Thursday, February 10, 2011
Jane vs George
She is just as quotable, for instance, Sir James in Middlemarch, in thinking of Dorothea and his general ability to handle her, considers; 'A man's mind - what there is of it - has always the advantage of being masculine, - as the smallest birch-tree is of a higher kind than the most soaring palm, - and even his ignorance is of a sounder quality.'
GE was also far more of a rule-breaker than our girl Jane, living unmarried with a man for much of her adult life. Her heroines are more complex, and often dislikable but still manage to inspire empathy given their overwhelming humaness.
GE translated German philosophy into English, such was the depth and breath of her intelligence.
The contest between Jane and George is, ultimately, in my head, and I would by no means suggest we stop reading Persuasion or P&P or S&S. It's just that I would like to see a little more attention shined on the author who is, to my mind, the greatest English novelist of the 19th century. There, I said it.