Sunday, November 22, 2009

On Jane Austen's Popularity

Via Arts & letters Daily, please enjoy this tremendous article in the "Books" section of the New York Times which helpfully riffs on the intensity of enduring popularity of Jane Austen (which would include Helen Fielding's re-vision of Pride & Prejudice in Bridget Jones's Diary) and of the period's fiction more broadly. The author of the article mavels at the hunger for the minutiae of great novels which a new annotated edition of Pride & Prejudice slakes. Yet for all that, the chick-lit appeal remains strong -- perhaps primary.
The reader who does not know a farthing from a guinea, it’s safe to say, will nonetheless grasp the great drama of attraction and repulsion that plays out between Darcy and Elizabeth. The cut and thrust of their conversation is timeless. Generations of young women who do not know the first thing about an entailed estate or a quadrille will recognize in Austen’s heroine a kindred spirit, a contemporary, a valued ally in the eternal war between the sexes.

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