Prufrock's Page

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Saint Jane

It is a truth universally acknowledged that popular authors create fans who canonise them. So Max Davidson finds after a visit to Jane Austen's house in Hampshire, during the course of which he tries to rescue the writer from the saint:

"As the tributes flow and the obituarists go into overdrive ('the varied charms of her character…ennobled by Christian faith and piety'), it is like wading through treacle...You need to go back to the novels, note the lapses from benevolence, note the waspishness without which the comedy would be stillborn, to reconnect with the real woman: a creature of flesh and blood with a depth of feeling, even anger, that you miss at your peril."


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