jenett: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
[personal profile] jenett
Happy Friday!


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Topic of the week
There is a comment by Janet's father, in [personal profile] pameladean's Tam Lin that one can be entirely ignorant of three periods in one's field, and still be a perfectly reasonable sort of professor.

I am, in fact, generally a lot more lousy about the period between 1780 and about 1910 than other points in Western history or literature.

Which leads me to a question...

For reasons tangentially related to my work (seriously, my job), I have been invited to a tea party celebrating Jane Austen's birth in mid-December. It has been a long time since I've read any Austen. (I'm pretty sure I went through Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Emma at various points around high school.)

Clearly, I should read or reread at least one book before this party, so as to make appropriate conversation. Tell me, oh, inestimable commenters, if you have a recommendation, or how you'd approach this question if you don't have a rec.

Or, y'know, talk about periods of history you have mostly ignored in favour of others, what you're up to, the amusements of your pets, and/or whatever else intrigues you at the moment.

What I've been up to
I won Nano! Go me. (Go everyone else who's made the attempt!) I still have too-much-heat issues in my apartment (boo).


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(no subject)

Date: Friday, November 30th, 2018 01:42 pm (UTC)
brithistorian: (Default)
From: [personal profile] brithistorian
For the Austen party, I'd recommend either Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility. Each of her books has its champions, but I'd say those two are the foundation of her writing.

I think your period of weakness in history lends credence to the idea of the Long 19th Century - the dates match up really nicely.

In Western history I'm exceedingly weak on the ancient world, the period from the fall of Rome to the Norman Conquest, and the century from 1688 to 1789.

I went to the local science museum with my museum studies class last night. It was fun to get to geek out about exhibit design with my classmates.

(no subject)

Date: Friday, November 30th, 2018 02:09 pm (UTC)
brithistorian: (Default)
From: [personal profile] brithistorian
Your definition of weak is about where I fall in my weak areas. Perhaps a bit weaker than that in ancient Greece, ancient Egypt, and the ancient Near East. (Do you happen to know if there's a new preferred terminology that's replaced "Near East"? Given that Far East has fallen out of favor, I imagine there would be, but if so, I don't know what it is.)

(no subject)

Date: Friday, November 30th, 2018 02:29 pm (UTC)
brithistorian: (Default)
From: [personal profile] brithistorian
Thanks for looking! A little poking around on my end turns up a movement toward using "West Asia" in some contexts, but "Ancient Near East" looking pretty entrenched in archaeology.

(no subject)

Date: Friday, November 30th, 2018 04:02 pm (UTC)
birke: (Default)
From: [personal profile] birke
I agree with Brithistorian's recommendations. I also think that if you have time to read two books, you should read Northanger Abbey, because it's funny in a different way and therefore indicative of her range. I have yet to read a Gothic novel of that time period, which would probably make it more interesting, but I also feel as if I've read half of a Gothic novel simply by reading Austen's parody of one.

(no subject)

Date: Friday, November 30th, 2018 04:45 pm (UTC)
lapin_agile: (book/reader)
From: [personal profile] lapin_agile
This is my recommendation, too. Read P&P first. If you catch the bug for Austen's wry view of the world, then definitely also read S&S. But. If you have time for only two, consider making Northanger Abbey your second because it is Austen's send up of the Gothic* and is, thus, good to be able to chat about if you are going (tea) party with Austen fans.

* which I think you'd enjoy


What organization is throwing the tea party?

(no subject)

Date: Friday, November 30th, 2018 05:05 pm (UTC)
lapin_agile: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lapin_agile
Oh, fun!

I hope it is quirky and charming in all the best ways. What a great way to meet a colleague!

(no subject)

Date: Friday, November 30th, 2018 03:26 pm (UTC)
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
From: [personal profile] rmc28
The books are not actually very long; the main issue I find is a little adjustment to the language of the time, and then I'm away.

My favourite is Pride & Prejudice but I'm also very fond of Sense & Sensibility, and of Persuasion. Also you could cheat and watch the Ang Lee S&S film (bonus Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman!) and the P&P 2005 film with Keira Knightley. The former in particular I think captures a lot of the *feel* of the book even if it's not always strictly accurate. The latter is pretty good but the ending is weird.

I have an especial fondness for the 1995 BBC TV adaptation with Colin Firth & Jennifer Ehle, because it sucked me into the story, the book and the rest of Austen's books, but it is about 5-6 hours long.

