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I saw a deeply excoriating review of this novel on my f-list in the last week - apologies for not linking, but I am writing this in the Channel Tunnel. I wouldn't be quite so harsh; it was Austen's first novel, and she has not managed to quite get the trick of interesting plot or characters, but it's not actually bad in my view. But I must admit I sped through the second half hoping that there would be a punchline, and was disappointed.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 11th, 2009 11:30 pm (UTC)
It's heresy, but the movie with Emma Thompson (who wrote the screenplay) and Kate Winslet is more entertaining.
Feb. 12th, 2009 02:40 am (UTC)
Heresy I've heard quite a few times. (Haven't seen the film; didn't like the book.) The main reason behind the heresy seems to be that there's an actual hint that Marianne might have the tiniest bit of attraction to Brandon in the film. I was quite disgusted by the suggestion of coercion (something about Marianne not being able to stand against such a confederacy?) in the end of S&S.
Feb. 12th, 2009 08:41 am (UTC)
You've done better than me - I'm violently allergic to all things Jane Austen.
Feb. 12th, 2009 10:23 am (UTC)
a deeply excoriating review of this novel

I'm interested to know whether you mean mine here. I'd thought it was merely lukewarm, but maybe it came across as more cutting than I'd intended!
Feb. 12th, 2009 12:27 pm (UTC)
Yes, that's the one! Yeah, perhaps it's not as harsh as I implied - blame my fuzzy head when writing this first thing in the morning on Eurostar!
Feb. 13th, 2009 12:30 pm (UTC)
Satire too strong for the characters?
Havn't read this one for a while - I think Emma is my least favourite. I admit that Rickman's face is the one I see when I read about Brandon though...

It's been a while since I was a scholar, so this is off the cuff without referencing, but I've thought that this one fails slightly to engage partly because it's referring to Romantic (as opposed to Rational) thought. If I'm right, Romanticism was fashionable at the time and represented the new way of thinking. I think that she's making her structure of social satire slightly too strong for the characters concerned. I think Austen managed to submerge the social satire/observations slightly more in P&P and Persuasion so that a reader can read for story, rather than argument.

I've also thought that Austen is more interested in social movement (rather than the old norms of inherited wealth) and for sexual equality (in terms of opportunity and education), and so this one is interesting for that - holding up a fashionable idea of sensibility - setting it against the traditional manners that Marianne despises as hypocritical - and setting out how the "real world" represented by the men in the story interacts with those opposing positions - which brings happiness/despair.

Its for this reason that I'm less concerned with the character development of the men - they are supposed to be fairly static and to represent a particular type. The interesting feature for me is that it is the female characters taking up the philosophical positions - and how they are unable to explore those positions to the full by virtue of being female.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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