Monday, February 10, 2014

more ramblings (yet another email. Pity the poor recipients!)

-- oh wait, someone on Goodreads actually compared Fanny to Dorothea Brooke! YES

I still want to drown Edmund in a bucket. I can't even keep his name straight, I keep calling him Edward. He's too much like Edward Ferrars in S&S, who also called for bucket treatment. Both remind me of Edgar in Lear -- sort of earnestly goody-goody, but really ineffectual in the face of actual danger. Edmund's like his parents -- sort of well-meaning but very self-absorbed, and therefore hazy about it. -- Lady Bertram and her pug are one of the most devastating portraits of indolence in literature, I think. She's hilarious. Not bad, just so permanently blissed out I wondered if she had a hookah pipe stashed in the sofa. (But I guess that's Austen's point: she married well, she produced heirs, she has nothing else to do but sit around in a comfy daze with her pug....)

The rather casual references to the SLAVE TRADE are making me queasy. I just read a bunch of commentary about whether or not Fanny's questioning Sir Thomas on the slave trade means she's criticizing him (FANNY? TAKING A MORAL STAND AGAINST SIR THOMAS? OH MAN what book are you critics reading) and while I don't think Austen's that overtly critical of it, it fits into the kind of casual corruption of the entire world she's describing. It's amazing, like the nasty flip side of Pemberley and Norland and all those other great Houses with Parks. No wonder people don't like the book. I don't really like it either, but it's kind of amazing when you consider she could have just gone on churning out Hubris & Happiness and Shame & Sensuality and Murder & Mayhem for the rest of her life. But she had done that, and succeeded at it, and wanted -- needed -- to go on to something else. She went into the depths. I can't help but admire that, as an aesthetic feat.

-- Also did all the people who think this book is Austen's Bitter Renunciation of the Theatre not notice that Vol I ends with an absolutely classic tableau?