Thursday, March 03, 2005

Bits and Pieces

Was Jane Austen right-wing? That apparently is the question that Peter Knox-Shaw tries to answer and refute in his book Jane Austen and the Enlightenment. There is a partial review of it online at the TLS. The reviewer writes:

Knox-Shaw tracks a fruitful dialogue between British empiricism and the greatest practitioner of fiction up to that point in time. By demonstrating the pervasiveness of the former, he makes it clear that Austen responded to its ideas. The result of his judicious attention to this principle is an intelligent and inspiring critique that asks us to return to Austen, her contemporaries and her predecessors with an increased sensitivity to the connections between them, and a renewed pleasure in the complexity of the novels themselves.
I had no idea that there was a great bru-ha-ha over Austen's politics. I never thought about it, but if asked, I would have said she was a moderate with left-wing leanings. Apparently there is quite a history of her being pegged as conservative. Tim Dolin's Top Ten Books on George Eliot. My book list grows ever longer. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to be printed on paper from sustainable sources. This is only for the UK edition being published by Bloomsbury. I wouldn't count on Scholastic following suit in the US. The New York Public Library opens an online picture gallery. Here's The NY Times article about it. Here is the gallery