her artistry in the kitchen provides more long-term satisfaction than the hope of marriage when it becomes apparent that although Eloisa will not be enjoying the sexual pleasures of the honeymoon, Charlotte still gets the satisfaction of watching others devour her food. The Reverend John Trusler's The Honours of the Table for the Use of Young People warned that excessive eating "is now deemed indelicate in a lady, for her character should be rather divine than sensual" qtd.
While it is unknown whether Austen read this book, she appears to be rethinking the standard confirmation of the necessity for physical repression insofar as her characters' prodigal consumption of food and erotic pleasures compensates for other losses. Austen also describes an economy of consumption in which sexuality and victuals are interchangeable. Though this is a common idea, her treatment of it in the Juvenilia takes on strong feminist tones.
In a twist on Fielding's point, Austen shows us how Charlotte, the unattractive spinster sister, admires edible viands precisely because she does not require them to love her back. Charlotte, however, does long to be cherished for her cooking, and the loss of her sister's affection, when she becomes engaged to be married, upsets the emotional economy of the household, wherein "No one could sing a better Song than She, and no one make a better Pye than I.
His entrance upsets the symbiotic relation between sisters as it introduces a direct sexual component that takes the place of displaced forms of pleasure such as cooking and music: and "tho' I constantly applauded even every Country-dance [Eloisa] play'd, yet not even a pidgeon-pye of my making could obtain from her a single word of approbation. This as you may suppose could not be pleasing to [our Aunt] who is a professed Enemy to everything which is not directed by Decorum and Formality, or which bears the least resemblance to Ease and Good-breeding.
Whether sought out for the sheer bliss of it or as compensation for other losses, the heroines' dependency on food or drink provides outlets for their stifled sexual and intellectual energy. In the next section, I will explore how, in making hedonism and rapture these young women's business, Austen exposes the interlacing ways in which the system that steers women toward internalizing violence through intoxication both equates the sexual and economic exchange of women and manipulates their desires for erotic fulfillment. Men, several of these stories suggest, are often thieves who "steal" women's physicality in order to pleasure themselves.
Women's sexuality is rendered in terms of excess in this culture insofar as it is abundantly available to men. In only three pages, Austen's "First Act of a Comedy" sets up the framework for a spectacular collision of desires when Strephon, Chloe, Pistoletta, and her father all accidentally converge at a Hounslow Inn on their way to London. Intertwining the discourses of sexual love and alliance, the play's antihero, Strephon, exploits the surfeit of available female sexuality by inflaming the desires of two women, Chloe and Pistoletta, both of whom he has promised to wed.
And not only is there a surplus of brides for one man, but a surfeit of exuberant energy in general. For example, Popgun, disproportionately enthusiastic about his daughter, his future son-in-law, and her marriage, delivers " My Girl, my Darling, my favourite of all my Children" to London to marry Strephon, to whom he will "bequeath my whole Estate" , emphasis added.
She is even excited when she orders her dinner. Though one cannot determine whether or not Austen knew that "partridge," according to Eric Partridge, was slang for "a harlot" late-seventeenth and mid-eighteenth-century , here the bawdy meaning would reinforce Chloe's enthusiasm for physical pleasures and spotlight what we learn later, that she seems to be supporting Strephon financially. Even Austen's choice of names, Chloe and Strephon, which are famous in literature both singularly and when paired, have a rich history of sexual allusion that emphasizes this hypertrophic pursuit of physical pleasure.
Both names stem from classical literature, and Chloe is one of the lovers in Longus's Greek pastoral novel, Daphnis and Chloe, in which two orphans from Lesbos, brought up by goatkeepers and shepherds, gradually fall in love and receive a sexual education from various mortal and mythological characters. After , the tenable date for Austen's short play, we see the tradition continuing in Sarah Cassan's "On Mrs. The play, however, splices this sensuous liveliness with acts of theft and forgery, here committed by the male character.
Not only is Strephon engaged to two women, and not only does he plan to support himself in town with a "bad guinea," but he pawns Chloe's "undirected Letter" to pay the Postilion The "bad guinea" may either be counterfeit or a coin that someone shaved small bits from and melted down to sell as pure bullion. In either of those senses, or in the fact that it might just be worn down and thus less valuable, no longer weighing what it is supposed to, it doubles as a sign of Strephon, who is a phony bridegroom, one who has diminished his value by splitting his worth between two women.
