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Archive for the ‘Austen’ Category

These small scenes and observations, Jane is so good at them!

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“With an acknowledgement that he had quite forgot her, Mr Price now received his daughter; and having given her a cordial hug, and observed that she was grown into a woman, seemed very much inclined to forget her again. “
Jane Austen: Mansfield Park, Chapter 38

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September 28, 2010 at 11:16

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Mansfield Park revisited

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Right now I read Mansfield Park for the second time. After the first reading I thought it was Austen’s best. It has something that the others don’t have: a story of childhood. I also asked myself, why is Pride and Prejudice most popular? There is a tale of sisterhood in it which the others don’t have. Could there be other reasons?

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September 17, 2010 at 21:29

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Almost like hearing her voice

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Mr. Wickham was so perfectly satisfied with this conversation that he never again distressed himself, or provoked his dear sister Elizabeth, by introducing the subject of it; and she was pleased to find that she had said enough to keep him quiet.
You can do like Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail, read Pride and Prejudice once a year to enjoy pearls like this one! (Chapter 53)

Written by svensays

August 7, 2010 at 21:54

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Young hope

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I am re-reading Pride and Prejudice, for which time I can’t remember. Like any good book, there are excellent passages which you did not give much attention last time you read. Take this one from chapter 5, Charlotte Lucas’ little brother is speaking:
If I were as rich as Mr. Darcy, [ – – – ] I should not care how proud I was. I would keep a pack of foxhounds, and drink a bottle of wine every day.

Written by svensays

July 15, 2010 at 17:39

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My Top Ten novels

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The Idiot – Fyodor Dostoevsky, Russian, I read it in Swedish though.The novel that has all you need, violent love, tender love, crime, religious debate, ridiculous scenes, doubtful business dealings, all of it. And a rather ambiguous message: the title figure gets into catastrophe, but I feel that in the heart of it, he is the only sane person and all the others sick.

Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften – Robert Musil, in German. The Man Without Qualities. A counterpart to the above: a very thick unfinished novel with thin contents, but intellectually fascinating and partly very funny.

War And Peace – Lev Tolstoy, Russian. A huge painting of Russia in wartime with all kinds of people running into and out of it, with Emperor Napoleon in an important role.

Le Rouge et le Noir – Stendhal, French. The Red and the Black. Youthful passion crushed by corrupt society. Also a harsh criticism of the Catholic Church.

Brothers Karamazov – F. Dostoevsky. Much like The Idiot, but with a plot of murder as an important issue. I read it twice but still I am not sure whether Dimitri gets convicted for killing his father, or not.

Fröknarna von Pahlen – Agnes von Krusenstjerna, Swedish. The Misses von Pahlen, a series of seven novels about social life in the early 20th century, focusing on a girl who is raised by her unmarried aunt because both parents are dead. Not outspokenly feminist, but still a pioneer in writing about women and men as women see them.

For Whom The Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway. Spanish Civil War through the fate of an American volunteer who goes there because he loves the country, not really liking to fight.

Das Glasperlenspiel – Hermann Hesse, in German. The Glass Bead Game. The end of civilisation, and mysterious beginnings of a new one.

Villette – Charlotte Brontë. Of all characters in all novels I know, the one that is most like me is the main character of this one – a woman!

Mansfield Park – Jane Austen. As usual in Austen, a young girl who wants to be married, but this one also tells about her childhood in a poor family, and about some complicated affairs of another family that takes care of her.n – Fjodor Dostojevskij

Written by svensays

January 5, 2009 at 16:44

British comedy, then and now

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Yesterday evening and this morning I watched the two first episodes of Lost in Austen, which is running in Swedish public service TV (SVT) presently. I think it starts very well, but turns rather silly on and on. Considering the high appreciation that British serials generally enjoy, I can’t so far see that this one is a hit. We’ll see what the two remaining episodes may bring!

How refreshing, for a contrast, to watch once again Jeeves and Wooster of the 90’s, beginning this evening in a commercial channel (Kanal 9). Don’t say that public service are the only ones who care about quality.

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January 3, 2009 at 18:09

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Not for kids only

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I like the Harry Potter books very much. It feels great having been able, during some years, to follow the development of a classic-to-be. To me, who have read lots of classics already, these seven books form what scholars call a “Bildungsroman”, a story of the forming of a soul. The first one starts when Harry is ten and is rather simple like a children’s book, then in following volumes the story-telling matures with its protagonist. As a whole, it has much in common with great novels like Dickens and Jane Austen.

Let me quote a significant saying from the very first pages of the first book. Professor McGonagall tells a colleague, in the moment they secretly leave baby Harry at the doorstep of the intended foster family:

” … there will be books written about Harry – every child in our world will know his name!”

This is a beautiful example of what scholars call “romantic irony” or “metafiction”. You describe something as if it really happened, but in the same moment you point out that it is fiction.

Written by svensays

March 22, 2008 at 11:59

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