A Heretical Thought

*whispers* I think I like Elizabeth Gaskell better than Jane Austen.

*looks around to see if somebody has sunk in a dead faint*

Truly, I love Austen’s novels (well, let’s say I love Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion – I don’t particularly care for her other “big” novels) (Emma gets on my nerves and Marianne’s selfishness makes me want to slap her at times) (see? see? total heresy!), but Gaskell’s writing is infused with more emotion, imo. Her characters are more endearing (Cranford, anybody?), and her love stories are more passionate (wheee! North and South!). The aforementioned sensuality adds a special something to her stories and makes them feel surprisingly modern. The emotions of Austen’s characters seem somewhat restrained by comparison. Indeed, if I had to choose between Darcy and Thornton, I would definitely take Thornton (especially if he looks like Richard Armitage!!!) (who cares about 10000 pounds per annum?).

….

Will I now go to romance hell?

8 thoughts on “A Heretical Thought

  1. Laura Vivanco

    Will I now go to romance hell?

    Does the romance community have romance theologians who specialise in answering this sort of question? Even if it does, I’m not one of them, and am therefore unqualified to give a definitive answer to your question. However, I’m sure some romance readers have (brace yourself for a shock) read neither Austen nor Gaskell. And yet other romance readers prefer one or more of the Brontes.

    I prefer Austen, but my favourites are probably Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. I really like Austen’s sense of humour.

    Marianne’s selfishness makes me want to slap her at times) (see? see? total heresy!)

    I think Marianne’s supposed to irritate you. She’s “sensibility” compared to her sister’s “sense” and Austen doesn’t seem to have had a lot of admiration for sensibility.

  2. Sandra Schwab

    Does the romance community have romance theologians who specialise in answering this sort of question?

    I don’t know. I’m just the little German. Nobody tells me anything. *sad-little-puppy-dog face*

    but my favourites are probably Persuasion and Northanger Abbey.

    Northanger Abbey! Yes, of course. I completel forgot about that one. Stupid me. I really enjoyed Northanger Abbey, too. Have you seen the new film adaptation, Laura? I thought it was really good, and the two leads were simply adorable.

    What you’ve said about Marianne is of course true. Still, I don’t think you’re supposed to detest her to the extent I do. *g* She behaves like an utter brat and a complete fool throughout most of the novel, and I have no compassion for her whatsoever. Thanks to the very obvious sense and sensilibty dichotomy, the novel is wonderfully suited for an analysis in class, but for me, it’s sheer agony to the read the thing.

    ~*~

    Carrie! *waving* I’m glad there’ll be a friend in romance hell. *ggg*

    YAY for John Thornton!!!!

  3. Sandra Schwab

    Oh yes! When he says, “Look back. Look back at me.” Oooooooh! *swoons*

    *waving to Laura V.* I had to think of that scene when I read your latest post on Teach Me Tonight, but I thought it would be unacademic to mention it. (‘Cause academics, as everybody knows, are very levelheaded and don’t drool.) (Or at least not while we’re wearing our academic hat. *g*) (Or should it be “hats” because there’s more than one of us?) (English grammar is killing me, I tell you!)

  4. Laura Vivanco

    I really enjoyed Northanger Abbey, too. Have you seen the new film adaptation, Laura? I thought it was really good, and the two leads were simply adorable.

    Do you mean the ITV one? I got that on DVD. As you say, they’re really sweet. However, it did include a scene of a book being thrown into a fire which really upset my son. We told him it almost certainly wasn’t an antique book, but even so he was still sad and angry about it. I think we have a very fervent little bookworm in our house.

    I had to think of that scene when I read your latest post on Teach Me Tonight, but I thought it would be unacademic to mention it.

    Is that scene in the book? It’s such a while since I read N&S (and in any case it can sometimes be difficult to separate out things that are described in the book from things that happen in film adaptations, though admittedly I’ve only seen snippets of that via YouTube) that I can’t remember. Either way, it would indeed fit well with the subject of that post.

    (‘Cause academics, as everybody knows, are very levelheaded and don’t drool.) (Or at least not while we’re wearing our academic hat. *g*) (Or should it be “hats” because there’s more than one of us?) (English grammar is killing me, I tell you!)

    I thought it was almost compulsory for academics to drool, but only over books (or perhaps computers and other equipment, depending on their subject). I think it should be “hats” because each academic has a hat. If it was in the singular I’d have to imagine us all wearing one gigantic hat, like the one worn by the Quangle Wangle Quee:

    On the top of the Crumpetty Tree
    The Quangle Wangle sat,
    But his face you could not see,
    On account of his Beaver Hat.
    For his hat was a hundred and two feet wide,
    With ribbons and bibbons on every side
    And bells, and buttons, and loops, and lace,
    So that nobody ever could see the face
    Of the Quangle Wangle Quee.
    (the rest of the poem’s here)

  5. Sandra Schwab

    The “Look at me” scene is not in the book. In the book he remembers the riot scene and his unsuccessful proposal: “And at the remembrance of her taunting words, his brow grew stern, though his heart beat thick with longing. [Awwww! Poor thing!] ‘No!’ said he, ‘I put it to the touch once, and lost it all. Let her go, — with her stony heart, and her beauty; — how set and terrible her look is now for all her loveliness of feature! She is afraid I shall speak what will require some stern repression. Let her go. Beauty and heiress as she may be, she will find it hard to meet with a truer heart than mine. Let her go!'”

    I thought it was almost compulsory for academics to drool, but only over books

    Ah. See? Drooling over good-looking men is not the done thing. (Though I’ve found that it lightens the mood in the classroom when you treat male protagonists in the classics as heartthrobs. *g* I always hope it will make the books more interesting for my students …)

  6. Laura Vivanco

    Ah. See? Drooling over good-looking men is not the done thing.

    Well, I think I’d be equal opportunities in my reservations about drooling in the classroom. I doubt I would have liked it if my male lecturers had started drooling about the female characters. I think I’d have felt a mixture of concern at possible objectification and/or a bit uncomfortable, as though it were TMI about the lecturer’s sexual preferences.

    Are all/most of your students female? I imagine that might change the dynamics of the situation a bit.

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