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Jane Austen - 23/4/2006 3:39:47 PM   
Conductor71


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Joined: 3/4/2006
I'm a massive Austen fan, but have only just got my boyfriend to start reading them [he's 'kind of' enjoying them].

Why do they have such a female readership? Yes, they're primarily about relationships, but there is so much comedy and social commentary in them, i don't quite get why men seem so uncomfortable with reading them. It's not like they're Georgette Heyer (who i love, but accept are very much a female read)

Men? Any views?

< Message edited by Conductor71 -- 23/4/2006 3:40:22 PM >


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RE: Jane Austen - 23/4/2006 3:52:48 PM   
furrybastard

 

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I've only read Sense and Sensibility but really liked it. You're right, a lot of the novels are heavily about personal relationships, manners and society and such things. I guess some people (and I don't think it's all men, there are sure to be a few female critics too!) feel that not enough happens in terms of plot. It's a view usually taken by people who are judging them in today's context, rather than the time in which they were written when manners set such restrictions on personal feelings and individuality.

Personally I really liked S&S and plan on reading more Austen. I like books that show the conflict between the individual and the world they live in, which many of Austen's books do. I'll probably check out Pride & Prejudice during the summer if I have the time (I have a lot of other books to get through )

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RE: Jane Austen - 23/4/2006 3:57:51 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54583
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My husband is a big fan of them - and precisely because they aren't the intelligence-lite chick lit many men seem to think them to be. Exmplified by that godawful adaptation of Pride and Prejudice - no more than Bridget Jones in corsets.

Austen has a wonderfully acerbic sense of humour and is almost misanthropic in her views of her fellow man at times. And her writing is superb.

But most men seem to have pigeonholed Austen into chick-lit at an early age

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RE: Jane Austen - 23/4/2006 4:58:48 PM   
Conductor71


Posts: 53
Joined: 3/4/2006
I hated the new Pride & Prejudice, it missed the point entirely. I thought the proposal scene was going to be the worst thing in it, but then I saw the ending. And not even the American ending, just the thought of that makesme cringe.

Anyway...

My favourite of her books is Persuasion, because i find the idea of missing out on happiness for years becuase of other people's wishes and an idea of personal responsibilty so touching. The fact that when Anne does eventually get what she wants it is inevitably tainted because she knows that it could have happened eight years before is just tragic.

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RE: Jane Austen - 23/4/2006 7:59:03 PM   
elab49


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I'd probably say Persuasion was my favourite too. ANd what is nice is that the Amanda Root adaptation is so very faithful to the book - and all the better for it.

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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RE: Jane Austen - 23/4/2006 8:27:56 PM   
ladykiller


Posts: 1257
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From: the west
My fav is Pride and Prejudice it makes me laugh out loud closely followed by Persausion which i just constantly shout at capt wentowrth all the time 'damn you look at her'

anyway i think men steer clear is because boys dont like to read, but also i think its because theya re considered romantic novels by some, but really they arent as we know.

Maybe if we were encouraged to read more of this at school then more of the opposite sex would learn to enjoy Austen.

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RE: Jane Austen - 23/4/2006 9:44:45 PM   
furrybastard

 

Posts: 5180
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quote:

ORIGINAL: ladykiller
anyway i think men steer clear is because boys dont like to read, but also i think its because theya re considered romantic novels by some, but really they arent as we know.

Maybe if we were encouraged to read more of this at school then more of the opposite sex would learn to enjoy Austen.


I don't know about that. I'm a guy and can clearly see the difference between Austen and all that chick-lit crap that a lot of girls read. A lot of those books are kind of simplified, dumbed down versions of Austen's stuff which I guess is where the parallel is drawn. But anyone who has an interest in literature beyond Dan Brown, ragardless of gender, can respect Austen I think.

I have Persuasion lying around somewhere. Maybe I'll read that first and see how it grabs me. Right now I'm busy reading the manly, macho The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler

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RE: Jane Austen - 23/4/2006 10:39:32 PM   
Livvie


Posts: 527
Joined: 10/1/2006
From: Ireland
Persuasion is one of the finest books I've ever read. The wit and social observations of the time are still funny and sweet - how annoying was Anne's younger sister May - I really wanted to throttle her and yet I can name several people that I know nowadays that act similarly! As for Captain Wentworth and Anne Eliot - the best romantic pairing in history (IMO)!!

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RE: Jane Austen - 24/4/2006 3:39:44 PM   
Sikurina


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My fave book is Pride and Prejudice...And I HATED Keira Knightley in that new movie!!!!
And older Mr Darcy is hotter that new


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RE: Jane Austen - 24/4/2006 3:48:07 PM   
M


Posts: 1632
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Kilwinnkie
Have read Emma and found it really heavy going...nothing against her being a female writer - I can see how clever it was, but her style and focus just didn't grab me I'm afraid...

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RE: Jane Austen - 24/4/2006 6:52:09 PM   
Conductor71


Posts: 53
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quote:

ORIGINAL: elab49

I'd probably say Persuasion was my favourite too. ANd what is nice is that the Amanda Root adaptation is so very faithful to the book - and all the better for it.

Yes! That's how Austen adaption should be done. As long as the central female is on the right lines, they don;t tend to go far wrong. Amanda Root is just so...repressed...but at the same time, so full of life.

And M, that's fair enough. If it's not your style it's not your style...what is?

