Category Archives: British

what’s going on over the pond

fickle mcgee

So…I’m an English major again.

I was never officially not an English major. I was just planning on not completing my major and getting a minor. But when I was buying books for this semester, I was really sad that I wasn’t buying any English textbooks.

Plus I realized that after I get back from Florence, my Art History major will pretty much be completed. So why not?

The only thing I am anxious about is two senior theses to write in one semester. But my goal is to do most of my art research in Florence and over the summer.

One of the main reasons I thought I didn’t want to be an English major was because I didn’t feel as compelled to write about anything in literature as I did in art. But looking back at sophomore year, the literature classes I took weren’t really in my research interests. I took Jane Austen, Perspectives on Literature and British Literature after 1700. I loved all the classes, but Austen has never been what I wanted to research because I love her so much and my research interests very seldom overlap my personal interests. And it is hard to go back to big, survey classes like Brit Lit after being in small seminar classes.

But now I am in Medieval Romance which is amazing and wonderful. And I get to think about all my favorite things in literature (gender dynamics, voyeurism, religion) in the context of literature that is actually compelling to me.

I am also thinking about my senior seminar for English. I am thinking I am going to return to my Villette research from my first year class called “The Women Question in Victorian Literature.” Previous blog posts about this research are here, here and here. I focus on the protagonist’s, Lucy Snowe, relation to both theater and the Catholic Church as a voyeur to both and how her being a temporary voyeur in both situations allows for her to stop being a voyeur in her actual life.

I don’t know if I am going to stick with Villette or look at the continental Catholic Church in other Victorian novels. But that’s where I am starting!

1 Comment

Filed under British, College, Literature

Harry Potter and the Conflicted Fangirl

I love Harry Potter. And I hate Harry Potter.

I love Harry Potter because I have a high appreciation for poorly written fantasy books with cultish appeal (see my appreciation for LOTR and Twilight, though LOTR is slightly better because of the thoroughness and Twilight is slightly worse for the misogyny and one dimensionality of the characters). I like being on the outside of these groups and appreciating something ridiculous. Just like my appreciation for Star Trek. I just love things that engage people.

I hate Harry Potter because the “cult” of dedication to it, is composed of 90% of the world. And the other 10% either didn’t like it or didn’t read it. And when a cult surrounding popular fiction gets that big, people can be become disillusioned into believing that Harry Potter has value beyond the pop cultural appeal. (Which is indeed a value, but I firmly believe that is where Harry Potter should stay.)

My relationship with Harry Potter is probably the most complex of the fandoms that interest me. Not just because I feel like I have to qualify my interest in it, but because Harry Potter sometimes makes me very angry. I can’t just say “I love Harry Potter!” because I don’t in the way that most people love Harry Potter. I feel like that is easier to do with something like Star Trek because it is understood to be a little cheesy and…bad.

So here’s a list of both reasons why I love Harry Potter and reasons why I can’t say I love it in the same way most people do. The list alternates from reasons I love it to reasons I don’t.
1. The women are kind of awesome. Hermione, admittedly was my spirit animal for a long time. She is probably why I kept up with the books for so long and feigned interest when speaking with my peers. Though, I much prefer book Hermione to movie Hermione. I don’t think Emma Watson is an awesome actress, though it does get better after the HP and the Goblet of Fire (or Emma Watson and Her Overactive Eyebrows). Plus, I will never forgive anyone for cutting out the potions scene in the first movie. Or Peeves for that matter. Luna Lovegood is also amazing. I just hate that she always shows up with Harry is being the whiniest. Also the Lovegoods are my favorite family unit. And let’s not forget Bellatrix. I think she is more evil than Voldemort because she doesn’t even have bitterness towards her family for motivation. She is just pure evil. And I love that. Plus, Helena Bonham Carter wins everything, every time.

