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Jane Austen insulted me Options
TheParser
Posted: Saturday, November 19, 2016 2:17:38 PM
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I never read fiction.

I read only non-fiction.

Today I opened my December, 2016, copy of Reader's Digest and discovered what Miss Austen had written about people like me:



"The person, be it a gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid."
Arto Kalliokoski
Posted: Saturday, November 19, 2016 2:56:36 PM
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This is a rather peculiar thought by Austen. One could think that a person who does not read fiction might be solemn but wiser than someone who exclusively reads fiction.
thar
Posted: Saturday, November 19, 2016 3:10:27 PM

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It isn't a quote from her! Brick wall

RD seems to have the same problem as Daemon - no idea of literature.

It is a line said by one of her characters!

Quote:

They determined on walking round Beechen Cliff, that noble
hill whose beautiful verdure and hanging coppice render it
so striking an object from almost every opening in Bath. Lol

"I never look at it," said Catherine, as they
walked along the side of the river, "without thinking
of the south of France."

"You have been abroad then?" said Henry, a little surprised.

"Oh! No, I only mean what I have read about.
It always puts me in mind of the country that Emily and her
father travelled through, in The Mysteries of Udolpho.
But you never read novels, I dare say?"

"Why not?"

"Because they are not clever enough for you--gentlemen
read better books."

"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not
pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.
I have read all Mrs. Radcliffe's works, and most of
them with great pleasure. The Mysteries of Udolpho,
when I had once begun it, I could not lay down again;
I remember finishing it in two days--my hair standing on end
the whole time."

"Yes," added Miss Tilney, "and I remember that you
undertook to read it aloud to me, and that when I was called
away for only five minutes to answer a note, instead of
waiting for me, you took the volume into the Hermitage Walk,
and I was obliged to stay till you had finished it."

"Thank you, Eleanor--a most honourable testimony.
You see, Miss Morland, the injustice of your suspicions.
Here was I, in my eagerness to get on, refusing to wait
only five minutes for my sister, breaking the promise
I had made of reading it aloud, and keeping her in
suspense at a most interesting part, by running away
with the volume, which, you are to observe, was her own,
particularly her own. I am proud when I reflect on it,
and I think it must establish me in your good opinion."

"I am very glad to hear it indeed, and now I shall
never be ashamed of liking Udolpho myself. But I really
thought before, young men despised novels amazingly."



Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen.


A modern version might be a teenager being obsessed with the Twilight films, and thinking anybody who didn't love them is stupid. Whistle
Although that is possibly not even his opinion. He must have read the novels, so clearly he enjoys them - But the statement is hyperbole - he is probably just saying it because the girl obviously loves that novel.

At the time, those Gothic novels with dark castles, evil baddies and heroines in danger were very popular. Nowadays they are despised as silly and melodramatic. Austen shares that opinion - her novels are about real, flawed characters who start off immature in some ways but learn from their mistakes.

Northanger Abbey has lots of satirical references to those silly novels - and the silly girls who read them - because the social mores at the time expected nothing more of girls, restricted their education and despised academic enquiry.
This is feminist satire.

Quote:
Though Northanger Abbey is one of Jane Austen's earliest novels, it was not published until after her death--well after she'd established her reputation with works such as Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility. Of all her novels, this one is the most explicitly literary in that it is primarily concerned with books and with readers. In it, Austen skewers the novelistic excesses of her day made popular in such 18th-century Gothic potboilers as Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho. Decrepit castles, locked rooms, mysterious chests, cryptic notes, and tyrannical fathers all figure into Northanger Abbey, but with a decidedly satirical twist. Consider Austen's introduction of her heroine: we are told on the very first page that "no one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be an heroine." The author goes on to explain that Miss Morland's father is a clergyman with "a considerable independence, besides two good livings--and he was not in the least addicted to locking up his daughters." Furthermore, her mother does not die giving birth to her, and Catherine herself, far from engaging in "the more heroic enjoyments of infancy, nursing a dormouse, feeding a canary-bird, or watering a rose-bush" vastly prefers playing cricket with her brothers to any girlish pastimes.

Source http://www.online-literature.com/austen/northanger/

Contemporary novel:



Modern analysis:


Edited, to correct error about which character said it.


These poor authors keep getting blamed for supposedly saying things they didn't say. And in this case it is even worse, because it is used satirically. The point is that she herself believed the exact opposite.
d'oh! Brick wall




TheParser
Posted: Saturday, November 19, 2016 4:24:49 PM
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thar wrote:
The point is that she herself believed the exact opposite.








Thank you SOOOO much. I feel much better now!
Gary98
Posted: Saturday, November 19, 2016 5:32:48 PM

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Many times fiction can be more real than non-fiction.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Saturday, November 19, 2016 5:56:02 PM

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Quote:
"Many times fiction can be more real than non-fiction."


Too often, TRUTH is found in fiction, but is censored from news articles, biographies and histories.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
thar
Posted: Sunday, November 20, 2016 6:16:02 AM

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Or
Non-fiction can show you the truth.
But
Fiction can explore real truths.

Whistle

Just not so much from Mrs Radcliffe.
But not much truth in some allegedly 'non-fiction' either! Whistle
Romany
Posted: Sunday, November 20, 2016 6:54:25 AM
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OK, I've expressed my opinions often enough by now on this subject on the TFD quote thread, but as this is the Literature thread I agree with Thar - "RD seems to have the same problem as Daemon - no idea of literature." - although, to be fair, the RD has never claimed to have anything to do with Literature.

But just taking random words from books - out of context, with no special knowledge of what the words were written to express, with no context towards one's own life or ethos, with no life lessons to be learned - seems not to have much purpose.

Austen's lasting fame is because of her sardonic take on life; all her stories are a kind of 'take off' of standard societal mores in her time. The fact that she was a woman expressing these thoughts is what sets her apart. Woman, at that time, were declared incapable of 'higher' thoughts. Stories about giant helmets appearing in courtyards, and lustful, rapist monks etc. were as ridiculous at the time when Science was going ahead in leaps and bounds as they are now.

But women were not considered clever enough to understand: indeed one or two women of the time who did manage to become recognised as having a brain were said to have 'Male' brains which would lead to a bad end. Whenever a woman who had strayed from the nonsense of 'Novels' into the male world of medicine or science or philosophy - no matter how they eventually died - had their deaths attributed to the fact that their brains couldn't take it, and were held up as 'cautionary tales' to show what happened to women who strayed from their 'suitable' reading matter of total nonsense!

Thus the quoted words, in a character's mouth, are the reflection of the conversations which were being held all over the country regarding Literature. Austin is doing what she does best: cleverly negotiating the space between what society rules, and her own scornful ideas of how women are considered 'pretty dunces'...and getting away with it!
Andrew Schultz
Posted: Thursday, December 01, 2016 3:15:06 AM

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Though I like both Mark Twain and Jane Austen, this reminds me of Twain's cheap shots at her I enjoy snickering at. At which I enjoy snickering. He was an ornery fellow for sure.

http://www.twainquotes.com/Austen_Jane.html

I particularly enjoy the idiom section of this fine website.
TheParser
Posted: Thursday, December 01, 2016 6:56:22 AM
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Joined: 9/21/2012
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Thanks for the link.

Since I have never read any of Miss Austen's books, I cannot comment.

I had no idea that some people felt such animosity toward the lady.
jacobusmaximus
Posted: Thursday, December 01, 2016 11:35:57 AM

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The qualifying word from Miss Austen's character is 'good'. If you read a good novel but take
no pleasure in it there is something wrong with your head. If you don't read novels - good or bad -
you are not in the frame.

I remember, therefore I am.
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