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I read Emma (1816) by Jane Austen as non-fiction

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Re: I read Emma (1816) by Jane Austen as non-fiction

Post by Harbal » June 19th, 2013, 8:45 am

Is "chip on your shoulder" just an English expression?

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Re: I read Emma (1816) by Jane Austen as non-fiction

Post by Pastabake » June 19th, 2013, 9:15 am

Harbal wrote:Is "chip on your shoulder" just an English expression?
You think it's just a chip? I suspect it's the whole goddamn tree. :lol:

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Re: I read Emma (1816) by Jane Austen as non-fiction

Post by Keithprosser3 » June 19th, 2013, 12:31 pm

Actually I disagree. Austin's novels are very political. P&P is about the prostitution of the Bennett daughters for social and economic gain - two essential plots highlight this theme ...

I welcome disagreement, but it's 1 t in Bennet.

Marriage in JAs time (and social circle) was cynical and materialistic. JA portrays marriage as materialistic not for political reasons but because that is how things were, and she was above all a realist writer. It is perhaps unfair to say that she only wrote about what she knew, and did not stretch her imagination to anything else, but it is not completely false.

Don't forget JA had a very, very sheltered life. She was educated entirely at home (except for a few months at boarding schools which were anything but politically progressive!). There is no record of her having any contact with radical ideas - or even having the opportunity of contact with them.

We don't get class mixing in JA. Worthy but impecunious male artisans do not get the Duke's beautiful daughter in JA. That might be because there are no impecunious but worthy male artisan characters in the first place. Even the servants are completely anonymous 'X's Cook' or 'Y's Butler'.

Lizzie Bennet is a spunky girl and JA clearly approves of women who expressing themselves forcefully (while retaining decorum, of course), but for all her independence, Lizzie is given no more radical fate than to marry the richest male character! If there is a political message in JA, it is that she seems to approve of the status quo of her time, rather more than disapprove of it, at least as long there was a happy ending (ie a suitably rich marriage for the heroine)!

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Re: I read Emma (1816) by Jane Austen as non-fiction

Post by Blauw bloed » June 19th, 2013, 12:54 pm

Jane Austen did not marry because she might have been a staunch lesbian. Her books are allegories and offer an idealized gentry. But they are also self-help books, to help her gentry to stay in power. The servants in her book are whites, and she hardly acknowledge them. Her family knew about her sexuality and was supportive, and she might have lived with a woman in her mother’s house. The war of ideas and Jane Austen written by one Butler, about Austens ideas. Her sister has purged her letters, which might have shed light on her political activism. She wrote, after a noble relative was beheaded in France, against the change of status quo: the 2-3% brown and black complexion elite losing power. She kept herself anonymous because she was meddling in dangerous politics. Only a whisper against the new order could have had her killed. There were other famous female authors, who made money, still Fanny Burney worked as reader for the Queen, wife of George III. In Emma (1816) the royal family was satirized, Mr. Woodhouse and his gruel eating habits are very much as George III was. And he did not want his daughters to marry, so one ended up an unwed mother. You whites have a very strange and childlike view of dear Jane, as your state does not want you to know you are not a free people, but really very stayed near the serfs/villains who were regarded by Jane Austen's class as subhuman and shoe leather. Interesting how you post in my thread but ignore me as if I’m subhuman. Try to read her letters as a start to form your own opinion about Jane Austen. I was two or three weeks ago in Chawton House and Chawton Cottage. They do not want a brown jane Austen, just nonsense about people planting their own medicinal plants and a fake, heterosexual Jane Austen.

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Re: I read Emma (1816) by Jane Austen as non-fiction

Post by Pastabake » June 19th, 2013, 1:12 pm

I find it hard to believe that having lived through both the American and French Revolutions that she would have been completely oblivious of them. Especially when it is clear that she is knowledgeable of the customs and fashions of the times ... so I think it's safe to say that while she may have had a sheltered life and lived under the radar ... it wasn't because she was living in a cave.

While I can see where you are coming from the problem stems from the fact that we are predisposed to view these as nothing more than fluff pieces ... however if you pay attention to the conversations that Mr Bennet has with Elizabeth and the general attitude they all have toward the money grubbing Mrs Bennet ... coupled with the conversation between Elizabeth and Charlotte once Elizabeth knows that Charlotte has sold herself into slavery it is more than clear that JA is having a dig at the present practice of prostitution and the appalling position that women find themselves in.

The very reason JA has been so successful is that for the unobservant these books seem completely innocuous, thus they remain under the radar of controversy ... even though it was indeed a woman that wrote them!