A wider-ranging analysis of the play's sexual politics emerges when we tease out the implications of the fact that this "undirected" or unaddressed letter can, it seems, be turned into cash. One hypothesis, noted above, is that Chloe has given Strephon a promissory note that she received from someone else. In the eighteenth-century, such notes could be bought and sold "promiscuously," transferred from one hand to another as credit for goods or services.
Moreover, anyone in need of "ready money" could endorse the note and pass it on to another individual in exchange for cash. Promissory notes could and did circulate throughout the country much like banknotes—or young women. This would highlight the fact that not only Chloe, but Popgun is willing to hand his money over to Strephon since the father will "bequeath [his] whole Estate" to his future son-in-law. Further, if Chloe is supporting Strephon, the very idea of such an exchange before marriage breaches codes of modesty.
If we return to the allusion to the stinking partridge, a potential code for harlot, we see that this bawdy detail reinforces what the text does offer us on the surface: the liquid nature of exchange in the play—money going to and fro, a woman's body standing in for the money for a bill, and two different brides affianced to the same man. Because sexual and economic exchanges are virtually synonymous in this comedy, a further possible meaning is possible.
Chloe's letter might be sold precisely as a text, as a woman's love letter, and it might be sold in that way for a couple of different reasons. First, since it is "undirected," then it might be possible to sell it to some other young woman, perhaps a less skillful or illiterate compositor, looking to send such a letter on her own behalf Thomas DeQuincey, for one, admits in Confessions of an English Opium Eater that to stave off starvation, he ghost-wrote "love-letters to their sweethearts for young women who had lived as servants in Shrewsbury, or other towns on the English border" .
Secondly, Strephon could also sell it to a book dealer or printer as an authentic piece of sentimental correspondence. Such possible connotations, in a sense, also mark the letter as "promissory" even if it did not literally contain such a note: its value may lie in its status as a bearer of secrets and promises—the secret of Chloe's love, or the secret of her skill as an amatory writer.
Abate, Carmine 1954-
Polyvalent with emotional and financial possibility, Chloe's letter amplifies the criminal nature of the marriage market. Austen represents the theft of women's sexuality in another way in these texts. When she critiques how female erotic desire is described in conduct books and the like, she shows how their sexuality is stolen and then returned to women in an altered form, as an excessive force that must be controlled.
Moral tomes and lessons may superficially forbid female sexual expression, but they do so in a salacious way, one which encourages the reader to picture temptation, violation, or voluptuous surrender.
Earlier in the eighteenth century, Daniel Defoe had nervously commented on this possibility in the introduction to his own conduct book, Conjugal Lewdness: Or, Matrimonial Whoredom :. The Difficulty before me is, to know how to reprove with Decency offences against Decency; how to expose Modestly Things which 'tis hardly Modest so much as to mention, and which must require abundance of clean Linnen to wrap them up in;.
Like Defoe, Vivien Jones acknowledges the salacious content of conduct books, but argues a very different point of view. Most conduct books, she points out, were "instruments of repression and confinement" which tended to disallow "female pleasure," emphasize "asexual 'modesty,'" and "inculcat[e] feminine propriety. Because of this, "far from repressing sexual pleasure," such works could "open up spaces of fantasy and female desire which are potentially transgressive" , Austen, aware of the stimulating content of these texts, addresses the possibilities for both prurient and liberating responses to immodest subjects.
In the stories I have discussed so far, the heroines' bodies are transgressively, even exhilaratingly, out of control. In Catharine, or The Bower , Austen moves inward, to the imagination, to argue that even in environments where the body is constrained, the imagination is free. And this is a subject that becomes complicated when we are discussing the imagination's sexual content. It is precisely this inward turn that makes sexuality a possible site of liberation for Romantic artists: sexual liberation at once becomes potentially reflective and strategic and difficult to survey.
The imagination engenders a profound epistemological panic because it confuses its own virtual sensations for actual foundational empirical experiences. Both Catharine also called Kitty and Mrs. Percival present fascinating, though opposing, cases for arguing that the sexual imagination resists whatever repressions may be foisted onto the body.
The Juvenilia and I would argue that this holds true for the later novels as well suggests that Austen believes that sexuality—like creativity—is an arena that censorship often cannot reach or that censorship may stimulate but not tarnish. Catharine presents Kitty's imaginative function as a richly sensuous, liberating process insofar as it allows her to evade her aunt's authority in a way that leads to great pleasure and satisfaction.
