A very nice essay about Jane Austen as a didactic moralist FTW -

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/the_completist/2013/04/jane_austen_books_ranked_and_reconsidered_from_emma_to_persuasion.html

It's been a very long time since I've written an Austen essay (I am especially fond of my defense of Mansfield Park, a novel that I actually dislike). I still love Persuasion the most, though I think Waldman is correct in her criticisms. And I suspect Emma is her "best" novel, though I can never get over my dislike of the protagonist.

My theory on Austen is that her moralism is actually what makes her great. She is expression, for the first time, in novel format, the way young women were adopting philosophy into their lives.

Waldman comes perilously close to another essay I would like to write, 'In Praise of Didacticism' in which I'd like to take apart the fact that in spite of saying that we hate it, this is expected and novels that lack it (say Dangerous Liaisons) are frequently those that come up for censure.

Also, one of these days I have got to write something about Madame Bovary. In fact, I frequently feel Madame Bovary as well as House of Mirth are due for an update. They strike me as very NOW kind of books in their discussion of moral, social & economic bankruptcy.
I just found a Pride & Prejudice boardbook, which I bought, not because I think it's appropriate for children, but because it was so clever. Designed as a counting primer it works like this:

1 english village
2 rich gentlemen (Bingley & Darcy)
3 houses (Longbourn, Netherfield, Pemberley)
4 marriage proposals (Mr Collins & Lizzy; Mr. Darcy & Lizzy - 1st time; Mr. Darcy & Lizzy - 2nd time; Mr. Bingley & Jane)
5 sisters (Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, Lydia)
6 horses (?)
7 soldiers in uniform
8 musicians (FIIIIIIVE golden riiiiiings!)
9 fancy gowns

and then.... this one just kills me...

10,000 pounds a year!

I love it. They capture the whole plot in a children's counting book.
At Letter Blocks in honor of her birthday today: How I came to love Jane Austen and why her work still matters.

http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Letter-Blocks-The-BN-Parents-and/Jane-Austen-for-Youth-Readers/ba-p/759762

See my 'austen' tag for more on the topic, though I suspect there's more Austen hidden in the archives that I haven't, yet, rediscovered or tagged:

http://zalena.livejournal.com/tag/austen
For [livejournal.com profile] ashfae who has always liked it, and for [livejournal.com profile] sakuratea who has not:

Read more... )
I'd promised someone a post on Jane Austen in Love, but as I was composing it, I realized it had already been written. The essays in the book add a little to this subject, but there was no great revelation for me, save one.

Persuasion )

12th Night )
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JANE! I picked up a copy of this book for [profile] srotu27 and decided I wanted to read (and write about) it myself. I'm not sure if the following constitutes spoilers, but it is some reflection on the most intriguing essays in the book. Please note, it's a little rough, but I wanted to put something up for the day.

--------------------------

"The first challenge you face when writing about Pride & Prejudice is to get through your first sentence without saying, "it is a truth universally acknowledged..." - Martin Amis (p83).

Indeed this phrase is one most the authors in this collection didn't bother to avoid, even when writing about Jane Austen's other works. At least one essay (I can't remember which one) acknowledges that this famous opening is NOT universal, it is the first clue Ms. Austen gives us that we have arrived in the land of comedy.

Read more... )

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