Thursday, 26 January 2012

GUESTPOST: SHERRI RABINOWITZ, WE NEED MORE JANE AUSTEN

Sherri Rabinowitz has been writing since she was a small child. She was inspired by Ray Bradbury and Agatha Christie. She had always loved writing but has had to make a living in a varied number of ways. She worked as an actress, a travel agent and in several forms of customer service. Her passion though has always been writing. She loves and enjoys both reading and writing fan fiction. Fantasy Time Inc. is her second work of original fiction.

Sherri is my guest to meet you,  friends of My Jane Austen Book Club and to share her love for Jane Austen and her novels with all of us. She thinks we need more Jane Austen and less reality TV. Do you agree with her?  Enjoy her blogpost and welcome her among us!

It’s a world full of domestic issues, romance with the wrong men, not understanding where the other sex is coming from, sibling rivalry,    family issues and people full of self importance.

Sound familiar?  Well it’s not now, my friends. This is the world of Jane Austen. People haven’t changed at all socially; we have the same worries, problems and dreams.


In the western world women have achieved a lot since that time, and we should be grateful and appreciative. Unlike the women of Austen, we have the right to vote, to work, to own property, and most important, the right to choose who to marry or if we want to marry at all.  We take these things for granted in this country but our Great Grandmothers fought for these rights and some died for them.

And yet, there are things of that world I envy. I love that there was a politeness and gentleness that we don’t have now. There was a poise and elegance that does not exist today. I would love to go to a ball. I would love the beauty of the period. Would I give up the rights I have now for that? NO! I would like it if we could be a little more polite and caring though. And I would still like to go to a ball.

All of Jane Austen’s work is about the social life that went on around her. All of her ironic comedy was about a very serious issue for women. Her only job was to marry and marry well. It’s all subtext but one false step could have a woman drop out of polite society and ruin her. A woman was supposed to be politely poor till some man rescues her and marries her. Her work is funny and fun: the misunderstandings, the silly fights, the women who are full of themselves. Women today have to see all we have gained and yet try to understand where we came from. If you don’t know and understand the past you’re doomed to repeat it.

Jane Austen clearly saw the problem and used it as the serious part of her text. She brilliantly showed life then in a funny way. She also could see that things were going to change because women were changing. She saw it all and it is all in the subtext. She was such a shrewd woman - she knew how people of her time would accept it and she fed it with a happy ending that would be acceptable. Amazing.

Today young women think that they are only people to ever go through these things and that only other young women could understand. I have a young friend who is college educated who had never heard of Jane Austen.  She saw Pride and Prejudice and she was telling me all about it. I had a weird smile on my face and she said “What?”

I said, “I know the story, I read it.”

“Oh, is it from a book? Is it a new writer?”

I started to laugh, and explained. She was a bit embarrassed, “That’s the writer you always go on and on about?”

I nodded.

“Ok, I will buy the novel.”  She is hooked, now she has read all her books and juvenilia.

The reason I love Jane Austen is because she saw the irony in life. Her work is very funny and cutting. She opened the eyes of her contemporaries and she created the romantic comedy as we know it. People still use her formula to write the perfect comedy.

If the family is foundation of America I am very worried our foundation is crumbling. Look at Reality TV, is this the example you want our children to have of family life? I am really, really not advocating Father Knows Best but The Kardashians know worst as far I can see.

I think it would be better to give young people Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility then Kim and Kourtney Take NY. I really don’t have anything against them but I would rather our next generation follow Elizabeth Bennet then Kim Kardashian.

 Sherri Rabinowitz 

6 comments:

Farida Mestek said...

Great post! Thank you:-)) I totally agree with you. I know exactly what you mean about Jane, her books (I feel the same way about them) and TV influence nowadays.

Alexa Adams said...

Here here! More Austen and less Kardashians would be a very fine thing for the world.

Ri The Bard said...

Thank you Farida and Alexa for the wonderful comments. Wouldn't be great if there was a great scripted series on TV wonderfully written and based on Jane Austen?

Farida Mestek said...

Absolutely! That would be so great!

maribea said...

Oh Sherri, I do agree with you! I'm in love with literature and poetry and dance and gentleness. During these past four years my best friends have been the people I danced with..and we danced 19th century dance and we treated each other with the courtesy and politeness it was considered proper at that time and we consider important even now.
Now I'm leaving them because I'm moving abroad...but I won't leave my romantic heart behind!

Ri The Bard said...

I will not either, I think that is how we can survive this world right now!