Lovegoods high-fiving a million angels

1. As a child, I was busy reading other books. I read Harry Potter when they came out, starting with Prisoner of Azkaban, I think. But I read them once and was done. I just wanted to know what happened. The ones I have repeatedly read are Sorcerer’s Stone and Prisoner of Azkaban. I hold absolutely no nostalgia from my childhood concerning Harry Potter. Little Women and Anne of Green Gables? Yes. A lot of the appreciation for Harry Potter from my friends that I see is longing for memories from childhood. And honestly, I associate college with more Harry Potter memories because that’s when I became interested in cultish pop culture things. Between the ages 6-14, I was busy reading books set before 1900, going on road trips with my family, and having no real friends. It was awesome! I am still totally nostalgic for that period of my life. I loved old books and I loved my family. Plus, I developed a Victorian morality that definitely helped my parents when it came to discipline in high school. But nostalgia does not equal quality. Are Little Women and Anne of Green Gables still among my favorite books? No, because I’ve read other books since then that I identify more with now.

2. My favorite part of the books and movies are the ridiculous wizard stuff! And in the later books, we get less of that because its already been established and Harry has other things to do. But still, creating the different spells and potions and devices is a strong suit for Rowling, so I wish she hadn’t waned so heavily by the end of the series.

Favorite moment from all the movies, Harry Potter under the influence of Felix Felicis
Nearly Headless Nick

Hermione wins everything (when the category is being annoying)

2. I HATE the way J.K. Rowling writes. There are two parts to this. I don’t mind Rowling’s style, in say, the first three books. She writes like a children’s author. But that’s okay! These are children’s books. Somewhere around The Goblet of Fire, I think, she bit off more than she could chew and it attempted to get real dark–and real epic–real fast. I understand the argument that the darkness and the maturity is about growing up with Harry. But, I don’t think Rowling is capable of writing that type of epic stuff. Clearly, I don’t mind super detailed fictional universes, as I love LOTR. But there is a heavy-handedness with which Rowling adds in the background that makes me uncomfortable. Plus in LOTR, there are all these different inter-weaving stories and mythologies that come together throughout the story, plus all those characters that have those stories. I think maybe Rowling’s writing style is really character driven, opposed to story driven. So it is like she writes a character and feels the need to tell us everything about them, even if they have a relatively small role within the story, or that background isn’t actually relevant to the story. I love character driven stories too (Jane Austen is my favorite author!), but if an epic journey is what she is going for, that should always be the focus. Also I think the transition between children’s book to epic is a hard transition that is jumpy and uncomfortable between the third and fourth book.
3. Movie only: The expressions of Rupert Grint. Rupert Grint is not the greatest actor in the world. But that’s okay. Because I am pretty sure that Rupret Grint is Ron Weasley. For Ron in the movies, it was the perfect combo of a character I liked in the books, and the perfect casting. I loved Hermione, but only recently began to appreciate Emma Watson and still don’t like her in the first few movies. And I don’t like Harry, even though Daniel Radcliffe does a good job as Harry. Ron is just perfect. Weasley is Our King.

3. Plot problems. Some things in the books and movies just don’t make sense to me. Here are some examples.

Why is everyone useful in the same house? I hate the vilifying of Slytherin and glorifying of Gryffindor. It doesn’t make sense to me. Each of the houses are supposed to have a trait, right? It seems like, within each house, there should be potential for good or for evil. My suggestion for improvement:  Hermione, why not be in Ravenclaw? Neville could’ve been in Hufflepuff, and somehow Draco could have had a better redemption plot.

Peter Pettigrew. All right, JK, let’s play by your rules when it comes the houses. Then why did Peter Pettigrew betray his friends? When Gryffindors, the golden retrievers of the wizarding world, are so loyal? Let’s say he just got caught up in the threats against his life. If you are going to prioritize Gryffindors for their good qualities, why not make Pettigrew’s refusal to kill Harry and ultimate death self-motivated? Instead he dies a coward’s death. So he proves to be neither loyal, nor brave.

Harry Potter as underdog. This is how he is portrayed right? But let’s look at the facts. He gets preferential treatment all the time because of his name, his house and his parents. He is a jock. He is famous and rich. He has really great friends and a supportive group of allies. So stop with the whining, ya big baby.

