Tag Archives: Jane Austen

Mourning Jane Austen’s Early Death

Despite the feminist revolution, many people still Jane Austen, who died 200 years ago, as a shy and retiring writer. In point of fact, she was probably very ambitious and wanted to make a lot of money. If this comes as a shock, check your stereotypes of women.

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On Reading Pride & Prejudice 100 Times

Teaching a classic too regularly can lead to its losing its luster for the teacher. I share how I keep that from happening.

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From Wycherley to Crazy, Stupid, Love

In my “Restoration and 18th Century Couples Comedy” class, my students paired old rom-coms with contemporary films, including “Ten Things I Hate about You,” “How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days, “Friends with Benefits,” and others.

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Why the Alt-Right Austen Takeover Will Fail

The alt-right has tried to appropriate Jane Austen. Their readings are alternately hilarious and horrifying.

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Bannon: Deconstructionist or Con Man?

When Steve Bannon said that he plans to “deconstruct” the administrative state, it sounds vaguely impressive but maybe just be a pretentious way of saying that he’s planning on gumming up the works. A discussion of deconstruction is in order.

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Reading Aloud Enhances Relationships

Couples reading aloud to each other can create a special intimacy, as George Eliot and George Henry Lewes realized in the 19th century. The radio and then television brought an end to that activity.

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Chelsea’s Books and Female Ambition

Chelsea Clinton revealed that she talked to her parents about Madeleine L’Engle’s “Wrinkle in Time” and watched the mini-series of “Pride and Prejudice” with her mother. Both feature strong heroines but also show these heroines to be confined to traditionally female roles.

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Shakespeare Was Malvolio

Recent research shows how much of a social climber Shakespeare was. The knowledge gives us new insight into characters like Malvolio and Othello.

Posted in Austen (Jane), Marlowe (Christopher), Shakespeare (William) | Also tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hillary Clinton as Emma Woodhouse

Hillary Clinton shares certain characteristics with Emma Woodhouse. (And far fewer with Lady Macbeth.)

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“Emma” as Aid to Alzheimer’s Caregivers

A luminescent “New York Times” article explains how a woman used Emma to help her deal with her mother’s Alzheimer’s. Literature at such times does some very heavy lifting.

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Lit Is Aristotelian Road to Happiness

Psychologists say that a strong sense of narrative identity can lead to the profound sense of happiness described by Aristotle. Literature helps us make sure we have available to us the best narratives.

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A Cosmic Theory of Literature

My attempt at an overarching theory of literature and its place in human history and human progress.

Posted in Austen (Jane), Rand (Ayn), Shakespeare (William), Sidney (Sir Philip), Terence | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Cruz as Beowulf? Try Grendel

Thursday Normally I would be delighted with a New York Times article that matched up presidential candidates with works of literature, such as Ted Cruz with Beowulf, Hillary Clinton with Persuasion, and Bernie Sanders with Around the World in 80 Days. This piece, however, strikes me as so uninformative that it’s all but useless. I’ve tried […]

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For a Rich Life, Read Widely and Freely

Literature impacts our lives but the influence is best if we read a wide variety of works. Limiting ourselves to just a few authors can warp us.

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Can Lit Also Be a Force for Evil? A Debate

The classics are capable to doing great good but can they also do harm? Even as they powerfully open up the mind to new possibilities, can they also close it down? A debate.

Posted in Aristotle, Austen (Jane), Plato, Shelley (Percy), Sidney (Sir Philip) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Prescribing Lit for What Ails Us

I had mixed feelings about a recent article in “The New Yorker” on bibliotherapy.

Posted in Austen (Jane), Woolf (Virginia) | Also tagged , , | 2 Comments

10 Memorable Poetic Pick-Up Lines

10 memorable pick-up lines from poetic greats. Try them at a bar near you.

Posted in Austen (Jane), Behn (Aphra), Donne (John), Herrick (Robert), Marvell (Andrew), Montagu (Lady Mary Wortley), Rostand (Edmond de), Shakespeare (William), Wilmot (John) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

500 Days of Marianne & Willoughby

The film “500 Days of Summer” has a lot in common with Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility.” Realizing this can make us feel better about the ending of both works.

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“Frozen” Is “Sense & Sensibility” with Ice

To compare “Sense and Sensibility” to the movie “Frozen” is to open up new complexities in the novel.

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Austenland, a Game for Janeites

At the end of each fall semester, we have a “fall festival” where the first year seminar students present a project to the community that shares some of what they have learned. This year my Jane Austen class invented a board game for the occasion, which they are calling Austenland. In the past, my Austen […]

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Inviting Jane into Your Life

Once again Jane Austen has stepped into the lives of my students and enriched their lives immeasurably.

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Who is the Worst Rake in Jane Austen?

A ranking of jane Austen’s rakes. Who is the most objectionable?

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10 Famous Fetish Objects in Lit

Literature is filled with fetish objects that take on outsized significance to various characters.

Posted in Dickens (Charles), Fielding (Henry), Poe (Edgar Allan), Pope (Alexander), Proust (Marcel), Rushdie (Salman), Shakespeare (William), Sir Gawain Poet, Wycherley (William) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sexual Misconduct in the Classics

A sexual misconduct course required of all employees got me thinking of problematic situations in the books that I teach.

Posted in Austen (Jane), Behn (Aphra), Bronte (Charlotte), Burney (Fanny), Euripides, Fielding (Henry), Montagu (Lady Mary Wortley), Sir Gawain Poet, Wilmot (John) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Dark Doubles in Jane Austen

Of all Jane Austen’s novels, “Emma” may gives us the most interesting character study.

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Comedy & Sentiment, a Potent Mixture

Literature that moves the heart seems opposed to comedy, but sometimes they work together.

Posted in Austen (Jane), Fielding (Henry), MacKenzie (Henry), Richardson (Samuel), Sheridan (Richard), Wilde (Oscar) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Imagine Austen vs. War on Women

Rightwing attacks on reproductive rights have their antecedents in the moralistic judgments of Mr. Collins and Mary Bennet in “Pride and Prejudice.”

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Test Your Knowledge of Jane Austen

A quiz to test your knowledge of Jane Austen novels.

Posted in Austen (Jane) | Also tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Marianne’s Passion for Dead Leaves

In “Sense and Sensibility,” Austen gets us to reflect on the attractions and dangers of Nature.

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Austen, Moral Equivocation, and the NFL

My love of the NFL runs me up against some real moral quandaries. Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte would understand.

Posted in Austen (Jane), Bronte (Charlotte) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Books about People Reading Books

Books about books give readers a sense that they are part of a larger community.

Posted in Austen (Jane), Bronte (Charlotte), Dickens (Charles), Grahame (Kenneth), Milne (A. A.), Nesbitt (E.), Ransome (Arthur), Stevenson (Robert Louis), Twain (Mark) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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