Jane Austen, the Secret Radical By Helena Kelly

Jane Austen, the Secret Radical : Kelly, Helena: : Böcker Jane Austen, the Secret Radical


I LOVE this so much. I had the pleasure of having a class with Helena on Jane Austen, where many of the points she brought up in this book were discussed, so I am a bit biased she introduced me to Clueless AND Bride and Prejudice and was generally awesome, how could I not love her, right?Many of the negative reviewers seem to believe they are being individually condescended to by Helena's assertion that they've read Jane wrong. Come on, no. You may perfectly well have noticed the occurrence of Stuart names in Persuasion or the hypocrisy of Edmund Bertram, but can you deny that the popular conception of Jane's books the adaptations, what we're meant to understand by calling someone a Janeite is simplistic in comparison to what she actually wrote? Of course, in a point by point rundown of misconceptions surrounding Jane's books, relating to the political climate of the time, books Jane had read, etc., obviously someone familiar with the 18th century British literary culture will be aware of some of them, but of all of them? I really feel Helena does provide plenty of information I hadn't previously considered at all, there ARE secrets that I, someone pretty darn interested in Jane, was surprised to read from Helena.Helena's book is very thorough, and ties all the novels together very nicely, tracking Jane's maturation as an author, her developing ideologies. I enjoyed the creative pieces at the beginning of each chapter. I feel like she really gave life to this book, it's one of the academic books I've felt the most emotional while reading. The tone is conversational, but I never doubted the research or critical mind behind it.Jane Austen, the Secret Radical made me rethink my relationship to Jane's work and this considering I spent an entire semester in a Jane Austen seminar with Helena which I think is the book's stated intention, so in this it was resoundingly successful for me.The actual chapters:I used to hate Emma, actually, could barely get through it my first go 'round (when I was like 12 and had just made my parents buy me all six from Barnes and Noble Classics), but I really came to love it in Helena's class, as far deeper than I had realized, and I felt like the historical details were on point in this chapter. I also found it the darkest.Sense and Sensibility was I think the strongest of her chapters, as it had the most textual revelations, and drew the most surprise from me. I used to identify as somewhat of a Marianne, i.e. far into romantic notions than what was good for me, so the chapter has special interest to me.I have never enjoyed Mansfield Park, so while Helena's takedown of Edmund Bertram was satisfying, it wasn't precisely enjoyable for me, personally.Pride and Prejudice was, I felt, the weakest, as much of the analysis focuses on displaying for modern readers quite how much of an affront to rank their really is and hammering home things that are glossed over in the movie adaptations, i.e. the inherent threat of a large group of armed strangers in your town, the poverty facing the Bennet sisters because of entailments, etc. This isn't to say the chapter was bad, per se, but it was of a soft secret, than the kind of investigative nature of the secrets, as in the etymology behind the Moor Park apricot tree, the men named Norris, and so on.The Northanger Abbey chapter was insightful about the use of the Gothic within that text, if I ever get around to actually reading the Mysteries of Udolpho, I intend to read both NA and the chapter here again.Finally Persuasion! I loved this one too much to speak intelligently about it, though I loved the bit about the hazelnut. That's another thing, Helena is FUNNY, I laughed twice.We all love Jane, whether for escapist fantasies or as literary critics, and I think Helena loves Jane too, and so she gives us a different take, a broader scope, in this book, not to rob us of our Darcy/Wentworth/Knightley crushes*, but to give us even to delight in with Jane, the power to make the rediscovery of her novels as interesting and fun and funny as our first discovery of them.If anyone finds any of the other heroes crushworthy, I haven't heard about it. :P Jane Austen, the Secret Radical J'avais déjà bien en tête les différents points soulevés par l'auteur concernant Orgueil et Préjugés, et Raison et Sentiments. Mais j'ai appris beaucoup sur Mansfield Park et Persuasion et les références historiques qui nous échappent (en particulier à nous Français). Elle a ruiné mon opinion sur certains personnages d'Emma en revanche (qui est à mon sens le plus brillant des romans de Jane Austen). Je vais le relire une nouvelle fois en ayant ses analyses en mémoire. On verra si Mr. Knightley est définitivement perdu pour moi ! Jane Austen, the Secret Radical Als aufmerksamer Austen Leser hat man es ohnehin schon immer geahnt, dass die Romane mehr zeigen als ein ländliches Idyll aus uralten Zeiten. Nun zeigt Helena Kelly akademisch akurat auf, vor welchen sozialen Hintergründen diese Literatur entstanden ist. Die richtige Reihenfolge scheint mir zu sein: Die Romane lesen, Helena Kellys Buch lesen und danach die Romane neu lesen. Viel Vergnügen! Jane Austen, the Secret Radical A well researched book, written with humour and clarity Jane Austen, the Secret Radical Austen's novels have many fans, even today. However they are often read and marketed as if they were nothing but historical soap operas, and with little regard for their historical context. With all the adaptations out there, Austen's world seems so familiar to us, and the lavish costume dramas presented on the the big screen as well as the small one, invite the viewers to identify with the characters and dream themselves into a world of splendid gowns and dashing gentlemen. It is not surprising that Kelley's book is controversial since it goes against so much of what people have been projecting into the novels. Few of the ardent fans and eager buyers of Austen paraphernalia and Pride and Prejudice mugs will be pleased with this book. Still it is worth reading because it places the novels in a new light. One need not agree with all the conclusions drawn by the author. She does at times fall into the same trap as those readers, who identify with the characters so much, that any attempt to look at the novels in a different light is viewed as sacrilege, and professes that she has discovered the truth. No one can claim to know exactly what Austen intended to do with her novels, and no two readers ever read any novel in the same way especially if it is a novel crafted by as deft an author as Austen. We all bring preconceptions to the things we read, whether we are casual readers or literary critics. Still it can be rewarding to keep an open mind and not condemn those who do not share our personal view. Therefore, I can only recommend Kelly's book. It will get you thinking even if you decide to disagree. Jane Austen, the Secret Radical

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