Dumbledore and the mysterious clue to your past. I love Dumbledore. I feel like I should qualify this next one with that statement. Because I may come off sounding a little harsh. But Dumbledore may be the least useful “old man guide” is the history of everything. There are so many times when I feel like it would make so much sense for someone, anyone (namely DUMBLEDORE) to explain something to Harry. But that never happens. I understand JK’s motivation to keep Harry in the dark because he grows more as a character but I’ve never understood Dumbledore’s motivation. He simultaneously expects Harry to be able to deal with all (literally all) of the evil in wizarding world, but refuses to sit him down and say “this is what I, the greatest wizard in the world, think is happening right now.” At least Gandalf from LOTR admits that he doesn’t know what is exactly happening! Dumbledore proves to usually know what is happening and still feel the needs to keep the (underaged) person, whose destiny is linked with that of the entire wizarding world, in the dark.

As far as plot problems go, here’s what I think happened: JK Rowling has shown the world her extensive notes on the Harry Potter universe and clearly a lot of thought went into that. But I think when she was writing, she may have been writing like a fanfic writer. Like she didn’t want to go off her own headcanon, even when it made sense for the story, to either change something or leave something out.

4. I love Snape. I really do, I love Alan Rickman and I love the trope of teachers who you think are out to get you but are really protecting you/teaching you how to learn. I am not necessarily supportive of Snape and Lily love because he was kind of a jerk to her. But anyone who puts Harry Potter in his place occasionally, all while ultimately being good, is amazing in my book. I kind of wish JK hadn’t allowed for the potential romantic relationship between Snape and Lily because then the love that theme of the book, the love that triumphs over evil is the always the same type of love, of protection, willingness to do anything for someone else, and to die for the greater good.

For my last problem with Harry Potter, I’m just going to be simple and a little crass.

4. Ginny Weasley is annoying and I hate her.

3 Comments

Filed under British, Literature

Two Things: Research Topic and Costume

And we’re going to do them backwards.

I’ve picked my research topic (and my title) for my Jane Austen paper about Emma. Here we go…”The Frivolity of Frank and the Frankness of Mr. Knightley.”  I was pretty pleased with the title.

Behind that punny title is a look at the discourse between Frank and Emma and Mr. Knightley and Emma and what it reveals about the men in her life.

Also, here’s a look at my Halloween costume! I don’t know if I have ever been prouder (except maybe in relation to the title of my Jane Austen paper)

Pineapple-The Sassiest Fruit

Leave a comment

Filed under British, College, Literature

Jane Austen: A summary in opinions

Plus it is nearly 3 AM and I am very bored.
1. Favorite Austen heroine.
Emma Woodhouse. Clearly. I just love the Emma’s transformation seems the most self-motivated of all the heroines. Mr. Knightley points out her faults, but only when she wants to change and even when she believes she has no chance with Mr. Knightley she wants to be a better person, without his validation.

Plus she is so judgmental, which I identify with too much for my own good.

2. Favorite Austen man.
I would want to marry Mr. Knightley. But I really like to read…eh, Mr. Knightley. I am sorry that I am so one sided! I just can’t see any faults in Mr. Knightley. My second favorite man is probably Mr. Hurst, Mr. Bingley’s brother in law because he is so funny. Or Mr.Woodhouse, also hilarious.

3. Favorite Austen book.
Emma.

4. Favorite quote from the books.
It is such a happiness when good people get together—and they always do. by the adorable Miss Bates in Emma
or
Certainly silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way by Emma

5. Favorite moment in the books.
When the narrator reveals that the Perry children partook in the wedding cake

6. Favorite movie adaptation.
My first–the 1996 version of Emma with Gwenyth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam. 1. Gwenyth’s dress at the Oscar’s is the reason I love Austen, 2. to me, Jeremy Northam IS Mr. Knightley, 3. and while they romanticize the relationship too early it has the best soundtrack, Harriet and other secondary characters I have ever seen.

