Friday, December 21, 2007

Thoroughly Modern Jane

Why the contemporary fascination with Jane Austen? One journalist explores the mystery.
Why now? What powers the onrush of Jane Austen sequels and clones? At the root of this popularity surge seems to lie the contrast between those smart, elegant and quietly reserved sisters, Jane and Elizabeth Bennet, and the female idols of our own hour such as Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears. The latter shed their garments and invite us into their private moments. They quarrel over child custody rather than genealogy, choose rehab over a carriage drive. Why wouldn't we be wistful for the rules of conduct that shaped Austen and her characters? Our unpredictable, aggressive world makes the drawing rooms of Austen's era a refuge.


papabear said...

Alasdair MacIntyre expressed the concern that some may be reading Austen before they are ready for the material. I'm afraid the current set of adaptations, set to air on Masterpiece Theater early next year, will only reinforce people's misunderstandings of Austen...

elena maria vidal said...

Interesting. Thanks, papabear.