Lit. Crit. (was: Re: More than you ever wanted to know (was Re: answers from Diana))

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at indigo.ie
Mon Jun 4 15:21:34 EDT 2001


Philip:

>What it really came down to, in my case, was that Some Authors Are 
>Not For Some
>Readers.  Like Ven, I don't like Jane Austen.  Her books may be 
>wonderful, as my
>mother - and Hallie, who persuaded me to try one - insist.


Oh dear.  I'm being outed!  Not as a Janeite - even back in the bad 
days of my Awful Boyfriend the Joycean English Major I didn't hide 
being an avid Austen fan (This is an obDWJ ref. here folks.  The AB 
as recurring character in DWJ came up for discussion ages ago. 
Elise's beat mine, iirc by being named Julian. :)).  But appearing to 
be a *fanatic* must be A Bad Thing.

FWIW, I am well aware that All Authors Are Not etc.- either version 
will do.  And I hope I didn't appear to be arguing against your 
reaction to JA, Ven.   Had you said you read Persuasion and found it 
boring, or dreary, or moralistic, I wouldn't even have blinked. 
Well, maybe that's not quite true, but I wouldn't have insisted the 
book was wonderful because I find it wonderful. No, really!

It's somewhat as if a friend had told you she hated DWJ because she'd 
read F&H and  having been told that Polly was pretty much DWJ 
herself, felt that Polly was hateful as she was just rottenly 
unsympathetic to Ivy.  That Ivy, having been cheated on by her 
husband would of course have deserved much more understanding.  With 
all the been-there-done-that-got-the-scars-to-prove-it fellow feeling 
in the world, I'd still feel that this view of Ivy and Polly just 
isn't derivable from F&H.  Again, if this friend said she didn't like 
F&H, or found it too confusing, or didn't like Polly, I'd be sad but 
unsurprised.

I really am well and truly aware of the fact that my reactions to 
books and characters therein are not necessarily going to bear any 
close approximation to the reactions of others.  Becca is pretty much 
the only exception - we have almost frighteningly similar reactions 
to books we read - almost frightening for two - em - rather 
opinionated people that is!  I am currently trying to get my mother 
to read Bellwether.  Becca said we'll just have to get out our 
friendly neighbourhood Hit-Man if she makes too many snitty remarks. 
:)

Hallie.


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