7. Favorite Austen couple.
Other than…Emma and Mr. Knightley…I really like Mr. and Mrs. Bennett. I think they are so cute and funny is the way they speak to one another. Or Elinor and Edward. I like how they show that Jane’s books aren’t all about lovey-dovey gooey love. Sometimes they are really just about people, who usually happen to fall in love.

8. Least favorite couple.
Henry Tilney and Catherine Morland. He is so condescending and I had such trouble liking him!

9. Most hated foe of a heroine.
Lucy Steele. I hate that she abuses her privilege of confidence so much with Elinor. Irks me every time.

10. Most frustrating family member.
Maria Bertram.

11. Least favorite book.
Northanger Abbey, but I haven’t read Persuasion in a while.

12. Least favorite Austen heroine.
Catherine Morland

13. Least favorite Austen man.
of the “good” guys: Henry Tilney, of the bad guys: Willoughby.

14. Favorite love confession from the books.
“If I loved you less, I’d be able to talk about it more”

15. Favorite love confession from the films.
I feel so unlike a purist, but when Darcy confesses his love in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice. WHATEVER, it makes for good movies. Either the rain scene or the one in the field. I love the both. AND GUESS WHAT? I like Matthew Macfadyn better as Darcy too. Colin Firth is too clean and always looks like he has something in his mouth. But I still love Colin.

16. Least favorite film adaptation.
Cinematically, the BBC ones aren’t that awesome. But they are good for plot and dialog. And while 2005 P&P is a crappy mirror image of the book, I think JA fans need to look at the movies separately from the books.

17. Moment that made you sad/cry while reading.
I don’t know if I’ve ever cried during a JA novel.

18. Moment that made you smile/happy while reading.
Every time Mr. Woodhouse opens his mouth. Or when Edmund falls in love with Fanny.

19. Moment that made you laugh while reading.
Every time Mr. Woodhouse/Mr. Collins speak

20. Moment that made you mad while reading.
Most of the times Henry Tilney speaks.

21. Favorite Jane Austen-related photo.
Can’t find a good picture of it. But my favorite screen shot is potentially when Mr. Darcy flexes his hand after he helps Elizabeth get into the carriage in the 2005 film.

22. Favorite Austen female casting decision.
Kate Winslet as Marianne Dashwood
She is so young and romantic and wonderful!

23. Favorite Austen male casting decision.
Alan Cumming as Mr. Elton
No one does smarm better.

24. Favorite supporting character.
SO MANY: Mr. Woodhouse, Harriet Smith, Frank Churchill, Miss Taylor, Miss Bates (do. you. see. a. pattern?) Also, I really like Mrs. Jennings in S&S

25. Favorite family connection (i.e. sister-sister, mother-daughter, brother-sister, etc.)
Emma and her father, the one thing I liked about Northanger Abbey is James and Catherine Morland’s relationship

26. Favorite casting cameo from the films.
I don’t think this is a cameo, but Hugh Laurie in S&S.

27. Favorite quote from the films.
“A picnic. At Delaford” (hat sweep!)-Colonel Brandon, Sense and Sensibility
“the Nile is in Abyssinia!-Margaret Dashwood

” I do not profess to be an expert in the field of fashion (though my friends say I have quite the eye) but I can tell you, there is a shocking lack of satin! ” Mrs. Elton, Emma

28. Favorite moment from the films.
I like the long opening shot of Pride and Prejudice 2005. It is a pretty cool way to look at the family, and see immediately where the center of life is.
OR
When Mr. Knightley and Emma are arguing about Harriet and Mr. Martin’s potential engagement and after she shots a misplaced arrow he says “try not to kill my dogs”

29. Character you most relate to
I think that is pretty clear that is Emma Woodhouse. An important part of that book is realizing what faults you have, and I share a lot of my faults with Emma. I always thought Lizzie too selfish for me to identify with her really. Emma’s problem is that she can observe others, but cannot see her own feelings truthfully, or use her feelings to understand others. Eleanor is too staid, and Marianne is too concerned with marriage. Also a great thing about Emma is that she doesn’t WANT to get married. Sure, she is financially stable, but she shows that a woman could imagine herself with a life without a man and be happy. Other novels aren’t as clear about the fact that women could be happy without men, if only they could receive some money.

