Which of her books have you read OP? They make up an important part of classic English literature not to be compared with Twilight books although I can't really comment as I know nothing of Twilight.
Austen is particularly appealing to women, in that she had a feminist (for her time) take on the issues of the day. I've never read Twilight, but, from what I understand, it's very Morman and conservative. Additionally, Austen is quite funny. Not the impression I've gotten from Twilight. Finally, Austen wrote meticulously plotted stories which appeal to me in a nerdy, English-major-concerned-with-structure sort of way.
She was very talented. That is true.
Austen's writing is meticulous and sometimes funny as r4 points out and she should be praised (and many argue taught) for that. The subject and context of her work is largely forgettable or unadmirable.
Fran Lebowitz who can be reductive gives a nice monologue on why Austen is popular for the wrong reasons. Fran throws some shade here but gives credit to the good points of Austen's work.
Pride and Prejudice is an amazing novel.
How many other books from that time are so fresh and fun to read today?
OP is probably very dull.
I was an English major, I am female, I've read all of Jane Austen's work twice but don't consider myself a "Janeite" in that twice was enough and there are many other great books to read. That said, her work has a kind of perfection of plot, pacing, humor that doesn't date, and just beautiful, lyrical prose that makes it sui generis. I find her writing sort of the literary equivalent of Mozart. That her work is still as wonderful to read now as it was in the early 19th century is even more surprising. She wasn't a cult when I first read her, so I could appreciate her books unburdened of all the nonsense that has followed. Of course they appeal to women-- Jane's heroine always finds her perfect mate and is happily married in the end. This is what almost all women continue to want (even the younger ones, which always surprises me). Only some men see marriage as the ultimate happy ending AFAIK.
What r8 said -- Jane, like Emily and Sylvia Plath and scores of others are now industries.
Plath is not really an industry.
I'm unsure about the diagnosis of Sylvia Plath as an industry - if anything the more broad work of Salinger has become an industry where Plath deserves a larger audience. Or should we limit this thread to female authors?
[quote] How many other books from that time are so fresh and fun to read today?
Moll Flanders, Fanny Hill, Madame Bovary, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Going much further back, Don Quixote. You're not very creative, are you?
Many, many books R5. Austen's writing is comical, but her subjects and plots leave a lot to be desired. Of course fraus love them, given that they all end rather happily with a nice wedding.
So R12 you obviously agree that Jane Austen is among a very select few of half a dozen or thus agreeing with R7.
[quote]the literary equivalent of Mozart
You're not bad yourself, R8. That's a great metaphor for Austen's perfectly-modulated prose.
I'm gay and a man and have no knowledge of Twilight other than involuntary glimpses via movie trailers and gossip items but reading 'Persuasion' is still one of the literary thrills of my life.
Yet another troll thread pointlessly trying to stir things up on DL.
They're more interesting, not as interesting. Note I didn't say she's horrible. I just never got the endless fascination with her, when there have been many more interesting works by other writers.
[quote] I'm gay and a man and have no knowledge of Twilight other than involuntary glimpses via movie trailers and gossip items but reading 'Persuasion' is still one of the literary thrills of my life.
Wait...your knowledge of Twilight is through only the plot as glimpsed through snippets of trailers, yet you compare it to reading a book? That's like judging Austen's work through the Knightley movie.
Aren't the Twilight fraus the same as the Jackie Collins fraus or the Peyton Place fraus?
"Janeites are what Twihards turn into as they age, right?"
But I admire your with and verbal conceit. Which is exactly the quality that I admire in Jane Austen.
[quote]Of course they appeal to women-- Jane's heroine always finds her perfect mate and is happily married in the end. This is what almost all women continue to want (even the younger ones, which always surprises me). Only some men see marriage as the ultimate happy ending AFAIK.
It makes sense that the concept of a Happily-Ever-After marriage appeals to the average 12 year old girl. But growing up should entail the scales falling from her eyes so that she can clearly see the true nature of such a relationship.
Jane Austen did point out many [bold]real[/bold] marriages en route to her happy endings, but she always maintained the ideal for her heroines to achieve. Had her stories been more realistic, they would be considered cynical at the expense of her popularity (then & now). But she was so funny that I do think she knew the difference -- not unlike Edith Wharton & Miss Manners.
No, R16, I was saying I have no detailed knowledge of the Twilight franchise: not the novels, the movies nor the fuss. Nor do I care to know more about any of it.
I DO understand the fuss about Austen.
I may not have a clue about Twilight but you have shown yourself to be Clueless in general.
Never, ever, ever compare Austen with that autistic fundie Stephanie Myer, other as an example of how far literature has fallen in 200 years. Worse, that useless gash has started appropriating Austen for films she's producing, the first of which is Austenland. She is a blight on culture.
Why did you capitalize clueless R20? Small allusion to the movie Clueless being based on Emma?
r19: Well said. Interesting to speculate what Jane Austen could have seen in her relatively short life and in her small village milieu. And in real life in her era, people were not yet marrying for love as a rule. I'm a little rusty on my English social history (to say the least); perhaps this was just the time that such things were beginning to happen...But the comic form requires a happy marriage at the end (see Shakespeare).