Elizabeth is the clarion call, she will not marry for anything but love ... which is in itself a complete rejection of the norms and worthy of being called revolutionary in itself.

That JA wrote books for money and never married also gives a clear hint as to where JA was coming from.

BB - from where I'm sat I have no idea what nationality or ethnicity you have and quite frankly I couldn't careless. The only point of interest is your ideas.

I actually find it strange and somewhat racist that you've made such an issue of your race ... it's almost as if YOU think it matters. However, as I cannot verify that you are who you claim to be I will continue to think of you as nothing more nor less than a stream of ideas.

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Re: I read Emma (1816) by Jane Austen as non-fiction

Post by Harbal » June 19th, 2013, 1:31 pm

I don't want to be controversial but I think Jane Austen was really a white heterosexual woman. This is just conjecture, on my part, and I don't have any documentary evidence to back it up but I have just got an inexplicable gut feeling about it. It's not that I think the state is above conspiring to hide embarrassing historical facts from its citizens. They deceived us over the supposed WMDs in Iraq. If they are capable of that, then they are certainly capable of covering up information as potentially volatile as the true ethnicity of Jane Austen.

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Re: I read Emma (1816) by Jane Austen as non-fiction

Post by Traineephilosopher » June 19th, 2013, 6:49 pm

I've thought about it long and hard and I'm almost sure that if Jane Austen turned out to be black, I would be able to handle it.

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Re: I read Emma (1816) by Jane Austen as non-fiction

Post by Keithprosser3 » June 20th, 2013, 10:11 am

It is endlessly debatable whether the 'unobservant' see less in PnP than there is or if others see more than there is!

Whether JA noticed the revolutionary notion of her times or not, they are not featured in hew novels. Her cousin Eliza de Feuillide (nee Hancock) married a French Compte who was guillotined. Eliza later married JA's brother Henry so JA was surely well acquainted with the French Revolution, but still it doesn't feature in the novels!

Does the practice of marrying for security rather than 'love' really deserves to be called 'prostitution'? It is closer to the concept of 'arranged marriages'. What we do not find in JA is the reality that while marriages were often contracted for financial or pragmatic grounds the taking of mistresses (and of course lovers) was all but universal. I see nothing revolutionary in JA - quite the opposite - she is only a honest chronicler of the status quo, or at least of a sanitised and somewhat hypocritical ideal of the status quo which she had no real quarrel with. She is not an early feminist Dickens.

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Re: I read Emma (1816) by Jane Austen as non-fiction

Post by Pastabake » June 20th, 2013, 12:29 pm

KP3 wrote:It is endlessly debatable whether the 'unobservant' see less in PnP than there is or if others see more than there is!
You are right of course and I apologise for making it seem otherwise. I've probably come across as if it's something close to my heart rather than just idle curiosity.
KP3 wrote:Whether JA noticed the revolutionary notion of her times or not, they are not featured in hew novels.
I wasn't suggesting that JA was a crass propagandist, quite the opposite in fact. The longevity of her works attest to the fact that she was subtle in her critique.
KP3 wrote:Does the practice of marrying for security rather than 'love' really deserves to be called 'prostitution'? It is closer to the concept of 'arranged marriages'.
What do you call someone who is willingly sold or sells themselves for profit? [Ignoring the many women, even today, who are sold against their wishes into an arranged marriage]I believe the general term is prostitute. Yes I accept that in the case of arranged marriages the woman is not repeatedly sold but that is because she is primarily a breeding heifer and not a sexual plaything like a mistress or Courtesan.

Elizabeth Bennet is not just some girl who fights against the idea of arranged marriage - which she does on more than one occasion, this is a girl who has, unusually for her times, been educated almost to the level of men. Some might have said, and will definitely have thought - if they were the reading kind, that such a woman would be completely ruined by this pointless over education. Yet Elizabeth Bennet has the last laugh because JA had the courage to point out that real men [How ironic that Darcy often gets played by homosexuals] don't shy away but embrace intelligence.

I would go as far to suggest that if we had bombed Afghanistan and the middle east with JA's books we'd have achieved a lot more than we have - of course the Taliban don't even like their women to be able read so that would have been a stumbling block.
KP3 wrote:I see nothing revolutionary in JA - quite the opposite - she is only a honest chronicler of the status quo, or at least of a sanitised and somewhat hypocritical ideal of the status quo which she had no real quarrel with.
As far as I can see every JA novel is a critique of the status quo. I'm not suggesting that she was a bra burner, I'm not even suggesting that she'd even countenance the idea of the lower classes marrying into the aristocracy ... I'm sure she'd be horrified by Kate Middleton. This is not to detract from her revolutionary ideas as it just frames where the revolution is.

