Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Rotten Review

Ralph Waldo Emerson on Jane Austen: "I am at a loss to understand why people hold Miss Austen's novels at so high a rate, which seem to me vulgar in tone, sterile in artistic invention, imprisoned in the wretched conventions of English society, without genius, wit, or knowledge of the world." From the book Rotten Reviews by Bill Henderson


M.K. said...

Well, in many people's views, Emerson was a master of only one thing: the short, pithy phrase. Even his essays that are still printed or read are sometimes nonsensical, and he's proud of it! "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" is his way of saying "Throw out reason! Who needs it anyway!" Austen's novels are clearly too reasoned and "classical" for him, as a loose-minded Romantic. But if he thinks she advocated a rigid adherence to her social mores, he's wrong. Austen often stretched those bounds and her heroines rebelled (gently) against the restraints of society. But forgive me -- I've never, ever enjoyed Emerson!

Gumbo Lily said...

I'll never drop Jane Austen, no matter what anybody has to say about her writing!

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Wow, glad Ralph's not around to read my books!