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Dare I Say This??

A place to debate issues or to rant about what's on your mind. In addition to discussions about historical fiction, books, the publishing industry, and history, discussions about current political, social, and religious issues and other topics are allowed, so those who are easily offended by certain topics may want to avoid such threads. Members are expected to keep the discussions friendly and polite and to avoid personal attacks on other members. The moderators reserve the right to shut down a thread without warning if they believe it necessary.
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Dare I Say This??

Post by Christina » Sat December 6th, 2008, 12:07 am

Dare I say this?

I cannot stand Jane Austen's books. Everyone loves Jane Austen. Everyone loves Colin Firth swimming across the river. Everyone finds her amusing and I do not. To say you can't stand Jane Austen is anathema to most people. To me her books speak of nothing but balls and husband-seeking. Yes, there's the joke about the manners of the time, and yes, she spoke out about it but it's not a funny joke to me. She reminds me a little of the Bloomsbury group with their smugness and sneering.

Dickens, on the other hand, with his earthiness, and other side of life...even Hardy, whose works are utterly depresssing and I don't enjoy...had something to say. Jane Austen...I just can't stand her books, can't bear sitting through TV or film portrayals of nothing happening other than a ball and another ball and another ball and taking the waters at Bath...and nothing...It's the 'soap' or 'Dallas' of the time. It's frippery. It's tedium...I can't stand her books...

Anna Sewell, bed-ridden and seeing the horses outside, had something to say. Dear Emily Bronte, a passionate soul in a claustrophobic place, had something to say...as did Charlotte and dear Anne...but, Jane Austen??? And she is so damned popular - why???

Well, this is a debate thread :)

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Post by Divia » Sat December 6th, 2008, 2:51 am

I dislike Austen, Dickens and Bronte. So where does that leave me?
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Post by SonjaMarie » Sat December 6th, 2008, 2:54 am

I like some of the Austen movies, but have only read "Pride and Prejudice" which I did enjoy. But I've never read Dickins or Bronte, and have no plans to. So you're not the only ones.

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Post by Telynor » Sat December 6th, 2008, 3:20 am

Oh goodness, not everyone is going to like everything that everyone else likes! So please, don't beat yourself up. I adore Austen, but I can't stand Dickens -- the moralizing undertones wear me out. Except for Jane Eyre, I haven't read the Brontes. I rather like that not everything is going to agree with everyone. I loathe Stephen King, don't think much of Anne Rice, can't stand Debbie MacComber, and am bored silly by what are considered bestsellers these days.

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Post by diamondlil » Sat December 6th, 2008, 6:15 am

I haven't read Austen! I am halfway through my first Dickens, and so far I am enjoying it, but haven't read Bronte or anyone else either!
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Post by Margaret » Sat December 6th, 2008, 6:52 am

I like Jane Austen fine, although she's not my favorite writer. I think she was very good at plotting, and she has a good deal more substance than most writers whose books revolve around falling in love and getting married, a subject of crucial importance to women of her time - and of perennial interest to many women of all times.

In my view, she was critiquing the status seeking that went on among the semi-aristocratic classes, not suggesting it as an acceptable norm. In her day, women who did not "marry well" during a rather narrow window of opportunity might find themselves in disastrous economic circumstances, so the anxiety of a woman who might be lingering too long on the shelf was understandable, even while Austen implicitly criticizes the status seeking (at the expense of caring human relationships) that was so rampant. In practice, the two attitudes were not always that far apart, which I think is what makes Austen's work interesting. None of this means it ought to be to everyone's taste. But there's a reason why many do still enjoy it.
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Post by Annie » Sat December 6th, 2008, 9:56 am

Christina, you are not alone! But I know how you feel confessing about not liking Austen - I kept how I felt a guilty secret for ages. Now why should one feel guilt?
On another loop I said I did not like Heyer - I was nearly drummed out! I'd not read any Heyer as a young girl, but I'd devoured Dickens. So I wonder if how one feels about certain authors comes from when you first met them?

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Post by EC2 » Sat December 6th, 2008, 10:13 am

I cannot stand Jane Austen either. I recognise that it is a case of not getting on with her voice rather than the content or quality of her work. To me she twitters like a high-pitched annoying little bird. Tweety, tweety, tweety. On and on and on. It's one of the reasons I'm not a fan of Georgette Heyer. She has Tweety-itis too - I guess that's a back-handed compliment to Heyer. :) . I am better able to watch Austen in film and TV. I recently watched the Kiera Knightly version of P&P and quite enjoyed it. Just don't give me Austen novels to read!
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Post by pat » Sat December 6th, 2008, 11:42 am

I had to read a Dickens and a Hardy for a college course I did about 8 years ago. The English tutor decided it would broaden our minds...they sent me to sleep! The stories were good, but not my cup of tea! I do enjoy Austen and Bronte, but not to read and re read, but I love the film or tv adaptations.

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Austen is popular as she has the fairytale dream in her stories, the unrequited love, the girl gets man.
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Post by Misfit » Sat December 6th, 2008, 2:17 pm

The only Austen I've got around to reading is Northhanger Abbey and it didn't quite knock my socks off, it actually put me to sleep. I love Eliot, Bronte and Gaskell, along with Dickens of course. As Telynor says, we're all different - we're all not going to like the same book every time. That's why we agree to disagree :)

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