Bookish Matters

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gimme Gimme Gimme a Captain Wentworth

Maybe you're thinking that you haven't heard from me on the topic of romances in a couple weeks, despite my promise to deliver profound insights on said genre. Let us say that I am gathering data. Reading Jane Austen, Nora Roberts, Louise Rennison—the classic romance, the traditional romance, the YA romance.

Actually, yesterday while thinking my profound thoughts, I had a small break-through on articulating said insights, and wondered if I shouldn't try to write a conference paper or something publishable on the matter, rather than blogging about it. That's how profound my insights are.

But tonight I'll share some of my less profound insights on Jane Austen with you, so you don't feel neglected.

Jane Austen is often considered chicklit, aka not-fit-for-those-who-are-not-chicks-to-read. They're just about women trying to find rich handsome husbands, aren't they? The other day, one of my (male) friends said that if Austen were writing today, her books might look something like this:

But Austen is not merely about finding a sexy Captain Wentworth with whom to settle down. She is detailing the essential minutiae of domestic life and depicting a subtle and vital emotional landscape. Romance is the canvas on which she can paint this emotional landscape.

Of course, if you are a fan of Jane Austen, that's obvious. If you aren't a fan of Jane Austen, I must ask first if you've actually read her books, or if you've just watched the movies. While I love the movies, they do not get across Austen's wit and sharp intellect. Also, it has taken me several reads of Austen's books over a period of years to come to appreciate her. I know most people probably won't give her that chance.

I hope these words have satisfied your cravings for the romance genre. If not, here is a song to tide you over until my next post:

I would like a big hunk of man, if you don't mind.

1 comment:

  1. I read a pretty convincing essay once that said Austen was actually about violence - small violent acts between members of a common society.

    So that's how I've seen her ever since.