How revolutionary is the idea of an educated girl?

How revolutionary is the idea of a woman wanting to be treated as an equal in a world ruled by men - not I may add an equality based upon wealth and power but one based upon intelligence?

How revolutionary is a girl that gets Darcy to reject the status quo and marry her?

How revolutionary is the idea of marrying for love when everyone else is doing it for profit?

It is no coincidence that the rest of the Bennet sisters are nothing more than cyphers, critiques if you wish of the positions available to women at that time.
KP3 wrote:she is only a honest chronicler of the status quo, or at least of a sanitised and somewhat hypocritical ideal of the status quo which she had no real quarrel with. She is not an early feminist Dickens.
Dickens was just as honest a chronicler of his times as JA was of hers.

It has to be remembered that the target audience of each of these writers was completely different and neither would have been as half successful if they hadn't written for their target audience ... and in all truth the worlds of Dickens and JA are separated by more than just time, but by the massive social and economic changes brought on by the industrial revolution.

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Re: I read Emma (1816) by Jane Austen as non-fiction

Post by Blauw bloed » June 20th, 2013, 3:16 pm

Her letters were purged, so we do not know her personal life or ideas. Her brothers were in the marines, so she knew about war and conflicts. They were a bohemien kind of family, they were not really just like the people in the book, those are idealised fictitious people, but I suspect all her family members acted as proofreaders to the figures loosely modelled on them. But they were political, and knew at that time one could not openly comment or write or sign petitions. That changed with the French revolution a bit, and other changes after 1848. The revolution we need to watch is that of 1848, when men got general suffrage and whites were emancipated, and portraits were repainted beige, as we can still see ourselves if we look at old masters. There is feminism in her books, but she was not an activist. She wrote mostly against brown and black complexioned, the first Europeans, lost power, due to their being divided, and giving whites notions of equality, and giving whites an education, as Emma demonstrates in hr conduct toward Harriet Smith. She gives Smith the idea she can be equal and marry Mr. Elton, black, spruce and smiling. Like the fake portraits, your reading of a perfectly clear Austen novel is untrue, false, and deliberately blind to the thruth.

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Re: I read Emma (1816) by Jane Austen as non-fiction

Post by Keithprosser3 » June 21st, 2013, 5:17 am

I don't see much disagreement with PB, except whether JA is 'revolutionary' or 'reactionary'. I jusr don't see JAs heroines as revolutionary... was it really so revolutionary that one should marry for love?

I think the independence of JAs heroines is pretty much the minimum there could be if there was to be any story at all! JAs heroines do reject eligible suitors in favour of a man she loves, but her right to do so is never seriously challenged by the other characters. JA does disapprove of loveless marriage, but I think she disapproves of 'unsuitable' matches far more - compare her attitude to the wedding of Charlotte Lucas and Lydia Bennet in PnP. JAs plot (singular intended!) is woman falls for man X, but there is some obstacle. Man Y comes into the heroines life but is rejected. Finally X and the heroine get married. Marriage to a suitable man is the end of the tale.

The interest in reading JA (for me) is not the radical nature of the story, but in the way she draws her characters and the almost Wildean wit of her writing and dialogue. It JAs literary style, not its substance, that gave her books their immortality.

I think BB must be talking about a different author with the same name.

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Re: I read Emma (1816) by Jane Austen as non-fiction

Post by Blauw bloed » June 21st, 2013, 5:36 am

Keithprosser3 wrote:It is endlessly debatable whether the 'unobservant' see less in PnP than there is or if others see more than there is!

Whether JA noticed the revolutionary notion of her times or not, they are not featured in hew novels. Her cousin Eliza de Feuillide (nee Hancock) married a French Compte who was guillotined. Eliza later married JA's brother Henry so JA was surely well acquainted with the French Revolution, but still it doesn't feature in the novels!

Does the practice of marrying for security rather than 'love' really deserves to be called 'prostitution'? It is closer to the concept of 'arranged marriages'. What we do not find in JA is the reality that while marriages were often contracted for financial or pragmatic grounds the taking of mistresses (and of course lovers) was all but universal. I see nothing revolutionary in JA - quite the opposite - she is only a honest chronicler of the status quo, or at least of a sanitised and somewhat hypocritical ideal of the status quo which she had no real quarrel with. She is not an early feminist Dickens.


