So, I decided Sunday that I needed a little change of pace. I went through several books, reading only the first few pages, but nothing was grabbing me. I was beginning to fear that my Book ADD was going to kick in when I picked up Emma by Jane Austen. I have tried several times to read various other Austen books. I don’t know if a) the timing was off or 2) I was afraid they would all pale in comparsion to Pride and Prejudice, but P&P remains the only Austen I have ever made it all the way through. I have often thought I would enjoy Emma because 1) I LOVED the movie Clueless, which is loosely based on Emma and b) it just sounds good. And luckily, so far it’s sticking.
There is one thing however I’ve noticed about Ms. Austen’s work. She seems overly fond of the dramatic pause. Commas, semicolons, hyphens…they all run rampant through this book. For example:
The event had every promise of happiness for her friend. Mr. Weston was a man of unexceptionable character, easy fortune, suitable age and pleasant manners; and there was some satisfaction in considering with what self-denying, generous friendship she had always wished and promoted the match; but it was a black morning’s work for her. The want of Miss Taylor would be felt every hour of every day. She recalled her past kindness — the kindness, the affection of sixteen years — how she had taught and how she had played with her from five years old — how she had devoted all her powers to attach and amuse her in health — and how nursed her through the various illnesses of childhood. A large debt of gratitude was owing here; but the intercourse of the last seven years, the equal footing and perfect unreserve which had soon followed Isabella’s marriage on their being left to each other, was yet a dearer, tenderer recollection. It had been a friend and companion such as few possessed, intelligent, well-informed, useful, gentle, knowing all the ways of the family, interested in all its concerns, and peculiarly interested in herself, in every pleasure, every scheme of her’s; — one to whom she could speak every thought as it arose, and who had such an affection for her as could never find fault.
I think under normal circumstances such writing would bother me. It’s Jane though! Hopefully I can stomach it. I mean, whatever*, right. As if,* I could write half so well.
* Get it?