-Wir sein pettler. Hoc est verum.--"We are beggars. This is true."--Martin Luther-

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Austen Files of an Austenphile 01-13-09

An amusing narrative interjection by Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey (1818), with equally amusing evidence, validating this observation, from the pages of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina:

"They called each other by their Christian name, were always arm in arm when they walked, pinned up each other's train for the dance, and were not to be divided in the set; and if a rainy morning deprived them of other enjoyments, they were still resolute in meeting in defiance of wet and dirt, and shut themselves up, to read novels together. Yes, novels; for I will not adopt that ungenerous and impolitic custom so common with novel-writers, of degrading by their contemptuous censure the very performances, to the number of which they are themselves adding -- joining with their greatest enemies in bestowing the harshest epithets on such works, and scarcely ever permitting them to be read by their own heroine, who, if she accidentally take up a novel, is sure to turn over its insipid pages with disgust. Alas! If the heroine of one novel be not patronized by the heroine of another, from whom can she expect protection and regard? I cannot approve of it. Let us leave it to the reviewers to abuse such effusions of fancy at their leisure, and over every new novel to talk in threadbare strains of the trash with which the press now groans. Let us not desert one another; we are an injured body. Although our productions have afforded more extensive and unaffected pleasure than those of any other literary corporation in the world, no species of composition has been so much decried. From pride, ignorance, or fashion, our foes are almost as many as our readers."

I found the following from Anna Karenina quite amusing, in light of what we just read above:
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"[Anna] read and understood; but it was distasteful to her to read, that is, to follow the reflection of other people's lives. She had too great a desire to live herself. . .She forced herself to read. . .[and not long after]. . .She laid down the book and sank against the back of the chair."

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