Monday, March 4, 2019

This was supposed to be the first morning of my go-to-school-every-day, last-push-of-the-high-school-residency schedule. But no. I have a snow day. So I guess I'll be editing instead, and beginning to prep for my 24PearlStreet poetry master class. And shoveling. At risk of betraying my childhood self, I am kind of wishing I were just going to school. The residency is two-thirds done; the kids are really engaged; today was the last day my co-teacher could be on the job with me. But c'est la vie en March.

I spent the weekend rereading Jane Austen's Persuasion, and adoring it all over again. Remember that it was published in 1817, soon before Austen died. And now think about the writer who could insert this declaration into the mouth of her female heroine--a gentle, non-pushy woman who is speaking to her beloved's best friend about whether men or women are more constant in their love. It's a feminist trumpet blast, one that also echoes with the strange meta-implications that arise when a novelist suggests that people shouldn't trust books.
Captain Harville: "I do not think I ever opened a book in my life which had not something to say about woman's inconstancy. Songs and proverbs, all talk of woman's fickleness. But, perhaps, you will say these were all written by men." 
Anne Elliott: "Perhaps I shall. Yes, yes, if you please, no reference to examples in books. Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything."

1 comment:

Ang said...

I love all that harbinger implies.