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An Attempt at a Calendar and a List of the Letters in Sanditon


Sanditon is the most fragmentary of the three novels left unfinished by Austen. There is an argument that Lady Susan is finished in its way; and there is much in the draft of The Watsons to demonstrate it is the product of several revisions and much thought.

Sanditon exists as a draft begun in January 1817 and abandoned on 18 March 1817. On 18 July Austen died. Except for Brian Southam's discussion in his Jane Austen's Literary Manuscripts and Chapman's work, there has been little scholarship upon Sanditon until recently. There are occasional very good essays in larger books or collections: Alistair Duckworth's closing chapter in his The Improvement of the Estate and Tony Tanner's final essay in his volume Jane Austen are worth looking at. Last year's meeting JASNA focused on Sanditon, and there are 20 very good essays on Sandition; see Persuasions, 9 (1997), pp. 60-243.


1746
Lady Denham born; she is 70 in 1816 (Penguin 165)
1759
The year when Mr Heywood began to live in Willingden; perhaps the year of his birth? (Penguin 157)
1776
Lady Denham (nee Miss Brereton) 30, marries Mr Hollis (Penguin 165)
1814
Until 2 years ago the Parkers lived in old house; since then they have been in Trafalgar House; since he now wishes he'd named it Waterloo, the year must be before 1815, but not too far before (Penguin 169)

2 years ago Miss Diana Parker called on Mrs Sheldon when her coachmen sprained his foot; Miss Parker rubbed his ancle for 6 hours without intermission, and he was well in 3 days (Penguin 175)

1815, A year ago, July:
not a lodger in the village (Penguin 172)
Less than a year earlier, Michaelmas
Lady Denham obliged to go to London; sees bill after 3 days, outraged, and Hollis cousins present themselves as having a place for her to stay the necessary fortnight; she invites one of girls to come live with her for 6 months, and shows good side of her character by inviting Clara Brereton, a niece not a daughter so a dependent upon poverty (Penguin 168)
1816?
Opens "late in July" or height of new season (Penguin 172)

A twelvemonth ago Miss Clara Brereton had come to live at Denham Park (Penguin 167), last Michaelmas

An accident; two weeks pass; when we go to Sanditon we are told within a twelvemonth ago Miss Brereton had come to live with Lady Denham at Michaelmas (Penguin 166)

For "a whole fortnight" Mr and Mrs Parker fixed at Willingden (Penguin 161)

They travel home, taking 22 year old Charlotte Heywood (Penguin 164) with them, and before dinner, Mr Parker looks over his letters (Penguin 173)

Letter from Miss Diana Parker to Mr Tom Parker; tells of how 2 years ago she rubbed a coachman's ancle for 6 hours and he was cured of a fall after 3 days; of how Susan Parker for 10 days endured 6 leeches a day; now has had 3 teeth drawn, fainted away twice this morning; fears sea air would be the death of her (Penguin 175-6, 198)

After dinner Parkers and Charlotte go to library, subscribe, walk; they meet Lady Denham and Clara Brereton, walk home because Lady Denham doesn't mind smooching tea from them (Penguin 177-8)

The very next morning:
Sir Edward Denham and his sister visit the Parkers and Charlotte (Penguin 182); Sir Edward spies Lady Denham out walking with Miss Brereton, follows them; Parkers go to Terrace and meet foursome (Penguin 183), both Charlotte's conversations with Sir Edward on literature, and that with Lady Denham on why she won't invite Miss Denham to Sanditon House occur on that day before dinner (Penguin end 190)
One day before
Diana Parker set out, three days before she arrived, she has letter from Mrs Charles Dupuis, assuring her Camberwell group is coming (Penguin 197)
Two days before Charlotte sees them,
Parkers set out; they set out at six in the morning (Penguin 193, 195)
Next day,
they set out from Chichester at six in the morning
Next or "One day, soon after Charlotte's arrival,"
and, "after having been contending for the last two hours with a very fine wind blowing directly on shore" (Penguin 192), she hurries back; Diana, Susan, and Arthur Parker have arrived, travelling two nights from their home; Diana comes to tell of arrival, Arthur gone from hotel to secure lodgings in Terrac (Penguin 193-4); it is now only half past four, she can take a house for Mrs Griffiths before six when she and Susan and Arthur are to dine (Penguin 197); this is less than a week after Diana wrote her letter to Mr Parker telling him the sea air would be the death of her (Penguin 198); Mr and Mrs Parker dine at the hotel that night (Penguin 198)
On the next morning
Diana's plan is to take lodgings for herself, Susan, and Arthur directly after breakfast (Penguin 197); Diana has not sat down once in seven hours when Charlotte and Mr and Mrs Parker go to drink tea in the evening at new lodgings in one of the Terrace houses (Penguin 199); letter from Mrs Dupuis saying Camberwell lady on the way, a Mrs Griffiths, in charge of a Miss Lambe too (Penguin 204)
Ten days after Charlotte's arrival,
Mrs Parker and Charlotte set out at an early hour in order to visit Sanditon House, Mr Parker and Diana want them to nag Lady Denham into giving money, Diana off to shore to help Miss Lambe bathe, but will be back by one o'clock to put leeches on Susan; they meet Sidney Parker, just arrived from Eastbourne, will stay at hotel, to be joined by a friend or two (Penguin 208-9); carry on to Sanditon, see Clara and Sir Edward talking on a bank beyond the paling

Here are the Letters in Sanditon:
  1. Mid-July 1816, a letter from Mrs Griffiths, to Mrs Darling asking where on Sussex coast she should go (Penguin 194)
  2. Same time frame, a letter from Miss Capper, staying with Mrs Darling, to Fanny Noyce telling of Mrs Griffiths' desire (Penguin 194)
  3. Same time frame, a letter from Fanny Noyce, to Diana Parker, telling of Mrs Griffiths' desire (Penguin 194)
  4. By same post, a letter from Diana Parker, to Fanny Noyrce pressing for Sanditon for Mrs Griffiths (Penguin 194)
  5. Return letter from Fanny Noyce, to Diana Parker, that Mrs Griffiths and West Indians disposed to come (Penguin 194)
  6. Mid into later July 1816, a letter from Diana Parker, to Mr Parker; complete long text of letter given, telling of West Indian family and seminary coming to Sanditon, (Penguin 175-6)
  7. Three days before Diana Parker's arrival in Sanditon, letter from Mrs Charles Dupuis, to Diana, assuring her the Camberwell seminary is coming to Sanditon; we are to learn taht Camberwell seminary group is the same as Mrs Griffiths' (Penguin 197)
  8. On the same day, letter from Mrs Griffiths, to Mrs Darling now expressing doubts (Penguin 195)
  9. By return of post, letter from Mrs Darling, to Miss Capper repeating Mrs Griffiths' doubts to Mrs Darling (Penguin 195)
  10. By return of post, letter from Miss Capper, to Fanny Noyce repeating Mrs Griffiths' doubts to Mrs Darling (Penguin 195)
  11. Two days before Diana's arrival, letter from Fanny Noyce, to Diana telling of Miss Capper's letter describing Mrs Darling's letter about Mrs Griffiths' letter (Penguin 195)
  12. On day after Diana's arrival, and the Parkers ensconced at Terrace row and Diana receives letter from Mrs Griffiths, under cover of an introductory letters from Mrs Charles Dupuis, which letter shows 2 parties to come are one (Penguin 204)

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