Saturday, June 20, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
This morning I found myself wondering what sort of experience a young lady during Jane Austen’s time would have had reading Pride and Prejudice. She would have understood perfectly the exact meaning of Austen’s universally acknowledged truth, and I can’t help but think that the prominence of such thinking at the time regarding single men of good fortune would have made the irony nigh impossible to detect. She would have known exactly what a barouche and a high-flyer looked like, and she would have known exactly the sort of people who would own them.
She would have recognized the characters. Perhaps she knew a Mrs. Bennet (or had one of her own). She might have known a Charlotte and a Bingley and a Collins. Maybe she had a Jane Bennet, or maybe she wished that she did.
She would have hated Mr. Darcy along with
She would have been blown away by Darcy’s proposal, because she would have recognized immediately exactly how different he and Elizabeth were in pedigree and what an enormous barrier that was to cross.
She would have hated Mr. Wickham for his deceit and sympathized with
She would have marveled at Lizzy’s audacity in the face of the odious Lady Catherine, and for a moment she would have lost hope that Darcy and Elizabeth could ever be together. She would have found hope in the book’s conclusion: a deep yet uncertain hope that we in present day might not fully understand.
Like all of us, she would have admired Lizzy’s passion, Jane’s kindness, and Darcy’s generosity. She would have laughed at Mrs. Bennet’s insufferable sensibilities and grown exasperated at Mr. Bennet’s utter obliviousness. And like many of us, she would have promised herself that should a real-life Mr. Darcy every cross her path, she would not let pride or prejudice blind her from the possibilities.
I wonder if she hugged the book to her chest and just spent a few minutes letting it all sink in, or if she threw it aside immediately and reached for Miss Austen’s next novel. I wonder if she even considered the notion that, years later, the love story in her hands would be a time-honored classic—scrutinized and philosophized and criticized by every English major around the globe.
(Though, personally, I think she just squealed like a fan girl and daydreamed about Mr. Darcy. I mean, come on, ladies--haven’t we all?)
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I'm sitting here right now reading people's blogs and trying to catch up with people's lives. A "To Do" list sits by its lonesome on my desktop, with things that would keep me busy for at least two weeks if I did nothing else. Meanwhile, a little girl who just turned 8 last week lies on her back next to me. She is mouthing the words to Defying Gravity and a word comes out accidentally every now in then in a whisper. Her mother got her a book yesterday all about the making of Wicked, and her mind has been on nothing else since (except last night briefly for our group reading of the Chronicles of Narnia). I can't help envying her simplicity. Why don't I get excited about little things like that any more? Why don't I get swept away by the amazingness of life and love and grace that is so much grander than any song from a musical? Am I that much older and wiser that I can't justify total enthrallment with something when a to do list looms over my head?
Maybe I should add something enthralling to my to do list. Maybe I should make myself enthralled about my to do list. Maybe I should scrap to do lists altogether and just do things as they come up and hope I don't forget anything important. Maybe I should just sit down and do the to do list and then let myself get enthralled about something. Since I can't figure out what to do, I'm writing this, which isn't all that enthralling and isn't on my to do list. There's something joyous about that, too, I think.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
While there is no particular point to this note, I would like to reveal some English-themed irony. Last fall, I submitted two papers for the Sigma Tau Delta conference. Last year, unfortunately, the conference rejected my paper. This year, however, (while in London), I received an email reporting that they accepted my nonfiction piece. A few weeks later, I got a second email that informed me that my second research paper was only accepted conditionally (and yes, I do believe it was in italics). The research paper was one that I wrote in Dr. Epley's British Lit class sophomore year and one of which I was exceedingly proud, (be proud of the fact that I wrote that without ending in a preposition...).
The humor resides in the fact that the nonfiction piece came from an situation I experienced this past summer. I wrote about it for the pure reason of posting it on Facebook. Yes, the paper I submitted with all of the beauty of a Facebook note was immediately accepted to an international conference for college English honors society. The other paper which I spent hours and hours of research on was only accepted conditionally. A bit ironic, eh?
Ah well, perhaps college is polluting all of our natural abilities and leaves us with uniformed styles. ;) I miss all of you English types in London. Y'all'd (oh yeah, I used it) better come back with a touch of british accents!