On Jane Austen

Justine Larbalastier reread Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. She’s super smart, so go read her posts!

Like Larba (ooo, bad nickname), Persuasion is my favorite Austen. The passion, man, the passion. It’s gorgeous. And the older, more mature characters. Larba describes the main character perfectly: “if I ever write a romantic heroine as strong and principled and honourable yet not boring or annoying as Anne Elliot then I will die a very happy writer.” AUGH! I am not capable of talking about this book intelligently, because it is amazing. And I haven’t read it in a long time.

I do have a soft spot for Northanger Abbey, but I can’t argue with Larba’s point that the romantic pairing is pretty unequal, as much of it as I remember, anyway. Of course, that says something about our culture that we prize the virtues of Mr. Tilney more than we prize what we see as the non-virtues of Catherine. Normally I’m the one arguing against purity, innocence, and naivety as ideals for young women, but I think that it’s maybe a bit extreme to say that she has nothing to teach Mr. Tilney. But I haven’t read this one in a long while either, and unlike Persuasion, I’ve only read it once.

A quick recap on the others: P&P probably clocks in in second place (what is with the cultural obsession to rate things? bizarre, I tell you) and, it being the most well known Austen, I don’t think I have to say anything about why it’s amazing. NA probably comes in third, because while the romantic pairing is unequal, it is laugh-out-loud funny, Mr. Tilney is amazing (he’s my second favorite hero after Captain Wentworth from Persuasion), and it is a rather wonderful parody/response to the Gothic romance novels of the day. Emma in fourth, because I am squicked by the romance (I fell for it while I was reading it, but then squicked out again as soon as I set it down) and because I think here the unequal pairing bothers me more than in NA (possibly because I have read it more recently). Mr. Tilney is amused by Catherine, but Mr. Knightley acts like Emma’s father which is far more disturbing to me. MP in fifth, because I cannot stand Fanny or Edmund. And I have never read Sense and Sensibility. I should get on that. *runs off to Daily Lit*

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One thought on “On Jane Austen

  1. I’m a horrible English major – the only Austen I’ve ever read has been Pride and Prejudice, though I have Northanger Abbey sitting on my shelf, looking at me accusatorily. I tried reading Mainsfield Park once, but Fanny was a bit dull. Reading this, it sounds like I need to get myself a copy of Persuasion.

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