The bower becomes significant, then, as the externalization of this internal, unreachable environment where any kind of reverie is possible; for Kitty, under constant surveillance, the bower represents a winsome retreat that "possessed such a charm over her senses, as constantly to tranquillize her mind and quiet her spirits," a place which she believed "alone could restore her to herself" Austen's Catharine also makes transparent the misogynistic logic associating the bower with seduction that so much conduct literature depended upon.
As a symbol of rampant female sexuality, the bower is a ubiquitous image throughout the eighteenth-century, appearing in texts ranging from Thompson's The Seasons to moral miscellanies such as Mrs. Bonhote's The Parental Monitor In another such moralizing text, the Lady's Miscellany , we find "On True Happiness, an Epistle Written to a Young Lady in the Country," a poem which prompts a heroine to avoid the "earth":.
True happiness is not the growth of earth, The toil is fruitless if you seek it there; 'Tis an exotic of celestial birth, And never blooms but in celestial air. Conduct books, advice manuals and polemics such as the ones I have cited here by Wright, Bonhote, and Polwhele steal women's sexuality, only to thrust it back at them in a contorted form.
That is, they do not eradicate it, but return it in a way that incites the imagination to interpret sexuality as stimulating but negative, all the while rendering it a pleasure prohibited to the body. In Catharine , the extent to which Mrs. Pervical tries to regulate her niece's access to and feelings for this "bower" suggests the force of its threat, and the extent to which she fails to control what she cannot reach implies the power of its capacity for liberation. In an environment of such repression and stimulation, advice literature functions like a stimulating drug in itself, one that urges young—and even elderly—women to distrust their sexuality and internalize it as a parasitical danger to their bodies.
Through Aunt Percival, Austen concentrates not on the ways conduct literature can function positively to liberate female pleasure, but instead on the way mildly pornographic conduct book materials encourage the imagination to retain a hyper-attenuated focus on the perverse qualities of women's sexuality.
Aunt Percival has internalized the ideology that women are both sexually voracious and in need of constant surveillance in order to control their erotic gluttony. Though the aunt's body remains chaste, her imagination is sexually active, a process that makes her miserable, and though I would not call this "liberation," it can be understood as a process that evades cultural constraints while simultaneously embodying them.
Catharine suggests that the "sexualized imagination" is vicious only when repression perversely stimulates it. Because she has no empirical proof that Kitty "cannot withstand temptation," Mrs. Percival uses an object, the bower, to materialize and thereby control her niece's sexuality. And because her idea of this lovely grove is, like Polwhele's, a place of "loose desires" Polwhele 25 , she first simply tries to keep Kitty out of this refuge and in her own parlor , but later, once Stanley arrives, she decides she must destroy the bower.
Percival's reaction becomes excessive as she bloats this lovely, sensuous place of contemplation and reverie into a damp, vicious disease-ridden environment. Standing in the bower with Kitty to chastise her for allowing Stanley to kiss her hand, her aunt begins to feel a chill and exclaims that she "must and will have that arbour pulled down—it will be the death of me; who knows now , but what I may never recover—Such things have happened" Thus, in laboring to control Kitty, Mrs.
Pervical must necessarily attempt to imagine what her niece imagines, and this process, indeed, causes precisely the "profound epistemological panic" Sha describes when she cannot differentiate between her own "virtual sensations" and Kitty's "empirical experiences.
The vicious accusations she levels against her niece to Stanley's father clearly reflect the aunt's inabilities to differentiate between empirical facts and her own "virtual sensations. Her intimacies with Young Men are abominable, and it is all the same to her who it is, no one comes amiss to her. I assure you Sir, that I have seen her sit and laugh and whisper with a young man whom she has not seen above half a dozen times.
Her behavior indeed is scandalous, and therefore I beg you will send your son away immediately, or everything will be at sixes and sevens. To sit and laugh and whisper is to act in an "impudent," "scandalous," and "abominable way. Her use of the word "vicious" suggests Kitty indulges in all manner of vices. Despite the elder lady's imaginative sexual surplus, no romance in fact materializes, though Stanley kisses Kitty's hand while the aunt watches—expressly to torment Mrs.
Austen's unfinished novel simply stops with Stanley having left for France, leaving Catharine as chaste as he found her. Finally, because those fantasies function at odds with the Catharine we meet, the aunt's imaginings also call the niece's supposed perversity into question and set into motion another set of visualizations about Catharine's sexuality, these more playful and appealing, the kind of normative expectations of much Romantic-era medical advice: "that love enhances bodily pleasure" qtd in Sha, Significantly, in the story Catharine can physically control manifesting her erotic desires, but her Aunt cannot control her own sexual fantasies.