(no subject)

Date: Tuesday, December 4th, 2018 12:59 pm (UTC)
green_knight: (Words)
From: [personal profile] green_knight
Word informs me that Pride and Prejudice is 121 923 words long (this includes 'chapter xx' but no additional material).

That's not 'short', though it passes quickly. And when agents and editors were extolling the virtues of 90-100K first novels, it has been my go-to example: how would you propose to cut 20K from this book without affecting its complexity? You cannot. Some books simply need to be a little longer.

I second the recommendation for Sense and Sensibility: this is a film made by people who understand the medium and who understand the source.

(no subject)

Date: Friday, November 30th, 2018 04:02 pm (UTC)
julian: Picture of the sign for Julian Street. (Default)
From: [personal profile] julian
_Northanger Abbey_ is fun, but it's enhanced if you know the gothics it's parodying. (So you could read some of, say, _The Mysteries of Udolpho_, and be able to talk about *that*, too.)

I avoided reading _Pride & Prejudice_ for yonks, and when I finally did, discovered that, in fact, everyone is right and it *is* all that and a bag of chips. (And, also, extremely funny.)

I keep meaning to read more about the (US) Revolutionary War, and haring off in other directions instead. Must get to that, eventually. (I have a Barbara Tuchman book about it. So my intentions are good!)

(no subject)

Date: Friday, November 30th, 2018 10:09 pm (UTC)
lapin_agile: (P-most)
From: [personal profile] lapin_agile
I avoided reading _Pride & Prejudice_ for yonks, and when I finally did, discovered that, in fact, everyone is right and it *is* all that and a bag of chips. (And, also, extremely funny.)

This is more or less my relationship to Eliot's Middlemarch, which I dutifully read for my Comps as an undergrad... and hated. HATED. HATED.

So, y'know, I'm no longer 21, and I wonder periodically if I oughtn't to read it again, since everyone else in the world seems to think Middlemarch the cat's pajamas. But, then again, life is short. ;p

(no subject)

Date: Friday, November 30th, 2018 05:00 pm (UTC)
lapin_agile: (pink&rose)
From: [personal profile] lapin_agile
As a 16th-/17th-century literature prof, I heartily agree with Janet's father.

I'm best on the periods before 1700. I'm competent on everything else. (I can teach a reasonably engaging survey course on literature from the Romantics onwards.) However, I've never had much fondness for the 18th century and have made no great effort to hold its content in my brain. If I ever need to know more than I do, I know where it lives!

(no subject)

Date: Friday, November 30th, 2018 06:28 pm (UTC)
woggy: (Lurking Frog)
From: [personal profile] woggy
I'm very fuzzy on anything before High Middle Ages, and what I know from then to, oh, early 20th stems from "placing SCA garb in context" and "figuring out what the history should have been in these Paradox Interactive games" (the actual game going...ahistoric very quickly, but the mechanics are based on Real Stuff) rather than anything in my formal education.

Am also quietly pondering how much that framework of "missing era" applies to the stuff I am trained in (EE/CS). And there's probably history soup tied in there as well, but also fields of specialization? I know very little about Large Scale Power, to take a nontrivial example.

(no subject)

Date: Friday, November 30th, 2018 08:26 pm (UTC)
woggy: (Lurking Frog)
From: [personal profile] woggy
I once heard a hhos joke about formal education being a progression of knowing more and more about less and less. And given the proliferation of topical knowledge in the last, oh, call it century. Harder and harder to be a competent generalist. (And now I'm thinking of Siz.)

Not that I know exactly what y'all do with data structures, but familiar enough with a lot of the theory to maybe lay some basic framework. If that's a thing'd interest you.

Don't know Merovingian from meringue, but there's a couple of my classes that stick the same way. Or stuck, anyway; uni gets further away every year.

(no subject)

Date: Friday, November 30th, 2018 09:49 pm (UTC)
cadenzamuse: Cross-legged girl literally drawing the world around her into being (Default)
From: [personal profile] cadenzamuse
Woggy, I was taking this question the same way! I'm trained in social work and public health. I don't know nearly enough about epidemiology or environmental health, for example, and my understanding of human development past about age 25 is pretty vague and useless.

