Saturday, March 08, 2008

All the Chick-Lit of Yore

I have a lonesome copy of 'Emma' by Jane Austen stashed away at the bottom of the forgotten portion of the bookshelf. I have attempted to read it four times and have given up. I presume, I would have flunked English Literature if Jane Austen's work had been a part of the curriculum. I admit that Ms. Austen's work is astute,witty and on par with that of her contemporaries. I also admit that I occasionally take a fleeting interest in chick-lit, and that Jane Austen was the forerunner of that unfortunate genre.

My interest in chick-lit is fleeting enough to give in to the lazy urge to watch the movie instead of reading the book.As a result, I've watched adaptations of 'Sense and Sensibility' and 'Pride and Prejudice' before actually reading them(in my opinion a heinous crime against literary genius). 'Emma' is different. I haven't seen a film or a mini series based on 'Emma'. Thus 'Emma' poses some sort of dilemma to my wayward conscience;'to read or not to read'.

Ms. Austen's books stereotypically have characters like gorgeous damsels, plain Janes,cranky old men, snooty aristocratic ladies,thick headed dandies, unstoppable matchmakers and embarrassing mothers with both feet in their mouths.There is heartbreak,misunderstanding,double crossing,torrid romance,more torrid gossip and nearly every other ingredient of a daytime soap opera.What sets Ms. Austen's work apart from contemporary chick-lit and the average soap opera is her persistent wit and her keen assessment of human character.

I figured that after a dose of Dostoyevsky's mysticism,common human hypocrisy,hardcore libertarianism,forgotten lives in the Salinas valley,racism and war; chick-lit would be an excellent remedy. I've chosen 'Emma' to prove that my conscience,though occasionally unpredictable, is crystal clear. Stay tuned for more outlandish desecration.

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