Sunday, September 9, 2007
Jane Austen Must Die
...or at least be shot out of the canon.
Because how is it, at 8:17 on a Sunday night I'm up trying to figure out a way around my "Oh my god I have to teach Jane Austen" panic. (And not even Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility or Emma, but Persuasion!)
The current plan is to teach Play it As It Lays and hope, that since they were both written by women and have titles that start with "P," no one will notice.
No one will notice, right?
And maybe it's not so much all the adorable warm and amiable naval families, or the Sirs and Somersetshires, but all those grad school girls, who were constantly winning fellowships due to their dissertation devotion to dress styles or dance styles or how Bridget Jones is merely an updated Emma Woodhouse from Jane Friggin' Austen. And if it had ended there, fine. A little squabble over how the Department chose to squander their research funds (sending white women to England to pour over letters in libraries!) that would be fine as well. But it never ended there. No there were the panels, sometimes lasting entire sessions, and gulp, days, at academic conferences, and the societies and the--oh no really--"merchandise": Nightshirts in lavender and hot pink and yellow that read:"Most unwilling was she to awaken from such a dream of felicity"; license plate holders: "I'd rather be reading Jane Austen." Tea towels, counted cross-stitch, Christmas cards, I heart Mr. Darcy buttons, and that damn: It is a truth universally acknowledged that an avowed Janeite must be in want of:____________ (fill in the blank with any one of a number of cute quips).
And ohmygosh, yes. I forgot to mention that they call themselves Janeites. And that, even now, writing this I'm probably inviting a fury of hate mail directed at this blog for publishing such ruddy filth about Madame Jane, but I digress...I have to teach her and I hate her and if I had tenure I'd teach Joan Didion instead.