Thursday, July 13, 2006

What have they done to Jane Austen?!?

From The Telegraph (thanks to BookSlut):
Jane Austen's novels have been repackaged as chick-lit to reflect our modern conception of her as a romantic novelist.

Have I been reading the same books as these people? One has only to read Sense and Sensibility to see what Jane Austen thinks happens to girls with romantic delusions. Jane Austen writes of women's reality in her time and is quite unflinching in what she portrays. The Telegraph article nails it with this:

Charlotte's subsequent life is a kind of decorous hell, made bearable by the fact that the alternative would have been worse. She is the stony reality at the heart of Pride and Prejudice. She tells a woman's story, but in a way that is utterly remote from feminine convention: with scant emotion, appealing to nothing other than rationality. And, like her creator, she has remarkably little to do with cosy readings of The Jane Austen Book Club and communal swoons over Mr Darcy.


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4 comments:

Gata said...

This new packaging is just tacky -and yes, it really misses the point.

Victoria said...

I *hate* the new packaging! Hate it! I just want to stand by the displays in book stores and hand out the Penguin Classic edition, simultaneously assuring everyone that it *isn't* chick lit and that it's just *great* literature. The idea that women won't read Austen unless you re-jacket it in pastel colours with ladies swooning under parasols. Arrrrgh!

Also, good call on Charlotte - she troubled me right from my first reading. Not everyone gets their Darcy.

Janelle Martin said...

The character of Charlotte stands out so clearly as a point Austen was trying to make. And yes, she is a troubling character because she steps in and bursts the "romantic" feeling with her refusal to have delusions and doesn't allow readers to either.

Danielle said...

I would never pick up a book with a cover like this. Definitely not my idea of Jane Austen. I have nothing against updating the cover, but not like this--blech.