Friday, 25 May 2007

Jane Austen was very witty!

She was! I have yet to finish Sense and Sensibility the novel, but I have chuckled, smirked and laughed at how she wrote the scenes. My, oh my… she indeed had a very good sense of humour. Listen to these passages, all taken from SS Penguin Edition:

Mrs. Palmer’s eye was now caught by the drawings which hung round the room. She got up to examine them.

‘Oh! Dear, how beautiful these are! Well! How delightful! Do but look, mama, how sweet! I declare they are quite charming; I could look at them for ever.’ And then sitting down again, she very soon forgot that there were any such things in the room. (p. 105)

Austen’s satire is very apparent here:

‘Oh! My love,’ cried Mrs. Palmer to her husband, who just then entered the room – ‘You must help me persuade the Miss Dashwoods to go to town this winter.’

Her love made no answer; and after slightly bowing to the ladies, began complaining of the weather. (p. 107)

This one is so funny; I might have to ‘steal’ it in my fictions, for I often depicted a character muttering something incomprehensible.

Poor Edward [Ferrars] muttered something, but what it was, nobody knew, not even himself. (p. 228)

By and by, what about these Charlotte or ‘-t’ characters? Charlotte Lucas was silly, Charlotte Palmer was twice as silly as Mrs. Lucas, and Harriet Smith was exceedingly na├»ve. Something about ‘-t’ characters that JA did not particularly fond of? :-D

PS: I know admirers of Pride & Prejudice will not consent to my opinion here, but I find that SS is a more amusing book than PP. Perhaps the premise of two rather poor Dashwood sisters (well, three – but Margaret was still a teenage, so she did not count) with near zilch romantic prospect has more appeal to me than the plight of five rather rich Bennet girls. Elizabeth Bennet was an interesting, sensible character though. A mixture of Marianne and Elinor.

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