(no subject)

Date: Friday, November 30th, 2018 09:51 pm (UTC)
woggy: (Laughing Frog)
From: [personal profile] woggy
We can't all be Secret Masters of the Universe, after all. :-)

(no subject)

Date: Friday, November 30th, 2018 09:56 pm (UTC)
cadenzamuse: Cross-legged girl literally drawing the world around her into being (Default)
From: [personal profile] cadenzamuse
I am largely uninterested in history as a field of study? I know, I know, but I feel like the way it was presented to me in high school classes sucked all the fun out of it. But then I married a person who would have gone into history as a field if they hadn't been a better engineer, so I've started to tentatively dip my toe into some historical periods. (Spouse also used to reenact famous historical battles for me with food, which made them both hilarious and easier to understand.) So, a sort of reverse to the question, histories which I know anything about: queer history from the last 125-ish years, fandom history from the last 25 years, Richard Nixon, history of mental health treatment and poverty solutions in the United States, history of some of the other people's in the fertile crescent when the Torah was being written.

(no subject)

Date: Saturday, December 1st, 2018 01:23 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] jazzyjj
I'm also a bit fuzzy on a lot of world history, although reading/listening to audio books is awesome for that. I'm currently nearing the end of a book about our current US President. But I'm also fairly good on the history of assistive technology, primarily from being a long-time user of said technology. I'm also pretty good on the history of disability rights in general in this country. But I would honestly like to know more history of mental illness, because I happen to have some neighbors with various forms of this. I recently completed a crash course from Open University dealing with CBT and how this treatment approach relates to depression and anxiety. It was a good course, but I didn't have enough bucks to upgrade for full access.

(no subject)

Date: Saturday, December 1st, 2018 03:57 am (UTC)
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
From: [personal profile] rosefox
Listen to an audio book of Persuasion or watch the Amanda Root/CiarĂ¡n Hinds 1995 adaptation (NOT the one that was made in the mid-aughts, it's AWFUL).

(no subject)

Date: Saturday, December 1st, 2018 08:04 pm (UTC)
stultiloquentia: Campbells condensed primordial soup (Default)
From: [personal profile] stultiloquentia
Amanda Root is a goddamned genius and Hinds' charisma could melt lead.

(no subject)

Date: Saturday, December 1st, 2018 09:15 pm (UTC)
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
From: [personal profile] rosefox
I love that it was filmed sequentially so you can see Anne go from devastated to tentatively blooming to self-possessed and certain. I could watch that movie every week for the rest of my life.

(no subject)

Date: Saturday, December 1st, 2018 03:39 pm (UTC)
stultiloquentia: Campbells condensed primordial soup (Default)
From: [personal profile] stultiloquentia
I've spent the past three months not only rereading all Austen's novels and manuscripts for the first time in almost twenty years, but watching all the adaptations I never got around to, and reading a pile of books about her work. She was really important to me as a teen, and apparently my brain decided 2018 is the year for a deep dive into the MOST RELIABLE COMFORT READING IN MY ARSENAL. Heh. So.

Pride and Prejudice really is the best place to start. it's brisk and vigorous, funny as hell, and the love story is perfect.

Depending on your preferences and other pockets of knowledge, the rest might be fun for different reasons.

Northanger Abbey is funny and spoofy, a parody of 18th C Gothic romances as well as a startlingly on-the-nose test of Lockean ideas about innocence and education.

Sense and Sensibility is viciously satirical, and not only a remix of Samuel Richardson's Clarissa, but Paradise Lost.

Mansfield Park incredibly rich, but slower and darker, with a timid, angelic heroine whom, tbh, I only learnt to appreciate after reading up on Austen's context for her. The undercurrents in this one are religion and the slave trade, and Austen's fury at the church's complicity in the latter.

Emma stars "a heroine no one but myself could like," according to her author, but guess what, I love her. It's a Midsummer Night's Dream spree, with Emma the disastrous matchmaker. It's also much more conscious of village life as a whole than the other novels, with high- and low-born members interacting and impacting each other for good and ill.

Persuasion is elegiac and triumphant. It's short, but the pacing still tested my patience until I got to the end and realized how deliberately experimental Austen was being: form follows content. That plus the dazzling use of the free indirect style she famously invented make this incredibly romantic novel fascinating for any writer interested in craft.

If you want to scoop up some cool talking points, especially about P&P, I've been posting bits of meta in my jane austen tag on Dreamwidth and Tumblr. There's more on Tumblr, because it includes art and other people's meta, but I'd love to stir up more chatter on DW.

(no subject)

Date: Saturday, December 1st, 2018 09:18 pm (UTC)
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
From: [personal profile] rosefox
As much as I adore Persuasion, I can only handle the pacing in audio or film. It's really challenging to read. But the story! the story!

Following your DW now because I'm always here for Austen blogging (and fanfic).
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