Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Shameful Confession

I was my High School "Outstanding English Student" (at least that's what it said on the award Bank of America gave me). I majored in English Lit. in college and I was inducted into Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honors Society, as well. One might assume from those credentials that I read those books that wind up on Masterpiece Theatre...alas, this is not so. Somehow I managed to graduate without having read much American Lit, whether it be early or modern (and to be honest, I don't remember reading any of the stuff I hear tell is 'canon'), and whole huge chunks of English Lit. I'm not sure how I got away with it.

Thus, until very recently, I had a deep, dark secret. I had never read Pride and Prejudice. I had never read any Austen at all!

Discussions about her work fly over my head. If it comes up, I nod thoughtfully but do not participate. At the first opportunity, I'll go find something else to do, rather than unveil my ignorance, which I excuse as a lack of interest. After all, I do read voraciously - just not "those kinds of books," whatever that means.

Then, the other day, while my daughter was visiting, she said she was going to go upstairs and read for a bit. I asked her what she was reading. It was Pride and Prejudice. I smiled and said something encouraging as she went up to her room. Then I hung my head in shame. Why couldn't she be reading something else? We had a great conversation about The Fountainhead when she had to read it for AP English. Where had I failed in getting her addicted to Science Fiction so we could chat endlessly about my favorite genre?

The final straw was a post on Making Light "Mary Bennet, Vampyre Slayer". An entire post and numerous comments that only those who have read Pride and Prejudice (and several other books I also have not read) would truly understand. All I could think of was, "Who is Mary Bennet?" Fortunately, James Macdonald posted the link to Bibliomania which has a copy of the book online. I was now determined to repair this gaping hole in my English Literature education.

Thus, I can now report, I have finally read Pride and Prejudice. And, I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Why didn't I do this sooner? But even better, I get the jokes now.

Completely off topic: Congrats on your first Kos Diary post, Jill!

4 comments:

Paprikapink said...

Hi Dawno! No shame, no blame, baby! I read everything that Jane Austen ever wrote, sometimes twice, but I never graduated from college. So I think you did something right.

I do love Jane Austen, even though eventually you realize that it's always the same plot (kinda like Hugh Grant always playing the same character), that woman had a way with sentences that just makes me swoony!

Dawno said...

Tomorrow I go to Borders and buy Sense and Sensibility. Janie better not let me down now.

Crabby said...

Hi Dawno,

Followed you here from Absolute Write. My gosh you're busy! Multiple blogs & a novel and you even have a life too.

I couldn't comment sensibly on the e-book post, not having explored those waters.

But I do have a confession about Jane Austen: I read several of her noves in college, loved them, and now can remember virtually nothing about them except that I like them. All the Jane Austen references go right over my head, which doesn't seem fair. Same with all the other classics I read--gone now, except for the vauge sense that I enjoyed most of them a lot more than I thought I would.

Of course I could read them again, but I'm way too lazy.

Serge said...

Heck, Dawno... I've never read anything by Austen, but I've seen the movie adaptations and I have my wife to tell me if/when they differ. Tus, no problem for me to join into the atrocious joking whem Making Light launched into a Austen/vampire thread.