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RE: Jane Austen - 25/4/2006 2:34:56 PM   
Hardcore Raver

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: M

Have read Emma and found it really heavy going...nothing against her being a female writer - I can see how clever it was, but her style and focus just didn't grab me I'm afraid...


I'm the same. I've given up on Emma for the time being, although I'll probably take it up again at some point. I did really like Pride and Prejudice though, it was probably the only book that i studied for A level English that Icould honestly say that I enjoyed.

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RE: Jane Austen - 25/4/2006 3:19:26 PM   
Krazy_Beyootiful

 

Posts: 2877
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From: Around Lil and Cray's ankles
quote:

ORIGINAL: M

Have read Emma and found it really heavy going...nothing against her being a female writer - I can see how clever it was, but her style and focus just didn't grab me I'm afraid...

That's fair enough, obviously, but I didn't actually enjoy Emma as much as some of Austen's other works. I found Emma herself to be rather annoying at times, which was a shame because Austen usually creates eminently likeable female leads. If you do get a chance M it'd be interesting to know whether you felt the same about some other of Austen's books.

My favourites are Pride and Prejudice (and I'm with Sikurina on Keira Knightley as Lizzie Bennett!) Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey. I'm not the biggest fan of Persuasion, I can appreciate that it's a very well written social commentary, and I was desperate for Anne and Captain Wentworth to get together but I'm afraid I do get quite irritated with both of them for not saying what they mean earlier. I enjoyed it but my frustration with the characters sometimes spoils it for me. I have to be in the right mood to read it and enjoy it as it deserves to be enjoyed.

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RE: Jane Austen - 25/4/2006 5:15:57 PM   
M


Posts: 1632
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Kilwinnkie
quote:

ORIGINAL: Conductor71

And M, that's fair enough. If it's not your style it's not your style...what is?


Oooh...toughie...erm...off the top of my head...I'd have to pick Vladimir Nabokov.  (Spot the pretentious English Literature student ) His writing is masterful, playful and silky...and  I pretty much need to name him: the quote in my sig and title are both references to Pale Fire...

quote:

 ORIGINAL: Krazy_Beyootiful

That's fair enough, obviously, but I didn't actually enjoy Emma as much as some of Austen's other works. I found Emma herself to be rather annoying at times, which was a shame because Austen usually creates eminently likeable female leads. If you do get a chance M it'd be interesting to know whether you felt the same about some other of Austen's books.


I think that may have been part of the problem as well; Emma's character really didn't work for me at all...I know that she is meant to be interfering and all that - Austen herself said something to the effect that she was creating a charcter that not many people would like - but I don't know whether it's me not just being able to see past that as a personality feature or whether I think it's an actual failing of the book.

As for other Austen works, this thread has sufficiently piqued my interest enough to give some others a shot.  I think Pride and Predjudice may be the best bet; quite a few people here have championed it...plus I grudgingly enjoyed the movie version...

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RE: Jane Austen - 25/4/2006 5:35:49 PM   
Krazy_Beyootiful

 

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I've never been able to decide that about Emma either. I'm just not sure if Austen made her that bit too irritating and damaged the book by that, or whether I'm just not a nice enough person to forgive Emma her flaws and get on with it. I did enjoy the book but  I could also quite understand why many people find it a hard book to get on with.

I think if you're prepared to give Austen another shot M then Pride and Prejudice is a good one to go with, although obviously I'm quietly appalled that an English Literature student could have even considered seeing the shocking film adaptation before reading the book.  

Seriously, if you do go for it then I hope you enjoy it, IMO it's the easiest of her works to like. It epitomises everything that she was good at as an author. Do let us know what you think.

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RE: Jane Austen - 25/4/2006 5:45:31 PM   
Peppermint


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I found Catherine Morland more irritating than Emma*

*Not a very useful contribution I know.

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RE: Jane Austen - 25/4/2006 6:01:20 PM   
M


Posts: 1632
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Kilwinnkie
quote:

ORIGINAL: Krazy_Beyootiful

I think if you're prepared to give Austen another shot M then Pride and Prejudice is a good one to go with, although obviously I'm quietly appalled that an English Literature student could have even considered seeing the shocking film adaptation before reading the book.  


In my defence, I'm also a Film and TV student. 

Will go out and buy a copy of the book tomorrow - I think the bookshop across the road from the library is shut by now.  (I can't get it out the library, cause A- I have huge fines on my card, and B- I prefer having bought books to sit prettily on my shelf after reading them...)  It will then join the huge pile of books I've still to read...

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RE: Jane Austen - 25/4/2006 10:37:49 PM   
crayon


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From: East-ish
I really want to sit and reread all my Austen now, but I've got too much uni work to do and too many new books to read!  I'm sure that it will take me ages to get a post-uni job so I'll read over the summer 

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RE: Jane Austen - 26/4/2006 10:13:46 AM   
Conductor71


Posts: 53
Joined: 3/4/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: Peppermint

I found Catherine Morland more irritating than Emma*

*Not a very useful contribution I know.


I found Catherine and the whole of Northanger Abbey more irritating - IMO her weakest book. It's got all sorts of references to Gothic literature, which may have been amusing at the time, but no-one is likely to read much now.

I love Emma. [apart from being named after her], I think she has a spark that, if you're being overly critical, Austen's heroines sometimes lack. She has a sense of humour, a genuine wish to do good, and the humility to eventuallly admit her faults. The rest of the book is so good as well, because of the supporting characters. It even has a quite good film adaptation - Gwynnie in a good English accent shocker.

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