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My three favourite novelists
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Green Jay



Joined: 13 Jan 2009
Posts: 1605


Location: West Sussex

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:20 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

I agree with Evie that there is a lot of sex in Austen. And it is not all loving passion and appropriate. I like the fact that her teenage girls - the secondary characters - are mad about soldiers and not in the least averse to a handsome face, uniform, or legs! (I was going to put gagging for it but that seemed a bit rude.  Smile ) And all those rides in fast carriages!  They are always putting themselves where the men are, to see and be seen, whether it's dances, military parades, or the seafront. They are virginal but not like the virtuous heroines of later literature i.e. sexless and delicately unaware of men's interest in them and more particularly their own interest in men.  Don't forget, JA's not a Victorian; that all came later. Her early reading was Fielding etc where men and women were always eyeing each other up and more.

And I agree with Mike Alex. She is not a visual writer, and does not seem interested in giving landscape and other descriptions more than cursory attention. But then it is so English that I have never not been able to visualise what is going on very clearly - even before I saw all those films and TV series.


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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Green Jay wrote:
And I agree with Mike Alex. She is not a visual writer, and does not seem interested in giving landscape and other descriptions more than cursory attention. But then it is so English that I have never not been able to visualise what is going on very clearly - even before I saw all those films and TV series.


Is this necessarily the case? I don't know - I'll be more of an Austenite this time next year, I guess. But from what I remember, when they all visit Mr Rushworth's estate Sotherton (in Mansfield Park), the landscape was particulaly well depicted. Also, the Portsmouth chapters certainly take place in a different landscape from the rest of the novel. I can't remember whether Austen achieves this by actuallydescribing the landscape, or by some other means, but there was certainly a sense of Portsmouth being a different place.



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chris-l



Joined: 27 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oddly enough, I think I would agree with both Himadri, and Mike and Green Jay on this. I think she can describe landscape, when it is important to the plot: as has been said, in 'Mansfield Park', when 'improvement' of the landscape is a key metaphor, or in 'Persuasion', when Lyme Regis and its harbour provide the background to a seminal moment in the story. More usually, what we have is a 'sense of place', the atmosphere of a particular location, such as Bath in 'Persuasion' or 'Northanger Abbey', or the Devon countryside in 'Sense and Sensibility'. Most of the time, much attention seems to be paid to the living spaces, so we often have quite detailed accounts of the layout of a house, but rather less to the great outdoors. Jane Austen herself spent most of her life within a fairly limited geographical area, so perhaps she felt somewhat constrained in describing places of which she had little knowledge.


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Henry979



Joined: 30 Jan 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is difficult to name three.

Number one is probably John Steinbeck for East of Eden.

Number two is more difficult but probably Fyodor Dostoyevsky for Crime and Punishment, Notes From the Underground, and especially The Brothers Karamazov and the chapter titled "The Grand Inquisitor."

Number three:

Victor Hugo. Les Miserables, couldn't put it down.

Leo tolstoy. For War and Peace. Slow at first but the description of the invasion of Russia by the French was masterful.

F. Scott Fitzgerald. The last couple of pages of the Great Gatsby were poetic.

Sylvia Plath. The Bell Jar is one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read.

William Kennedy.  Ironweed. Another of the most beautifully written books I have ever read.

Mark Twain. Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. Frees the imagination of children and plants the seed of the American love of adventure. Finn
also helps a child transition into adulthood.

One could go on forever with number three.



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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Henry, and welcome to the board.

This has Ben a bit of a fun thread - partly because, as you can see, it's virtually impossible to narrow down one's favourite novelists to 3; and also because our choics throw up interesting things to discuss.

Given your choices, I think you should feel very much at home here!

I was interested to read your comment on Les Miserables: I haven't yet read it, & was planning to tackle it some time later this year.




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