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View Diary: Books That Changed My Life — Tristram Shandy (146 comments)

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  •  enjoyed richardson & fielding, but i don't think i (2+ / 0-)
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    Monsieur Georges, Brecht

    ever got the opportunity to read sterne or ts.  i'll try both on your recommendation.

    just curious, but i'd be interested to know if you've ever read jane austen, & if so, how you compare her to the writers (all male,  btw) you mentioned?

    •  When I first read Austen, I found her funny but (2+ / 0-)
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      bluezen, poco

      slight. You know, all drawing rooms and picnics, no grand adventures.

      Then I came to admire her exquisite moral sense - she has such a sound heart and mind, her sense of goodness has both human forgiveness and definite clarity.

      And the more I read - of her, and of 18th and 19th century novels - the more sublime she appears. She's far more original than the reader first notices. But her advances: of romantic entanglements; of moral understanding; of how her heroines talk to themselves (while her villains talk too much at everybody else, without ever listening); well, her advances have become foundational to the novel.

      I could make equivalent arguments for how Richardson, Fielding and Sterne each built part of those foundations. But Austen is the one whose work is most frequently taken for granted, and not appreciated for the bold and original work it was at the time.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 03:00:31 PM PST

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      •  i think it was sir walter scott who said of austen (1+ / 0-)
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        (not an exact quote, here) "anyone can do the big bow-wow but it takes real talent to make the ordinary interesting" -- or words to that effect.  

        didn't fielding write a parody of richardson's pamela b/c he though richardson was a hack?

        the 18th century had some great writers.

        •  Yes, Fielding wrote "Shamela" (0+ / 0-)

          and, judging from what I've read Richardson say of Fielding's work, Richardson was far too stuffy to enjoy a joke at his expense.

          Thanks for the nicely worded Scott quote.

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 01:35:45 PM PST

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          •  my rec button is currently invisible otherwise i (0+ / 0-)

            would give you one (that didn't make much sense, did it?) -- thanks for the compliment.

            i once tried to read shamela but it wore me down after 4 chapters.  fielding was a hoot!  too bad he died so young -- like jane austen.

            •  Yes, Fielding was a hoot. I like that word. (1+ / 0-)
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              I haven't even tried Richardson yet. He wore me down before I opened the book.

              But I have a complete Austen at home, so I still have a few to look forward to.

              "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

              by Brecht on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:53:51 PM PST

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