Guest Post: Stay the Course

11 Comments

  1. Yes. Thank you.
    Bought my first “compleat” Shakespeare at age 12.
    Maybe there’s hope for me.

  2. Yes. Thank you.
    Bought my first “compleat” Shakespeare at age 12.
    Maybe there’s hope for me.

  3. I bought my first Jane Austen when I was 11, I think. Completely because of that PBS show, Wishbone. I’ve never looked back.

  4. I bought my first Jane Austen when I was 11, I think. Completely because of that PBS show, Wishbone. I’ve never looked back.

  5. I have to confess that while I appreciate that lots of people are inspired by her, I am not a great Jane Austen fan (and that’s a bit of an understatement, actually). I was forced to read Northanger Abbey when I was at school, and found it filled with unbelievable and unbelievably shallow characters.

    There were at least two obvious reasons for my resistance to her. I was male (still am) and couldn’t associate with what I then considered exclusively ‘girlie’ literature (and maybe still do), but I was also spoilt by the quality of the other stuff we were studying at the same time – Shakespeare, Hardy, Orwell, etc.

    I still suspect there is a third reason – that she’s really not as good as she’s cracked up to be – and I’m trying to work up enough enthusiasm to give her a second chance. But it’s not easy.

  6. I have to confess that while I appreciate that lots of people are inspired by her, I am not a great Jane Austen fan (and that’s a bit of an understatement, actually). I was forced to read Northanger Abbey when I was at school, and found it filled with unbelievable and unbelievably shallow characters.

    There were at least two obvious reasons for my resistance to her. I was male (still am) and couldn’t associate with what I then considered exclusively ‘girlie’ literature (and maybe still do), but I was also spoilt by the quality of the other stuff we were studying at the same time – Shakespeare, Hardy, Orwell, etc.

    I still suspect there is a third reason – that she’s really not as good as she’s cracked up to be – and I’m trying to work up enough enthusiasm to give her a second chance. But it’s not easy.

  7. I think with Northanger Abbey, you have to keep in mind that the book was a satire of the hugely popular gothic romances of the time. The point was to be shallow and unbelievable because that was the point of the other books.

    And in all honesty, it’s not a big deal if you don’t like Austen, most men don’t for one reason or another (simple rebellion may be one reason, since women love her so much). There is something very personable and real about how Austen writes for women. Men won’t get that, not being women themselves.

    There is always the possibility Austen isn’t as good as she’s proclaimed to be. The same thing happens to modern authors. Dan Brown? I found his writing amateur and sensationalist, while the rest of the nation drooled over him. J.K. Rowling? I liked the books, but I never thought they were as intensely thrilling as some of my peers. Everyone has an opinion, and some people only have an opinion because it is the popular one. To each his own, I say.

    I like Austen not only because of her books, but also because of her life story. The context in which she writes is as important to me as the novels themselves, and not due to a romantic view of the past. Life was hard for women. Oftentimes, it still is. But Austen makes me smile through my own hard moments, and I remember how life for her was, and figure I can do at least as well as she did. So there are my own reasons for liking her. Other readers will, of course, have differing reasons for liking/disliking her, and that’s what makes a great conversation.

  8. I think with Northanger Abbey, you have to keep in mind that the book was a satire of the hugely popular gothic romances of the time. The point was to be shallow and unbelievable because that was the point of the other books.

    And in all honesty, it’s not a big deal if you don’t like Austen, most men don’t for one reason or another (simple rebellion may be one reason, since women love her so much). There is something very personable and real about how Austen writes for women. Men won’t get that, not being women themselves.

    There is always the possibility Austen isn’t as good as she’s proclaimed to be. The same thing happens to modern authors. Dan Brown? I found his writing amateur and sensationalist, while the rest of the nation drooled over him. J.K. Rowling? I liked the books, but I never thought they were as intensely thrilling as some of my peers. Everyone has an opinion, and some people only have an opinion because it is the popular one. To each his own, I say.

    I like Austen not only because of her books, but also because of her life story. The context in which she writes is as important to me as the novels themselves, and not due to a romantic view of the past. Life was hard for women. Oftentimes, it still is. But Austen makes me smile through my own hard moments, and I remember how life for her was, and figure I can do at least as well as she did. So there are my own reasons for liking her. Other readers will, of course, have differing reasons for liking/disliking her, and that’s what makes a great conversation.


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