Jane Austen Must Die!
By Jennifer Armstrong, Sirens Magazine. Posted November 30, 2007.
There is more to female characters than the Jane Austen paradigm.
And that's just the point: Women are watching this slew of complicated female characters on television, which makes sense to me. I remember reveling in my absolute hatred for Carrie one whole "Sex and the City" season when she toyed with Aidan. Why? Because I'd done something similar myself. I wasn't proud of it in the least, but I could watch and see reflected exactly where I'd gone wrong, why it was wrong and why it was also just my own dumb (ultimately forgivable) humanity getting in the way. I could analyze myself through her missteps in a way that was perhaps a little too painful to take head-on in my own life. I could, in a word, relate. Not because we shared a body type or a silly penchant for double-chocolate brownies or a dumb-girl trait like an inability to balance a checkbook. Because her genuinely painful journey paralleled -- and enhanced -- my own, and I came out the other end the better for it.
Read the entire article in AlterNet here
...And comment if you like!
*sigh* Yet another writer who pigeon-holes Jane Austen and blames her for chick lit. There was a comment below the article (after some other commenters all agreed about how frivolous Austen was).
I'll post part of that comment since it makes more sense than the article:
I adore Jane Austen and I am an ardent feminist, which is why I'm stepping up to the plate on her behalf. I read her the way I have always read her--as a glimpse into a past that in spite of all the strictures, a love between two people who actually have a high regard for each other manages to flourish in spite of the machinations of others. Had Ms. Austen wanted to "sell out", then it would have been the sickly Anne deBourgh who would have ended up as Mrs. Darcy--after all, they were from the same social class.
If you knew anything about Ms. Austen and the times she lived in, then you'd know she was unmarried and a published woman author--both of which were considered scandalous. All three Bronte sisters had to publish their works under masculine psuedonyms--and it caused quite the scandal when the public found out that the passionate 'Wuthering Heights' was indeed written by a woman.
Oh, and the writer of the piece is just whining. If you don't like chick-lit, don't read it. I don't.
That poster has taken the words right out of our mouths, hasn't she, Tracey?
If you don't like chick-lit, don't read it. I don't.
I say amen to that! No reason to blame that on Ms Austen!
The problem with the article is that the author fails to make the distinction between "Austen the book" and "Austen the movie." One of the wonderful things about Austen's heroines is that they ARE flawed, and yet, through their flaws, still likeable. It's Andrew Davies and Joe Wright who don't get this, not Austen herself. Elizabeth Bennet can't handle the thought that someone might be smarter than she is. Catherine Moreland is incredibly stupid. Elinor and Marianne--shall we start with their messed-up family dynamics or their dubious taste in men? Fanny Price has no personality. Emma is stuck up and selfish. Anne Elliot is a doormat. There it is (ducks flying tomatoes). THIS is the reason we keep coming back (that, and to read Wentworth's letter). Chick lit, yes, but also a profound insight into the flaws and virtues of very complex women.
Chick lit, yes, but also a profound insight into the flaws and virtues of very complex women.
Indeed, Trinity, and within the context of a rather complex society with its stringent rules and numerous double standards.
With all due respect - and there are certainly exceptions - but in our fanfiction world the characters of those FF writers who base their stories essentially on the various movie adaptations are rather two-dimensionally romantic, and lack the depth of Ms Austen's sharp perceptional qualities.