Twain's Pain

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  1. Sed-me profile image80
    Sed-meposted 4 years ago

    Did you know Mark Twain claimed to detest Jane Austin's writings? Here are 3 of his quotes.

    “Just the omission of Jane Austen's books alone would make a fairly good library out of a library that hadn't a book in it.”

    "Whenever I take up Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility, I feel like a barkeeper entering the Kingdom of Heaven.Jane Austen makes me detest all her people, without reserve."

    “I have to stop every time I begin. Everytime I read “Pride and Prejudice” I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.”

    Some think he was a closeted fan... as if her novels were of the Danielle Steele variety.
    Some think he simply realized that he had a lot in common with... a woman of all ppl and didn't like it.

    You would think someone who had developed some of the most beloved characters in American literature would appreciate the intricate looks into these repressed personalities that Austin brought to life.

    Maybe that was it? The very fact that his characters were wide open... and hers closed off. Maybe he flat out didn't like the ppl she spotlighted.

    Any opinions?

    1. bethperry profile image92
      bethperryposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      And it could be that some folks feel Jane Austen's writing was trite, elitist, flawed by a self-conscious desire to fictionalize her petty personal beefs and dressed up in a hands-off sense of class division and moral superiority.

      1. Sed-me profile image80
        Sed-meposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Many did. I found it very interesting that instead of reading her characters as a study in humanity, they almost seemed to judge her personally. Some didn't seem to see her as an an observer and recorder, but a person solely surrounded by and defined by the world she wrote about. Which may have been true. Did you enjoy her writing?

        1. bethperry profile image92
          bethperryposted 4 years agoin reply to this

          No, I am not a fan. As you heard suggested, yes, it seems she was wholly defined by the world she wrote about. I feel she certainly, and rightfully, felt stifled by that world at times, but I also feel she was perfectly comfortable with the limited vision that world permitted. When I read her work, the characters strike me as utterly dependent on her own views and small stage of real-life intimate contacts; and character building of this kind makes for two-dimensional personalities at best.

          1. Sed-me profile image80
            Sed-meposted 4 years agoin reply to this

            It's so interesting to me. It had never occurred to me to judge her by her characters. I assumed that was the world she lived in, but I always imagined her an observer, and an astute one at that considering how difficult it is to read the heart and motives of others in a repressed society. I loved her stories. I never thought she was to blame for the society she was born into. I like ppl's stories though... no matter what they are usually. It's funny, I was much less fond of Twain's characters.

            1. bethperry profile image92
              bethperryposted 4 years agoin reply to this

              I don't think it is a matter of really judging her. As a kid I was expected to read her books for reports. After being bored to tears with Sense & Sensibility, then Pride & Prejudice, I looked up her biography. Then and only then did it click with me. Being thirteen years old, it doesn't come naturally to equate an author's work with their characters, but it made sense all the same. Sorry if my opinions on her step on any toes. Just my opinion, that's all.

              1. Sed-me profile image80
                Sed-meposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                No, not at all! Why wouldn't you have your own right to your preferences? This got me thinking why I never enjoyed the Twain stories I read in school. I think what it was was there was a lack of romance. I know it had a sense of romance with the adventures etc. But I wanted that connection between ppl which the Austin book had in spades.

                My husband's family connects thru adventure. They just go, go, go until they've fit as many outings into a day as possible. My family immediately gathers in a room and begins talking. We might play a game or whatever, but we mostly just laugh. My husband finds it interesting, but he's bored to tears, as I am with miniature golf or whatever event I'm dragged to with his parents.

                I wonder if our preference in authors has to do with our real life preferences.

                1. bethperry profile image92
                  bethperryposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                  Ah, that's cool smile
                  I don't know; I'm sure our personal experiences bear some influence on our reading preferences. I did live in Mississippi when I was a kid, which may explain in part my love of Mark Twain.

                  1. Sed-me profile image80
                    Sed-meposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                    I'm sure it has.

  2. alezafree profile image88
    alezafreeposted 4 years ago

    I'm a huge fan of both authors but I must admit, I hadn't heard of this beef before. I'm intrigued. Twain's quotes about Austen remind me of Dorothy Parker's quotes about ... well, everyone.

    1. Sed-me profile image80
      Sed-meposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      lol. Yeah, it almost seems a bit tongue in cheek. You wonder if jealousy was involved. There were others who were vocal about their distaste for her writing, like Virginia Wolf, but again, maybe it was her characters themselves they protested to. They mostly all came from privilege... they did basically sit around talking... kind of like an early form of "Friends." Ppl have issues with these kinds of folks.


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