Dear Readers,

I now consider this blog to be my Juvenelia. Have fun perusing the archives, and find me at my new haunt, here.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Woman's Wit

I finally made it to the Jane Austen exhibit at the Morgan Library today with Simon and our friend Zach, and am so glad I did.

It was a lovely and definitive collection of Jane's lively witty letters written in a tiny hand to save paper, and a full original draft of Lady Susan, plus tons of goodies, like original manuscripts of writing by Walter Scott, Nabokov and Yeats discussing Austen's works, as well as old editions of her books and illustrations. The exhibit ended with a video that showed a number of writers, thinkers, and artists visiting the exhibit and interacting with Austen's letters and legacy. Cornel West called Austen a "Shakespearean novelist" and said he'd like to give her a hug, because without her there would be no Flaubert, Dickens or Tolstoy, while Siri Hustvedt explained that Austen transcends "comedy of manners" to write about the relationships between ourselves, our perceptions, and others. Fran Lebowitz said that Austen hasn't aged or dated because her observations are true.
Zach took this shot of a Frances Burney subscription list,
the only time Austen ever saw her own name in print.

Simon and I were nodding like true devotees throughout the whole thing, and there was something rather moving about all the visitors filtering through the smallish room. I heard so many animated conversations about Austen and her characters, people explaining to their friends and family why she was so awesome. I've never done any JASNA events, so it was a nice feeling of kinship with my fellow Janeites.

It any of you are in the NY area before mid-march, check it out!

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