Monday, March 05, 2007

Swords and Sensibility

The picture that accompanies this post was originally done to make Beth laugh. The laughter of Beth is a thing to be sought. But I had fun with it because I love Jane Austen. This surprises many people who are acquainted with my other hobbies. Somehow they can't seem to reconcile my love of British Literature with my love of pulp action.

In some ways the two are connected. Though I'd always been a fan of Charles Dickens, since I first read David Copperfield back in grade school, my real interest in all things British can be directly traced to my obsession with Sherlock Holmes. When I started seriously reading Conan Doyle that led to reading Bram Stoker, which led to Rudyard Kipling, which led to Sir Walter Scott, which led to Jane Austen. That's why I encourage parents to let their kids read comic books and pulp literature. You never know where it will lead.

My favorite Austen book is Pride and Prejudice. The BBC television version is my favorite Austen adaptation, though I'm also very fond of the Emma Thompson version of Sense and Sensibility. What is it I like so much about Austen? It's the language to a large degree. That circumlocutory way of speaking, which is something I also like about much Victorian fiction. But Austen also has wit and amazingly snappy dialog. I also find the character of Mr. Darcy to be noble in the same way that some of my favorite tough guys are noble. He's going to do what he has to do no matter what it costs him, in the name of love and honor. And Austen's heroines have their own nobility as they face life under the constraints of a society often hostile to strong women.

Now of course, had Conan actually been at the ball, he'd have knocked Darcy to the floor for his bad manners and made all the women swoon. Then he'd have probably gotten drunk and started a brawl. He's Conan. That's what he does.

1 comment:

Beth said...

And incidentally? It still makes me laugh. Rather a lot, in fact. Mission accomplished.