Austen thereby achieves the effect of normalizing heterosexual desire and pathologizing sexual repression while also expressing what must have been her poor opinion of the success such moral stories had in repressing women's sexuality or their desires. The Juvenila's heroines try to emancipate themselves by stealing "back" what their culture denies them. Whether they succeed or not, Austen herself succeeds in using their criminality to explore the violence of normative social relations during her era.
Because these stories link theft and sexuality, they suggest that these women are indeed stealing in order to retain, express, or regain their libidinal powers, and this is a point Austen continues to pursue in later novels, especially in Sense and Sensibility and Emma. Lucy Steele's last name blatantly calls attention to her identity as a thief of husbands, tithes, and fortunes , and Austen casts her as a shrewd little vixen, who steals by seducing the entire Ferrars family, from younger son to haughty mother.
In Emma , Harriet Smith confesses that during the height of their illusory courtship, she had purloined "the end of an old pencil,—the part without any lead" from Elton. But one morning—I forget exactly the day—but perhaps it was the Tuesday or Wednesday before that evening , he wanted to make a memorandum in his pocket-book; it was about spruce beer. Knightley had been telling him something about brewing spruce beer, and he wanted to put it down; but when he took out his pencil, there was so little lead that he soon cut it all away, and it would not do, so you lent him another, and this was left upon the table as good for nothing.
But I kept my eye on it; and, as soon as I dared, caught it up, and never parted with it again from that moment.
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Here the normally passive Harriet slyly pounces at her first opportunity to secure some thing of the man she loves, a foreshadowing that renders less surprising her later assertive pursuit of Knightley, of whom she too has experienced a part —a dance. The drama of this event, her nervous anticipation, the risky, breathtaking moment when she "caught it up," the sexual implication of the pen cil, the association between actual seduction and stealing the bodily metonymy—and then the blank emptiness, literally and figuratively, of the object, all underscore the fetishistic nature of her act.
Taught to love a man with no "lead"—that is, no substance either of character or sexual potency—she steals an appropriate metonym, one that speaks for its inability to record a receipt for spruce beer, let alone produce a courtship narrative. As I have been arguing throughout this essay, the characters in these early works divide quite loosely into two categories, those who internalize cultural violence Ronell 93 and those who eject this constructed rage against women: Alice from "Jack and Alice" and Eloisa and Charlotte from Lesley Castle fall into this first category.
Aunt Pervical also internalizes cultural rage but then projects outward onto her niece. In this section, I will be discussing the heroines who externalize their rage. Sophia, for example, from Love and Friendship warns Laura not to absorb social hostility or self-recrimination by fainting, but instead to disgorge the shame or pain and "Run mad as often as you chuse" In Aberrations of Mourning , Laurence A.
Rickels explains Karl Abraham's idea that mania "revers[es]" the "retentive tendency of melancholia":. Whereas in melancholia the ego is vampirized by the introjected object, in mania the libido turns with ravenous hunger to the external world of objects; whatever appears before the manic's rapidly advancing probe is swallowed. But this pleasurable swallowing during the manic phase, which succeeds the melancholic's sense that he is excluded from the world of objects as though disinherited, corresponds to an equally rapid, equally pleasurable expulsion of the briefly retained objects and impressions.
In "The Beautifull Cassandra" , we observe the heroine "turning with ravenous hunger to the external world of objects. She does not just eat her ices, she "devours" them, and, in this sense, Austen's misspelling of "Beautifull" in the title of this short piece is apt insofar as it emphasizes the heroine's desire, here as throughout the Juvenilia, to "fill" herself, as she acts from a sense of deprivation or a sense of vibrant yearnings. When expected to pay after devouring her ices, Cassandra does not cower in the face of her crime, but aggressively spurns any responsibility for acknowledging or agreeing with the contract between selling and purchasing.
Her physical strength seems prodigious here, as she "knock[s] down the cook" and then nonchalantly "walk[s] away," rather than running in fear. Though offering some sort of reparation, this act of placing a female hat upon a man's head also blatantly disgenders him, as when Lydia Bennet, a later instantiation of these same energies, dresses up Chamberlayn as a woman in Pride and Prejudice. Cassandra is also "paying" the coachman with stolen goods—turning a purloined commodity into a kind of counterfeit currency, and thereby doubling her crime.
