11/18/2005

Literature

Well, I am going to go see Pride and Prejudice tonight with a friend from church. I actually enjoy this story by Austen and maybe Persuasion (and a few others were ok) but I am not a crazy Austen fan. I think she is too flighty, a bit too petty, and somewhat snobby. I tried reading Emma this past spring and I just could not finish it. I thought Emma was so snobbish that I was not interested in her at all. I still have not seen the movie and I am sure I am missing out.

I was talking to a friend the other night and we were discussing literature. She was confessing to me that she is not an Austen fan either and she loves Bronte and Dostoyevsky.I do think the divide is there with Austen fans and non-Austen fans. I am right there. I have read some Bronte (I enjoyed Jane Eyre and Vilette and Wuthering Heights by Emily) and I have read a few things by Dostoyevsky, and I love him as well. I love the dark side of literature---I think the side that makes you think a little more. I don't see a lot of literary symbols in Austen, just a sort of romantic fluff. But perhaps I am wrong. My pet author is Hardy, so if any of you know of Thomas Hardy you will know why I am not too keen on Austen. I can't even begin to describe Hardy to you if you have never read him. He is full of irony, tragedy, and nothing ever goes right. He is a bit hard to read at first (he is noted as the "King of Description") but I find his descriptions so full of all those things you have tried to say but have never had the words. The Return of the Native is my favorite novel by this man. I went through a period (a number of years ago) when I just wanted to read his stuff and I read all the novels. I am just finishing up all the short stories now.

I think the best thing I like about Hardy is the fact that he knew women. He loved women and he knew them. He depicted them perfectly. When I read about Eustacia Vye (from ROTN) I saw myself. I think that is what good literature is---it is real, not fake. An author who has the ability to express things correctly to an audience obviously outside himself is a gifted person. I think Hardy is that man. A true artist. But that is my opinion.


So all you rabid Austen fans don't bite me. Just accept me, ok, I am really a nice person.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rachel,

I hope you like the movie. It's quite entertaining. I love Jane yet I agree with you about Emma. I've tried and I've tried to read it but I just can't get through it. Give me Jane Eyre any day over Emma. Have a great day!!
Caley

Anonymous said...

Rachel-

I am a huge Hardy fan. We need to start a Hardy book club.

Yes, "Emma" is painful to read. "Northanger Abbey " is my personal Austen fave.

Here's my theory of the Austen movie phenomenon. The beauty of her writing is her biting social commentary. The pettiness and mundane details are really brilliant because she is mocking society of that day. So when the BBC made P&P, they included all that wit. But the sheer beauty of Mr. Darcy overshadowed much of the dialog, and this new P&P began with that basic premise: the lure of the story is the sex-appeal of Mr. Darcy. That's why this new film is so sensual, and not as witty. But still quite enjoyable!

Anyway, those are my early afternoon thoughts!

~miriam

R said...

Never knew there were other Hardy fans out there; we are a rare breed.
I am on a Hardy list "Wessex tales" but I don't have a lot of time to read when they are reading. They are reading all the works of Hardy in sequencial order, which is pretty cool. It is fun to comment once in awhile on personal thoughts or just some general Hardy information. What books have you read?

It does not surprise me that Hollywood wishes to put the sensuality of the novel out there. I did appreciate P&P for the underlying fun poked at the high society, but I just can't get into that kind. It just seems less dense somehow. Hardy, on the other hand (it is not fair to compare Austen to Hardy, I know)looks down on society without being "witty" (with the exception of The Hand of Ethelberta). He takes a very serious and sober approach---almost angry. Well, I guess you could just say anger blazing underneath. When he brought his first (never published) novel to publishers, the man doing the proof reading (George Meredith, I believe) advised him that this book (The Poor Man and the Lady) was too full of angst toward society and although it may be founded, he would be labeled a rebel right away and never will be successful. So, he wrote another novel akin to the popular novelists of his day (namely Wilkie Collins) called Desperate Remedies and that was recieved well. He continued with Under the Greenwood Tree, which is lighthearted and very pastoral. He slowly worked his way into popularity (although he never really did gain a lot of acceptance because of his dark themes---his anger at the society, and Jude the Obscure topped the cake. He quit after that.) Poetry from then on.

I do like the scene in P&P where Elizabeth is filthy after walking to someone's house (I can't remember whose house to be honest). That was a great scene.

Mindi said...

Sad to say, I have never read a Hardy novel, but I love the movie, Emma. We own it, and Abby and re-watch it from time to time. There is an element of her personality that reminds me of Anne of Green Gables in that she has a quick response, which although socially polite, puts obnoxious people in their places. I have always wanted to be able to do that in a concise and urbane way. I realize that is not a noble desire, but if I am honest, it is there nonetheless. The male lead, whose name and character escapes me, often puts Emma in her place with the same skillful expertise.