Emma is just the best and that is the rest I am going to say.

Leave a comment

Filed under British, Hobbies, Literature

twenty by five is a hundred

What WHAT!

Hundredth blog post. Wellllll (please read this like my government teacher from senior would say it. Just say “will” in a really high pitched mouse voice), not on the WordPress blog, but I imported all my “flippeed her lid” posts to keep the archive all nice and chronological and on one URL.

I was going to make a list of hundred things about something but A. I couldn’t decide a theme B. A hundred is a lot for any given theme. C. My talents at coming up with top five lists is too honed and practiced to be wasted a one hundred things list. So I am going to make twenty top five lists. And away we go…

Vampires I like more than Edward Cullen

  1. Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  2. Bill Compton, True Blood
  3. Count von Count, Sesame Street
  4. Vampire Weekend
  5. Carmilla, Carmilla

Careers I would have if talent, time and money were no object

  1. MGM Corps Dancer circa Oklahoma, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Carousel
  2. Member of the Corps of Discovery.
  3. Member of the Council of Trent-I just thinking picking out which Bible books are canonical sounds really fun.
  4. Art nouveau furniture designer
  5. Gilded Age socialite

Corps of Discovery Journey

Favorite Presidents

  1. John Adams
  2. James K. Polk
  3. Thomas Jefferson
  4. Woodrow Wilson
  5. FDR

Adams-he's a funny one

Simon and Garfunkel Songs

  1. “Cecelia”-I think everyone who listens to song goes to the three steps of interpretation. 1. OMG I LOVE DANCING TO THIS SONG, IT IS SO HAPPY 2. Is this song about a prostitute ? Really? Is that what is happening here? 3. I am so hip because I “get” Paul Simon’s allusion to St. Cecelia, the saint of music. Cue continuing of dancing.
  2. “Kathy’s Song”
  3. “April Come She Will”
  4. “Mrs. Robinson”
  5. “At the Zoo”-“the elephants are kindly but/They’re dumb.”

Least favorite: “Bridge over Troubled Water”

Saint Cecelia-sometimes fickle inspiration, but always all-around badass

Inspiration for my chosen major pt. 1

  1. My mom, the greatest English teacher I’ve ever known
  2. Addison and Jill, two camp counselors I had at Great Books Summer Program
  3. Hawkeye Pierce, Natty Bumppo, and their respective Byronic Heroism, for being the subject of the first research paper I ever felt was worth something
  4. Their Eyes Were Watching God because I wanted to understand Janie
  5. The Eyre Affair series, because I wanted to get the jokes

My favorite book cover of all time

Inspiration for my chosen major pt. 2

  1. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
  2. Sister Wendy, specifically her video about The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit
  3. My Great-Grandfather, George Bellows, whose work has insured that my family house is filled with books about art, and that we went to museums a lot when I was growing up
  4. Edouard Manet
  5. Mrs. D, my first nice art teacher ever

Both Members of the Club by George Bellows

Talents I wish I had

  1. Juggling
  2. Whistling
  3. “Live Long and Prosper” Sign
  4. Sewing
  5. Hair Braiding

Favorite Secondary Jane Austen characters

  1. Miss Bates
  2. Mr. Woodhouse-Do you eat that cake? I JUDGE YOU. Now eat some gruel and let me go to sleep.
  3. Mr. Hurst-Really, he could be tertiary because he has nothing to do with the plot. But his character allows for dear Jane to have these little quips “he was an indolent man, who lived only to eat, drink, and play at cards, who, when he found her prefer a plain dish to a ragout” and (after Caroline declares no one wants to play cards) “Mr. Hurst had therefore nothing to do but to stretch himself on one of the sophas and go to sleep.”
  4. Mrs. Jennings-is absolutely ridiculous. And terribly funny.
  5. Augusta Elton-A 3rd character from Emma. But it has the best examples of the great secondary characters that Jane Austen creates. Somehow, Mrs. Elton, though Emma is in the same financial situation, and meddling habits, is somehow made into a wretched woman while Emma is beloved, by readers and the community of Hartfield.

