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 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.