Man cannot see a thing he does not know. He can step on an alien, without noticing; as he does not know what an alien looks like. Whites are told there were no Blacks in Europe, so even if a portrait of a Black European is shoved up their a**, they will not notice. If they bleed, they will say 'hemorrhoids' rather then 'Yes, Jane Austen; a brunette of complexion, not a pink color; but rich brown.' Her cousin Eliza de Feuillde wrote about herself: 'she heightened her native brown color with a Tan, by staying two years in the country.' Heightened, and Tan. They did tan. A writer writes about things he/she knows, that have impressed themselves on him/her. The outcome of the French Revolution was the wholesale killing of the nobility and its defenders, nobles fleeing France, imagery like the Black Madonna's being destroyed: so even showing Jane Austen's true portrait with classical African facial traits would be courting disaster by the Austen's. So they gladly handed over an ugly white image as Jane Austen's would be portrait by Cassandra, to deflect attention away. Black superiority 1100-1848 was not debatable, so spoken of in allegories, like Emma (1816). I read parts of Emma like non-fiction, like when she talks about Emma's disdain for whites, or how Emma is shocked when Mr. Elton tries to make love to her in a carriage, while he is black like Emma or Mr. Knightley, he is much lower in status: coming from trade. Emma Woodhouse is like a queen, like a mix between Elizabeth I (Austen loathed) and Mary of Scotts (Austen loved.) Elizabeth grew up at Hartfeld, and Emma's abode is named Hartfield. The supper of scalloped oysters for all the spinsters, sounds to me like a reference to lesbianism. Interesting is how Austen tries to recreate the mysterious origins of whites, by making Harriet Smith of unknown descend.

list of my publications;

1. 200 years a kingdom: portraits of the brown and black complexioned, Black Dutch royal house of Orange-Nassau (1533-2013) Codfried, Egmond / Suriname Blue Blood is Black Blood Museum / 2013

2. Badal, or, The suicide of a reformed housenigger Codfried, Egmond / Codfried / 2012

3. Was Jane Austen Black? Codfried, Egmond / 1st ed / Codfried / 2011

4. Will there be another Holocaust? = Komt er weer een Holocaust? Codfried, Egmond / Codfried / 2010

5. Blue blood is Black blood : the iconographical proof of a dominating Black and colored European race who were a noble and royal elite (1500-1789) = Blauw bloed is zwart bloed : het iconografisch bewijs van een dominerende zwarte en gekleurde Europese natie die een adellijke en koninklijke elite was (1500-1789) Codfried, Egmond / Codfried / [2009]


6. De vijand van de Neeger Codfried, Egmond / Codfried / 2006-...

7. De vijand van de Neeger ; Dl. 1: Ongeediteerde correspondentie en columns 2004-2006 Codfried, Egmond / 1e dr / Codfried / 2006

8. Carmelita, Carmen! Codfried, Egmond / 1e dr / Codfried / 2006

9. Maria Susanna Du Plessis (1739-1795) : dader of slachtoffer? Codfried, Egmond / 8e bew. dr / Codfried / 2005

10. Belle van Zuylen's vergeten oma: Maria Jacoba van Goor (1687-1737) : een beknopte studie over Zwarten en kleurlingen in Europa en Nederland door de eeuwen heen Codfried, Egmond / 1e verb. dr / Codfried / 2005 persoonsnaam Codfried, Egmond Zuylen, Belle trefwoord rassenvraagstuk racisme alle woorden codfried esr stolkert kleurlingen dader rassenvraagstuk charrièrevan egmond slachtoffer charrière

11. Belle van Zuylen's vergeten oma: Maria Jacoba van Goor (1687-1737) : een beknopte studie over Zwarten en kleurlingen in Europa en Nederland door de eeuwen heen Codfried, Egmond / Codfried / 2004

12. Maria Susanna Du Plessis (1739-1795) : dader of slachtoffer? Codfried, Egmond / 4e bew. dr / Egmond Codfried / cop. 2003

-- Updated June 21st, 2013, 6:29 am to add the following --

http://books.google.nl/books?id=WuK9eXP ... ey&f=false

the latest edition of Jane Austen's letters is online...

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Re: I read Emma (1816) by Jane Austen as non-fiction

Post by Pastabake » June 21st, 2013, 6:36 am

KP3 wrote:The interest in reading JA (for me) is not the radical nature of the story, but in the way she draws her characters and the almost Wildean wit of her writing and dialogue. It JAs literary style, not its substance, that gave her books their immortality.
I agree we should never loose sight of the fact that her literary ability is what made her great.
KP3 wrote:was it really so revolutionary that one should marry for love?
I think the only way to understand how revolutionary marrying for love was for the aristocracy in 1800's is to imagine yourself as a woman living in a Muslim country today. Sure it is possible to 'love' the person you are forced to marry, but the over riding reason for the marriage has nothing to do with love.