Mrs. Jennings

Actors I would put in any movie I ever produced

  1. Laura Linney
  2. Jeremy Northam
  3. Paul Giamatti
  4. Anjelica Huston
  5. David Boreanaz

I have no idea what this movie is about.

Things I confuse with other things

  1. Farrah Fawcett/Mia Farrow
  2. Pulp Fiction/Fight Club
  3. Hall and Oates/Hootie and the Blowfish
  4. Neil Diamond/Neil Sedaka/Neil Young
  5. I don’t know if this counts, but I always think Susan Sarandon is in Desperately Seeking Susan

"When's the doppelganger thing happen? Where's Ed Norton? What is happening?"

Most Depression Inducing Films/Books/Songs

  1. The First 3/4 of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  2. Mrs. Dalloway
  3. D2: The Mighty Ducks
  4. The entire Les Mis
  5. The Field-Titanic, Love Story, The Notebook are swell cry-fest movies. But The Field, directed by Jim Sheridan, which looks innocent enough, like a normal depressing but morally triumphant Jim Sheridan Irish movie. NO. It is a thousand times more depressing than a normal Irish movie. Watch at your own risk.

RIP Hans

Best Depression Relieving Film/Books/Songs

  1. The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions, by Seu Jorge. David Bowie. In Portuguese.
  2. Xanadu-ONJ & ELO’s best work
  3. Say Anything…
  4. The last 1/4 of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  5. It Happened One Night

XANADUUUU

Movies I would like to live in

  1. A Room with a View-George, Florence and those hats
  2. Out of Africa-Keep the Hats, lose the Syphilis
  3. Sense and Sensibility-Traditionally, I would want both Emma Woodhouse’s charms and man. But, have you seen Margaret’s tree house? Plus Marianne has a really cool hats.
  4. His Girl Friday-Good headlines, better hats
  5. Amelie-If only so I could pull off French girl hair

Honorable Mention to a movie I would never want to live in, but has one of my favorite hats of all time: Goldfinger-Oddjob’s Bowler: My brother loves James Bond movies. And I weirdly always rooted for this round, Asian villain with the bowler. Plus I love the way Shirley Bassey sings “ggoldFINGAHHH”

My laptop background

Words I wish were real

  1. “whuff”-as in “getting a whuff of something.” A combination of wolfing down food and getting a whiff of a smell
  2. “precarious”-but pronounced purh CAR ee us. means the same thing but only related to vehicular precariousness
  3. “foxymoron”
  4. “quppymaroo”
  5. “Gob”-is a word, but I do wish this was an established name like in Arrested Development

George Oscar Bluth II-Gob

Theories I wish were accepted in society

  1. If ya dip it in yogurt, it’s a fruit. If ya did it in ranch, it’s a vegetable.
  2. Always check the elbows.
  3. Jane Austen is about more than hunky men in tight pants and jackets with tails.
  4. David Boreanaz should be in every TV show ever and Laura Linney should be in every movie.
  5. You can tell more about a person from their top five favorite books/albums/films than just about anything else

Still, he IS pretty hunky.

Ice Cream Topping with appropriate Ice Cream Topping

  1. Whipped Cream and Mint Chocolate Chip
  2. Pineapple Pieces and Strawberry Ice Cream
  3. Chocolate Syrup and Dulce de Leche
  4. Corn Flakes and Vanilla Bean
  5. Oreos and anything

Movies that have Photobooths

  1. Amelie-biggest plot involvment
  2. Penelope
  3. The Princess Diaries
  4. The Outside Man
  5. Not a movie, but the Christmas Tree sketch with James Franco from SNL

Best use of Elevators in a movie

  1. Kate and Leopold-“You must be Otis”
  2. Serendipity
  3. Sleepless in Seattle
  4. Double Indemnity
  5. The Royal Tenebaums

Answer me this: Why is that kid in a devil costume during Christmas?