Edith Wharton is writing 100 years later (and she herself had a terrible, even sexless marriage if I remember.) Incidentally, Wharton found the beauties of sex only in her 40s with a much younger bisexual male journalist. I read the biography by RWB Lewis many years ago--a great read that includes a fragment of a pornographic story in the appendix--yes, I mean pornographic--written by the grand lady EW! Definitely not in Kansas anymore by that time.
r14: Aren't you the clever one! "Clueless" the film (as you obviously know) was based on Jane Austen's Emma.
Weirdly, I had the same thought as r22!
Wrong. I read my first Austen book when I was 16 (it was Emma) and I would never read that Twilight crap.
I have read all of Austen's books several times - some more than others - and while I always enjoy them because she was such a good writer, as I woman I don't find most of them all that romantic.
Most of the male love interests are rather wimpy and preachy in way or another. The biggest wimp of all was Edward Ferrars.
The comparison isn't really between authors, but between their fan bases.
The Jane Austen novel has been effortlessly absorbed into the modern chick lit canon in a way that celebrates girlishness (as Lebowitz mentions) and getting married rather than anything else. In the same way that Twilight fangirls celebrate defining yourself through what a man thinks of you.
Just as people always say that Jesus would be dismayed by most modern day Christians, I firmly believe Austen would find a large segment of her devotees (especially all those looney Dominionists broads who reduce her to empire-waist dresses, needlepoint and good old conservative gender roles) to be as ridiculous as Mrs. Bennet or Mary Musgrove and would take great delight in satirizing them.
I think it just goes to show the benefit of having state-owned television that dramatizes and celebrates the literature of the country. BBC is perpetually re-making Austen movies, Dickens movies, Elliot, Agatha Christie, etc. It's shocking to me that with the enormous size and resources of America, we don't do the same. Where is our PBS1 and PBS2 that should be filming all of Wharton's novels, James's novels, Hurston's, with A-list actors?
My comment was for R27 and R28, not R29 (who I agree with).
Austen holds up. Twilight will not.
Oops! I posted my qualifier too soon: my "Baloney" comment at R31 (not R30) was aimed at R27 & R28.
"The comparison isn't really between authors, but between their fan bases."
Except one has had for the last 175 years a wide fan base including brainy academics, lovers of fine writing, those looking for a well wrought romantic escape with style, taste and, above all, wit.
And the other is the Twilight Saga.
[quote]Moll Flanders, Fanny Hill, Madame Bovary, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Jane Austen's novels were all published between 1813 and 1818.
Moll Flanders: 1722 (more than ninety years earlier than Jane Austen's earliest novel)
Fanny Hill: 1748-49 (more than sixty years earlier)
Madame Bovary: 1857 (thirty-nine years later than her latest published novel)
Hunchback of Notre Dame: 1831 (thirteen years later)
"At that time" as you're using the phrase, OP, covers a 135-year span.
That's like saying David Foster Wallace published Infinite Jest at the same time Charles Dickens published Great Expectations.
[quote]The subject and context of her work is largely forgettable or unadmirable
Do mean something like the subject of "Pride and Prejudice", that people are so in love with their own world view that they can't see people for who they truly are? That subject is still relevant 200 years later.
[quote]The subject and context of her work is largely forgettable or unadmirable
The fact that she's so beloved today and that her novels are constantly being adapted for film and television proves that exactly the OPPOSITE is true.
You're really grasping at straws here. If you don't like her, you don't like her; but you just can't pull counterfactual statements like this out of your ass.
No, r37, I mean that the strength of her work lies in the prose rather than the subject.
Oral health is still relevant 200 years later...
The movies are made under a pretense. The reason that the novels have gained favor is disingenuous to the works themselves. They are being called on as princess story templates. If you think that the subjects of adaptation transcend this, that's your judgement. I do not believe they do.
And I love Austen, if only for the prose.
Austen truly was a great writer - try her and see. Once you develop an ear for the idiom of 200 years ago you realize she is snarky as hell. She can describe in one bitchy sentence what would take Stephanie Myers ten pages to get across (and poorly at that.) She appeals to prudes these days because the middle class society of her time was proper, not because she was. Several of her male characters are seriously bad men for their era, and she doesn't pretend that premarital sex, bastardy etc. did not exist. Her work was praised by the Prince Regent in her lifetime and has never been out of print.
That said, to some extent Colin Firth et al can be blamed for the current obsession, IMO. The Republic of Pemberley (Myretta Robins' website) got its start after the 1995 wet shirt BBC adaptation, as did the fan fiction explosion.
Her writing is brilliant, but OP has a point about some Austenites.
"Pride and Prejudice" still reads in a modern way. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
R17, don't compare Stephenie Meyer to jackie Collins or Grace Metalious. Meyer only wishes her books were as fun, absorbing and must reads like their works. True, they are not literature but Collins is well aware of that and has a good sense of humor about it.