Mark loves Jane TLA (just kidding!)


Mark Twain, shown here in a black and white photo. A photo!

I adore Mark Twain. I read his autobiography, was moved, and his is the name I think of first when I get asked that annoying question; "If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be". Not to say I settle on him, but his name comes up first in my mind like the name Jesus to a right wing fundamental Christian tea party member. I'm pretty sure Mr. Twain would eat me up and spit me out as the poseur I am. He has been known to eat and spit out a certain Jane Austen.
"To me his prose is unreadable -- like Jane Austin's [sic]. No there is a difference. I could read his prose on salary, but not Jane's. Jane is entirely impossible. It seems a great pity that they allowed her to die a natural death." Mark Twain


Jane Austen, shown here in a chaste blue dress and bonnet thingy

Jane Austen would become famous (mostly posthumously) for her works of romantic fiction, often comedic, but including criticism of the rigid social structure to which women of her time were required to adhere.
"Jane Austen? Why I go so far as to say that any library is a good library that does not contain a volume by Jane Austen. Even if it contains no other book." Mark Twain
Just what was it Mr. Twain disliked about her writing? It's a little fluffy, and she goes in circles to state her objective, but isn't that how women had to say things back then? Not directly, but round about and coming in the back door so as not to shock, frighten or offend their silly men folk?
"I haven't any right to criticise books, and I don't do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticise Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can't conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Everytime I read 'Pride and Prejudice' I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone." Mark Twain
I've read a few gothic fiction novels and they universally point out that the husband/father character was unique in allowing his womenfolk freedom to speak and have opinions. I guess the present day author needs such a character type to hold the interest of a modern day audience.

"Beat her over the skull with her own shin bone" Ahahahaha!!!! I wish I had said that. Yep tiresome to read, definitely, hugely tiresome to watch Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma, but I bet even more tiresome to be forced to live it.

3 comments:

Tonya said...

Dayum Sam, what's with all the Jane hatin'? I think her work is tiresome and a little too floral for me but most of the shit that was written during that time seems that way to me. I'm so fucking mainstream.

Poseur alert: I would love to have dinner with Oscar Wilde. Not to talk about any of his writings, no. Just because that motherfucker knew how to talk shit and throw a party.

Angie said...

I feel like I've read some of this before. Have you written about this elsewhere?

Mark Twain is mad cool, btw.

Frimmy said...

Damn two months in and I'm already repeating myself? I hope not! Maybe I posted some quotes on fb? MT 's Jane Austen hate has been a topic of amusement in the past for me for sure.

 

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