March 03, 2005

Why was nobody in the 19th century happy? (apart from Jane Austen)

Or How EuroNovel is the Most Depressing Course You Can Do

Right. So as not to spoil the ending of these books for anyone keen enough to actually want to read them or take the course next year (think hard about that), but yet still prove my point, here, in no particular order, are some of the joyous endings to some happy shiny euronovels you too can enjoy:

Dies horribly of a fever.
Jumps under a train.
Lives, but only after pretty much everyone else has died and his dreams have been shattered.
Marries Mr Knightly and lives happily ever after in a blessed union of love and friendship.
Takes an overdose.
Lives and eventually marries, but only after they're both old and there's been a lot of rather dull stuff about property law.
Goes to prison for many years.
Just dies, in a somewhat indecipherable fashion.
Lives a short and chaste life of penury (then dies).
Lives, but only after his lover has died in his arms, he's split another man's skull open, someone else has been strangled and there's been an unpleasant incident involving castration. I wouldn't be surprised if he did die soon after that, as he's got next to nothing left (literally).

No prizes for guessing which one Jane Austen wrote.

What's wrong with Euro-novelists? Was there not a single person, apart from dear Jane, who led a contented and fairly happy life?

Or maybe it says more about the tutors who picked the texts for this course. Hmm… I think I ought to make this entry student-viewable only, just in case I have accidentally alluded to the fact that some of the English staff might be somewhat depraved…


- 3 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Indeed. Pride and Prejuduce rocks my socks, mostly because I love Lizzie and Darcy, but y'know, come on people. Why was everyone else so depressed?

    Maybe they were starving in a garret. That kind of thing gets you down.

    05 Mar 2005, 12:45

  2. cough

    mr knightly is emma right? i can't believe most people have only read p&p when they're all so easy to read. i should know, i've read all the austens and think they're a piece of crap. the reason why her novels are so happy is because she's blindfolding herself. she's unable to look beyond petty domestic problems, nowhere in her novels is there any sign of her current events. shocking, no?

    19 May 2005, 12:17

  3. I would agree with you that her books do tend to focus on domestic concerns, but not about the fact that this makes them 'a piece of crap.' They may seem trivial in comparision to works that tackle some of the problems of the nineteenth century, but she lived in a cloistered little village community, and her books capture that environment in an ironic style that has its own merits. I wouldn't say she was 'blindfolding' herself, but just writing about what she knew, and if you look at a lot of fiction today, writers are still doing that.

    But then again, she's just not to some people's taste, I suppose, which is fair enough.

    19 May 2005, 13:02


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