Saturday, May 28, 2005

Sanditon ~ Jane Austen

So, Shithead, who's living at home, got a bulldog. He works 60 hours a week, so guess who gets to take care of a nine-week old puppy. I've never cleaned up so much pee in my life.
In other words, this year's Austen Read is pure escapism. No critical thinking or literary analysis here. No disection of plot, theme, or characterization. Sometimes I, for all my feminist politics and queer radicalism, would like nothing better than to sit around all day in the garden, in a white muslin dress, drinking tea and reading Neo-classical literature and Romantic poets. What a life.
And how wonderful is it to have fresh Austen, that classic snarky authorial voice taking on new follies and foolish characters, skewering everything in sight. Only Jane Austen would write a satire about a town full of hypochondriacs and narcissistic invalids while slowly dying herself. There's so little here, only about twelve chapters; she's just getting started, laying out the ground work, sketching in the perspective. We haven't even really hit a major conflict yet; we barely meet the hero before the last chapter ends. I know he's the hero because he's the only sensible man in the work. Sir Edward Denham is probably the villain, or at least he will try very hard to be; any Austen male who refers to women as "fair ones" and trashes novels is Trouble. It's terribly frustrating, to have so little that has so much potential.
Clearly, there was nothing for it but to run to the library and pick up Julia Barrett's continuation, Charlotte. Which I promptly did. She's got a tough act to follow, Ms. Barrett, but I must see Charlotte Heywood and Sydney Parker get together, and laugh some more at Sir Edward and Lady Denham.


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