Reasons I went to Agnes

  1. The lamps in the library
  2. The ability to get Starbucks on campus
  3. How awesome my host, Jillian, and her roomie Christen were when I visited
  4. proximity to home
  5. The mascot

These are things they should emphasize in the mailings.

gorgeous

Five Things of which I couldn’t think of five

  1. Least favorite fictional character ever-Mr. Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life
  2. The one blonde I like more than her counterpart brunette-Cher from Clueless, I mean I even like Cordelia better than Buffy
  3. The only foreign movie I will sit through with dubbing-Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (This is not because I don’t like foreign movies, it’s because I hate dubbing)
  4. Best fictional portrayal of Bipolar in three parts: Being medicated-the opening scene of Garden State on the plane, the division in feeling between mania and depression-Mrs. Dalloway and Septimus in Mrs. Dalloway and best overall portrayal of bipolar-Hawkeye Pierce from M*A*S*H, the show not the movie
  5. Best movie title-Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death

2 Comments

Filed under American, British, Film, Hobbies, Literature, Television

a summer of productivity

a new summer goal: reread all of Jane Austen’s novels.

This may seem a little silly. I am taking a Jane Austen class in the fall so I am going to read all the novels again. But I need something to do over the summer, and I thought reacquainting myself with the books would be nice. I can’t say the last time I read Persuasion. So I am starting with Pride & Prejudice and onto Sense & Sensibility, Emma, Persuasion, Mansfield Park, and Northanger Abbey. Then I might reread some Bronte (Emily and Charlotte).

Leave a comment

Filed under British, Literature

judging a book by its cover: part 1

This is my dream job: designing book covers. My fabulous cousin, who is just about the coolest person ever, Sarah did it for a while. And I really do love book covers. I love nice editions, I love when the cover works well with the text and I will not buy an edition of a book if it is a bad cover if I can help it. Prime example: Barnes and Noble classic editions of Jane Austen’s work. Let’s look at a book with multiple editions and then some of my “greatest hits” of favorite book covers ever in the next post.

Pride and Prejudice

All of these editions are currently available.

Pride and Prejudice: Nook Digital Cover

This is Barnes and Noble’s cover for the Nook digital edition. Weirdly, I think it is my favorite. I like that it doesn’t attempt to look “classic” with paisleys, swirls or gilded edges. It actually captures part of the story, and the essence of Jane. Her novels are about people. These faceless people could be any of the heroes and heroines, but their illustrated costumes are accurate, at least. And they are talking, an important aspect of all of Austen’s novels. The concept of the text boring out the image breaks down in the next few examples.

Barnes and Noble Classic Edition

This cover is ludicrous. The woman and the man look like a Victoria and Albert marriage portrait. And the sitting room looks like it was done in the French style. How unpatriotic and so very obviously post the Napoleonic Wars.

Norton Critical Edition

The only covered featured in this post that is neither abstract nor features people. Houses are an important symbol in Pride and Prejudice. I think I actually wrote about on either my AP Literature test, or one of my practice prompts. This is an appropriate non-people cover. But it isn’t that much fun to look at…

Barnes and Noble Classic Paperback

Why does this look like a Berthe Morisot painting?  Why do the people look like they are in a French/New Orleans apartment in 1887? Did you read Pride and Prejudice? This definitely word work more with The Awakening. Or any book written after 1860. And on Continental Europe.

Dover Edition

At least this one doesn’t annoy me. Doesn’t really do much either. But it is called thrift for a reason, it is nice and simple.

Pride and Prejudice Annotated

ooo Meta cover! Maybe I am biased because I like reading this edition the best. But I love how the image is annotated and obviously chronologically correct.

1 Comment

Filed under Art, British, Literature