I think living in a modern western country makes it so easy to forget exactly how rigid the social structure was back then. I think the idea of someone like Elizabeth Bennet marrying for love was as radical an idea as extending the franchise for men. Of course even suggesting that women should have the vote would have found you socially humiliated and ostracised as an insane lunatic.
KP3 wrote:JA does disapprove of loveless marriage, but I think she disapproves of 'unsuitable' matches far more - compare her attitude to the wedding of Charlotte Lucas and Lydia Bennet in PnP.
I'm not so sure it's that clear cut. She didn't disapprove of the Bennet's marrying above their station, and I'm sure her disapproval of Lydia's marriage was the result of knowing what kind of man Wickham is and therefore knowing that 'love' and 'happiness' were never going to be long term possibilities for Lydia - but for the sake of the rest of the Bennet clan Lydia had to be sacrificed. As for Charlotte - her friendship with and the reality of Charlotte's position make all the difference. JA was both subtle and a realist and I think it a mistake to assume that our separation is simply one of time.

I agree about JA's plot. Isn't it the obstacle that makes all the difference though?

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Re: I read Emma (1816) by Jane Austen as non-fiction

Post by Blauw bloed » June 21st, 2013, 7:18 am

Why does it seem that I who have studied Jane Austen still know less than these amateurs? Jane Austen is now regarded as part of the heritage movement, about people curing their own meat, staining their own wool with natural products, and having silly costume parties. She is whitened and her political sting has been removed, so she could be part of the fake white history, of how the former shoe leather cattle got themselves a history by making the brown and black complexioned European elite: white. regarding Lydia, I noticed she suffers little or no punishment for her conduct, nary a slap on the wrist. I see Lydia as the sort of girl in many families who needs to be married as soon as possible for her not to disgrace her family. he is like the oldest sister of Napoleon, who was gaining a reputation so was out married as quickly as possible. She never lost her love for men, many men, but at least she was faithful to Napoleon when everyone abandoned him. Jane Austen seems to present Lydia as an example of what a woman has to do to have her own way, and still come out on top. By forcing the family to accept, by a kind of elopement. Once in a while Turkish girls in Holland elope, go to a relative’s house, and force the hand of their parents. Once eloped she is tainted goods, so they might as well have them married, in a proper, public and costly manner. Yes, the prevailing morality, even the style of dress of European Muslims, remind me much of how Jane Austen presents her personages. Mansfield Park is about slavery, and she shows how brown and black Europeans used their own African brothers as slaves. It was based on the life of Dido Elizabeth Langsay, a beloved niece of Lord Mansfield, who was the daughter of a British captain and a former enslaved woman. There is a portrait in Google and she looks Black. She became the person of Fanny Price, whose mother eloped with a white man. Dido is some African Queen, yet as a daughter of a former slave Dido Elisabeth could not sit at the table when there were guests, just like Fanny Price. The reverend George Austen, Jane Austen's father, was a trustee to a plantation on Antigua, which belonged to Mr. Knibbs. Mr. Knibbs was also the godfather of Jane Austen, and his son used to be a pupil of Mr. Austen. So one could be a minister of the church, yet be part in human trade as slavery is. Slavery and color are two great taboos among white scholars, and hamper the right understanding of Jane Austen. So again Mansfield Park is about politics, yet as an allegory, as the word slavery is hardly mentioned, but is ‘showed.’ Mr. Crawford, the man we love to hate, but he is really not so bad ; 'absolutely plain, black and plain; but still the gentleman. His lovely sister Mary is very brown, and they are very rich too.

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Re: I read Emma (1816) by Jane Austen as non-fiction

Post by Keithprosser3 » June 21st, 2013, 1:13 pm

The best thing about this thread is that it is getting me to read all the Austen novels again. I think some of the problem is that JA is so good that feminists want to steal her, post-colonials want to steal her, and probably socialists, fascists and the taliban probably do as well! I don't think it would be hard to cook up an argument that JA was a proto-feminist, a proto-fassist or a proto-animal-rights-activist (she shows her contempt of fox hunting by deliberately not mentioning it anywhere, for instance).

Wordworth said 'We murder to dissect' about science, but I think it applies doubly to lit crit! I'm leaving this topic alone for now, at least until I have got through the rest of her stuff.

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