Saturday, 28 December 2013

If You Are Shocked, You Have Missed The Point. But Jane Austen Invented Minge Topiary


One is l'Origine du Monde, by Gustave Courbet, 1866; the other is Le Sommeil, also Courbet, 1866. They’re worth seeing. Unless intimate female nudity and/or mildly homosexual activity offend you; in which case, Go Away. Go away now: you’re reading the wrong blog. There’s another blog just over there about kittens, or prejudice, or something. You’ll like that one better.

Meanwhile, for the rest of us…

A Collection of Musings on the Entirely Imaginary Rude Bits in the Novels of Jane Austen

Chapter One: Mansfield Park

My name, if needs I must become a Lady of the Night

Would be not Belle du Jour, mais non, but rather, Fanny Price

© Muriel Lavender, Summer 2013 

Jane Austen invented Minge Topiary.

Regency Ladies. Genteel.
The clues are everywhere in her work. From Mr Bingley’s home in Pride & PrejudiceNetherfield – to Marianne Dashwood’s exclamation in Sense & Sensibility, ‘I can barely keep my hands warm even in my muff!’ I could go on; but Mansfield Park is the champion. It’s stuffed with minge jokes. No? Well, here you are – these are quotes:

"My Fanny, indeed, at this very time, I have the satisfaction of knowing, must have been happy in spite of everything"

"William… more than once tried to make his father think of Fanny"

And my personal favourite,

"Come, mother, you have hardly looked at your own dear Fanny yet"

The novel was itself named after a particular 18th-Century fashion in minge topiary.  Capability Brown may have started out as a landscape gardener, but after he collaborated with Austen, he found considerable success amongst the fashionable ladies of society as a LadyGardener.  For evidence, there’s the letter Austen famously wrote to her sister Cassandra from Bath, in 1802:

“I have an appointment on Thursday next, to have my grounds laid out by an improver [see?]. Miss Perkins favours the Brazilian, but I do not care for these Colonial fashions. I shall get a Mansfield Park, as I always do.”

She wrote thus, while staying in Queen Square – which is, incidentally, another style she could have gone for.  Or a Trim Street. Or a South Parade. Or a – [that’s enough, Mu]

Austen scholars debate the potential rude bits endlessly – did she mean this, was she talking about that; from the 'well-hung curtains' of Persuasion, to the 'Rears and Vices' again of Mansfield Park. They have all overlooked the filthiest joke of them all, which also occurs in Mansfield Park. Considering how desperate some factions seem to be to prove that Jane Austen was engaged in an incestuous Lesbian affair with Cassandra*– considering how much they like to say it, I’m surprised no-one seems to have noticed this particular little pleasure but me. I don’t agree with them; but I wrote this anyway. I call it  ‘Love and Freindship’, because I consider that to be an appropriately provocative title.

A delicious fact, to me
From Gray’s Anatomy:
The soft cup in front 
Of which sits 
The clitoris
Is quaintly named;
Jane Austen writes
Of the delightful
“Sight of Miss Fanny Price
Dripping with wet
In the vestibule…”
Scholars long to imbue
Miss Austen’s works with a Sapphic hue
Perhaps a very gentle blue
Forgive me
But it’s true

© Muriel Lavender
July 2012 - November 2013

Le Sommeil, Gustave Courbet, 1866
l'Origine du Monde, Gustave Courbet, 1866

 *Seriously? Because she never married? Oh, of course that makes her a Lesbian. I believe there is a certain variety of internet meme wherein such a statement would be followed up with the phrase, ‘Bitch Please’

**Incidentally, do you know how hard it is to find pictures of Regency ladies getting it on?  You know, without having to search for a particular kind of niche porn? I am grateful to Mr L who spent some time searching for suitable artwork with with to illustrate this blog entry; I’m delighted with those he found. I love Courbet. And footnotes.

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