For book two of our Jane Austen Book Club, my friends and I decided to conquer Emma(Amazon link). It has always been my least favorite of the six and reading Deresiewicz’s A Jane Austen Education both confirmed that and helped me get around this problem. His talking about Emma and it’s belief in the importance of every day trivialities, as well as Margaret Drabble’s excellent introduction led me to think about the book differently.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still boring as anything in most points, but Austen wrote it this way. According tot Drabble, Austen wrote this novel in such excruciating detail in direct response to the detractors of her previously published novel Mansfield Park, which I love. Drabble says, “This is domestic realism almost with a vengeance.” (xix) AND it is! The hyper focus on every detail, the incredibly limited scope of setting, characters and even conversation topics is overwhelmingly mundane. It is an assault on the senses, and as a fellow JABC member said “i’m diagnosing myself with ‘emma-induced narcolepsy.'” (Thanks Dalton!)
Continuing my “Jane-uary” theme, I’ve just finished Northanger Abbey in time for our Jane Austen Book Club (JABC) discussion, which was unfortunately postponed due to a blizzard here in Boston. In addition, this acts as my revitalization of my Classics Club attempt. I apparently only read two books last year. How embarrassing! I’ll read at least six this year with the JABC so that’s a bonus.
Let’s start with I’m ashamed to admit I forgot how absolutely lovable and amazing Henry Tilney is! This is one of the two Austen books I’ve only read once and that is will most definitely change in the future. On the scale of Austen heroes he’s always been lost in the non-Mr. Darcy fray for me. I think he is still behind Darcy, but his bookishness and (what I see as his) disdain for social norms made me laugh on numerous occasions!
So because I’m so tired and have been so busy I wanted to do something fun and easy. I’m not sure I’d call this either but here are my responses to the 50 Classic Club Questions. Yeah. Click here to continue reading.
The Classics Club moderators are keeping me out of my comfort zone this month and asking about poetry.
Let’s talk about classic poetry! Have you got a favorite classic poem? Do you read poetry? Why or why not? // You could also feature a poet or a book of poetry, rather than a poem.
Needless to say, I have very little to say about poetry. I didn’t enjoy it school and I don’t go out of my way to read it. There was a time period where I considered myself a poet (Don’t we all?), but I’ve never read a lot of it. I do love good use of poetry in a novel like in The French Lieutenant’s Woman:
The Classics Club moderators are really pushing us out of our comfort zone this month and I’m enjoying it, even if I can’t think of a great answer outside of the excellent example they provide! I might do another “avoid answering” by answering differently, as it’s where I’ve gone in my head.
Select two classics from your list (by different authors) that you have finished reading. Now switch the authors, and contemplate how each might have written the other’s book. For example, what if Charlotte Brontë had written David Copperfield, and Charles Dickens had written Jane Eyre? How might the style, focus and impact change in a work of literature by a different author’s pen? What about William Shakespeare writing Pride & Prejudice, and Jane Austen writing The Taming of the Shrew? Etc. If you discuss the story, please of course remember to warn folks plot details are forthcoming.