We're halfway through January. How is everyone doing with their classics? I figured at least few folks would have torn through theirs already. Mine's about 3/4's done. My reading was a little delayed by cracking through the beta critiques on my own novel last week, which turned into a series of ten-hour days that left little energy for Ms. Austen.
My book wound up being Pride and Prejudice. I was dumb enough to take everyone telling me I'd hate it as a dare, and my attempt at open-mindedness has been grating so far. There are spurts of quotability, and I was pretty fond of her notion that women have to express more love for men than they feel in order for men to know they have feelings at all. At Chapter 50 we've seen a few true perils of this time period, and I felt the littlest bit for Lydia's family when she runs off with Mr. Whomever.
They're all Mr. Whomever to me. I've got a sheet with names and reference points to help me, because little in action or dialogue lends them individuality. Mr. Collins I can identify since he's the male Mrs. Bennet, the self-unaware selfish character who won't shut up. But all the other guys have the same dialogue patterns and some amount of money. The women aren't much better.
I'm not a Romance genre reader, not of the old-age get-married variety or the modern smut variety. At my core, I think I enjoy my romances as part of a greater context, just like every great relationship I've ever experienced or encountered. Loves during war time, or at a videogame tournament, or between two people at the terminal ward, where one's too devoted to her brokerage firm, or where he keeps putting up with her infatuation for riding trains. The life which loves enters and springs from. The absence of almost any substance to Austen's world has put more onus on her cast, and there's not nearly enough internal life to make that an enviable task. Much less enviable when internal life keeps getting turned into canned monologues and dialogues.
There are at least three people who've witnessed me getting suckered by pure sap and a hail-mary of a romantic ending. I'm holding out hope that I get suckered by the final stretch of Pride and Prejudice. I believe it to still be possible. And if I hate it, then her fans can comfort themselves that Mr. Wiswell lacks breeding and prospects. After all, his favorite fictional couple is The Joker and Harley Quinn.
There's one thing that will make me glad to have read this regardless of how the ending pans out, though I'll save that for another day. How are your classics treating you?