I’ve been…

  • Teaching. I just survived the first week of school which somehow felt like it was about a month long. I have a good class (I think). The kids seem really sweet. But it takes stamina. It’s like those muscles got out of shape over the summer and I need to build them up again!
  • Reading Jane Austen: The Secret Radical by Helena Kelly. In it, the author argues that we’ve been misreading Austen’s work all these years. An early 19th century audience would have picked up on references and allusions that a 21st century reader misses. I agree with this much. Austen was far more serious than she’s typically given credit for.  Her novels have also been acknowledged as having a degree of social criticism, but that’s seen as secondary to a prim and proper romance with a slightly mischievous sense of humor. But Austen was less prim and proper than we think. Just the fact that she employed a marriage plot, meant life or death stakes for her characters. Marriages could mean financial ruin for families. Death in childbirth was just a fact of life.  If you read between the lines (which 21st century readers have to do, whereas 19th century readers would need to do far less) it becomes clear that there are many sexual indiscretions, out of wedlock pregnancies, and affairs. However, at times I felt as if, in researching some of what Austen’s novels reference, Kelly was looking to confirm her thesis, which leads to some bias. She also has a tendency to disregard whatever doesn’t support it. While I agree that certain characters have been misread, I don’t interpret everything in the same way that she does. But at times I do agree, and it’s always an interesting perspective.
  • Watching. I’m on season three of Grantchester and still really enjoying it. Though am I the only one who can’t completely embrace Amanda as Sidney’s love interest? Something about her just seems slightly…off.   I also recently discovered The Good Place which is a lot of fun. It’s sort of like Parks and Recreations meets Lost, meets Sartre’s No Exit in sitcom format.

2 thoughts on “I’ve been…

  1. I’m interested in The Secret Radical, but it does seem as if it is a prime example of confirmation bias. I hate that Austen is often still viewed as a writer of traditional, surface level romances.

    Grantchester is so good right?! You’re not the only one though-I liked Amanda more during the first season, but have liked her less and less since then. I think Sydney can do better! Have you read the books? I have the first one sitting on my shelf, but I haven’t picked it up. I don’t think I’ll love them as much as the show…

    I also binge-watched The Good Place earlier this year. I really love how the season ended, and I can’t wait till it comes back on. Your description of it is spot on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hate that too which is why I appreciate The Secret Radical. Even if you don’t buy into all of Kelly’s claims, she does make a convincing case that Austen was doing a lot of things a lot more complex than writing surface level romances.

      Glad I’m not the only one to feel that way about Amanda. I haven’t read the books yet, but I often find that when I start off with the TV adaptation of something that seems like the “real” version. I just imagine the actors when I’m reading. Which is why I try to read the book first!

      I loved how the season ended too, but I do worry that they’ll use it as a way to retread some of the same territory as the first season character-wise. Hopefully not.


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