"It's written that way"

Tarja Rainio vierran at saunalahti.fi
Mon Jul 10 14:23:22 EDT 2000


on 10.7.2000 17:11, Britta Koch at bkoch at rz.uni-osnabrueck.de wrote:

> Thank you! I'm not an analytic reader either, though I enjoyed the
> seminar on Jane Austen and the questions we pondered. I find it has
> something to do with being asked the right questions...

That's true. My lazy mind often works only when questioned or challenged.
It's so easy to read books (watch tv etc.) just at face value and never to
question further on the issues presented in what you read/watch. I really
noticed this when I recently read Dorothy Dunnett's Game of Kings for the
first time. It's the first part of her historical Lymond chronicles. She
packs so much information (history, poilitical situation at the time,
literary quotations & allusions, etc.etc.) into her books and does *not*
make it easy for the reader to absorb all the information that it took a
while to get used to the style (I guess my brain wasn't used to *think*
about what it read ;-)), and now that I'm involved in a group read of this
book, I am constantly amazed at all the things I missed when I rushed
through the book on my first read of it =).

I guess this true also with some DWJ books: on the first read you just rush
through them to find out "what-happens-next", but when you reread the book,
you may notice completely new things or more layers or more complexity in
it.
 
>> Real people *are* more mixed, but in writing a novel (especially at Austen's
>> time) it may have been more conventional to resort to types and
>> counter-types. I think her genius was in creating several very real
>> characters, good or bad, though the bad ones may sometimes have been more
>> stereotypic/cardboardy than the good ones.
> 
> I was aware of that... it's in Belinda by Fanny Burney, too - just if
> you have an "overdose of Austen", you get the impression that there are
> too many stupid people ;)

Yes, I guess that is true. Her heroines are usually such excellent and
intelligent people surrounded by such negative or charicaturesque (?)
characters that it is easy to think so. Still, I think even some of her
villains are presented as real people as for example Mr. Wickham in Pride
and Prejudice or Anne's father in Persuasion.

>> p.s. As an active frequenter of the Republic of Pemberley -web site
>> (www.pemberley.com) I just had to defend her =).
> 
> I'll have to check that URL out... and I do like Austen very much, else
> I wouldn't have taken that seminar - it's outside my curriculum!

Yes, do. It is a very friendly place and I think you might like it. All its
boards are monitored, so there usually aren't any offensive or unfriendly
posts present. Do check the Newcomers pages first and then the newcomers
board, since there are some guidelines on how to behave on the site (this
also applies to all others who might be interested on the site).

Best,
Tarja

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