The need to consume and the simultaneous inability to buy lead her to steal, a variant form of consumption. Elaine S. Abelson points out that for female thieves, "shoplifting was a form of consumer behavior" It is, perhaps, this very gamble with an entire social identity that compels her, the unconscious need to establish the fraudulence of inherited wealth and social position.
Thus the difference between buying and stealing. This last sentence, a parody of sensibility, no doubt, suggests less the presence of guilt at being on the street and enjoying private pleasures that have suddenly become public, but instead the need to imagine and even make an adventure where there is none, to live an adventurous—and in this example, erotic fiction. The word spent, here, intimates how her adventures and crimes connote a physical excess that has consumed, yet satisfied her.
Though according to eighteenth-century law, Austen's heroines, Cassandra in particular, generate enough "excitement" to be arrested for several capital crimes, their escape from any sanction for their malefactions is consistent with the historical record of how women were punished, despite the fact that they violate customary gender roles. Cassandra, Eliza, Laura and Sophia and so many more of the heroines of Austen's Juvenilia transgress, in the active sense of that word: they "walk" outside of the boundaries prescribed to them according to their gender, class, and age.
In doing so, they enter into what Bryan Reynolds, in Becoming Criminal , calls "transversal territory" insofar as they strive to "transcen[d], fractur[e], or displac[e] the constantly affirmed world of subjective territory" When Sophia, from Love and Friendship is caught stealing a banknote, she cries "Wretch. Because Cassandra's actions in part seem unintelligible, her own and the other heroines' sense of self-righteousness sounds sociopathic, if not anarchical; however, insofar as they escape punishment, Austen is presenting a historically accurate view of the criminal justice system, since, according to Frank McLynn, women.
On capital charges, they were more likely than men to be acquitted, more likely to be found guilty on a reduced charge, and if convicted more likely to be reprieved. Only 12 per cent of the accused in the home countries in were female. Yet female acquittal and partial verdict rates were nearly 40 percent higher than average and their sentences relatively light, even when allowance is made for the fact that women tended to be accused of less violent crimes and less serious property offences.
But apart from murder, women convicted of capital crimes had a better chance than men did of escaping the gallows. Out of offenders executed in London and Middlesex in only seventeen were women. In the years , 80 percent of female offenders in property crimes in Surrey were reprieved. In Love and Friendship , Sophia, for example, though caught in the act of stealing a banknote from her cousin, is simply kicked out of the house, though he knows this is the fifth time she has stolen from him; in contrast, her husband, Augustus, is imprisoned at Newgate for having purloined money from his father.
McLynn goes on to explain, however, that women were treated leniently only if they followed the "unspoken rules of gender and sex roles"; if they instead acted "'mannishly,' aggressively, or without due deference" , they tended to be convicted and treated more harshly. From the point of view of eighteenth-century criminal history, both "Cassandra" and one of Austen's most notorious and thrilling fragments, about the serial killer Anna Parker, who finds love and wealth by the end of her one-epistle story, appear to manipulate those gender conventions in radical ways by being both "mannish" and yielding.
I murdered my father at a very early period of my Life, I have since murdered my Mother, and I am. But now I am going to reform. Given the delicious anarchy of this story, it may seem as if Anna emerges triumphant from her crimes because she acquiesces to gender conventions: she scrutinizes her "conduct" a conspicuous word here since it implies demeanor and not character , accepts her guilt, and now promises to change. More likely, however, is the probability that she is juggling those conventions by pretending to feel remorse only now that she is fully successful.
Further, whether she complies with or finesses the system, her letter also reveals the inefficacy of the kind of verbal whippings the conduct books and moral miscellanies mete out, since her awareness of her felonies does not guarantee her reform and her crimes do not lead to punishment.
To steal a bonnet is both to embrace a gender role taking the metonymic sign of femininity and transcend it, since it is acquired by anti-social means. Because she vanquishes such devitalizing influences single-handedly, however, this heroine's "day well spent" exposes how cultural rules—which strive to contract women's freedom and blunt their expressive capacity—fail.
The series of short stories has been re-designed by the Italian fashion house to be sold exclusively with the lion-esque handbag. A statement on the Gucci website explains the collaboration saying: "Each handbag will come with a small, pocket-sized book featuring a unique printed cover inspired by the collection. This detail dates back to the beginning of the century, when women often carried books in their handbags to read on public transportation to deter any unwanted suitors. The book Juvenilia is a compilation of short stories written by English writer Jane Austen during her teenage years from , a time during which she was free from censorship or societal pressure.