Tuesday, May 30, 2006

more Austen

I've been meaning to write about the new editions of Jane Austen's novels, which have apparently been repackaged in the style of 'chick-lit' to encourage "women put off by the idea of reading a 19th century writer", and presumably also women put off by reading anything that doesn't have a pink cover. I don't have time to say a lot about this, and the argument about what exactly chick-lit is will have to wait for another time.

So instead you should read Zoe Williams in last Saturday's Guardian and remember why you love her:

"The accompanying press release reads: "Who is the fairy godmother of women's fiction? And who is still packaged like a dry, academic author, reaching only a tiny fraction of her potential audience? The answer, of course, is Jane Austen!" This, I feel it's worth pointing out, was printed in pink. There are few things that irk me more than the idea that women will pay more attention to things that are printed in pink. Just track back the thought process: here are some words; their colour will add nothing to their significance; nevertheless, those black ones are boring! Black is for stuffy people! I like those pink ones better, I'll bet they smell really nice, too ... oh no, they don't smell, they're words. Come on, this is five-year-old territory. What say we give away some My Little Pony stickers with every third copy of The Mayor Of Casterbridge? How about reviving the flagging reputation of Dickens with a cover-mounted Kinder egg?"