When giving us the history of Jane Fairfax, Emma by Jane Austen has this line:

Jane Fairfax was an orphan, the only child of Mrs Bates's youngest daughter. The marriage of Lieut. Fairfax, of the ——— regiment of infantry, and Miss Jane Bates, had had its day of fame and pleasure, hope and interest; but nothing now remained of it, save the melancholy remembrance of him dying in action abroad—of his widow sinking under consumption and grief soon afterwards—and this girl.
Emma, chapter XX

In my copy, there is one solid line about the length of three em-dashes instead of the name or number of the regiment.

Why is this censored in this way? If Austen didn't want to specify, why not just write around it - "Lieut. Fairfax of an infantry regiment"? Was this changed at some point in editing?

Why is this censored in this way?

  • 3
    See this question and its answers for the convention of using a dash to indicate a (pretended) censorship of a name, place, or date. Commented May 2, 2023 at 15:03
  • @GarethRees Does that mean this question should be closed as a duplicate? What is the convention here, when the questions are about two different works but the answers are the same?
    – MJ713
    Commented May 2, 2023 at 15:55
  • 3
    @MJ713 This is the Literature Stack Exchange and so there is always something specific to say about a technique in the context of a particular work, so there's nothing wrong with leaving this question open in the hope of getting such an answer. Commented May 2, 2023 at 17:14
  • @verbose - see the Meta question linked above, which happens to be specifically about this question
    – Mithical
    Commented May 15, 2023 at 6:54
  • Yes, but in this case the answer to that question is entirely applicable to this one. A fresh answer to this q would simply rehash those points. Unless you can provide a specific example or two where what’s going on with this usage in Emma isn’t explained by the answer to that q, it’s the same question and will get the same answer.
    – verbose
    Commented May 15, 2023 at 7:08


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