". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Jane Austen - ¡pobrecita!

Despite having the book before mine eyes just three days ago I cannot recall either author or title, but it was yet another in the endless series of fantasies biting Jane Austen's novels -- i.e. as gleefully declared -- the same novels but with MAGIC!

Early either the protagonist or the narrator -- can't recall which -- describes another character, but who never is actually on stage, as "half mulatto."* Hello?  How can this be, a half mulatto?  First, the figure is also described as female, so that would be mulatta.  Second -- not half mulatto, but quadroon, fer pete's sake!  Authors wanting to signifiy diversity should at least understand what it means they are saying.

I can never try and read these preposterousities without going Whisky, Tango, Foxtrot. For one thing, all that magic so carefully systematized?  It takes as much time and effort to decorate a house magically as a team of skilled artisans would do, arriving at the same effects as with, you know, actual material STUFF like paint and plaster and candles. So then, what is the point? In the meantime these aristo magikers steal jobs away from whole packs of lower class people, who don't have independent fortunes, such as that into which every Austen fantasist marries her protagonist into -- in these novels there are far more Darcys as husbands than disinherited Edward Ferrars

Good grief, what will these authors do when they've run through all of Jane Austen's novels, unfinished works and her juvenilia? Can they possibly create story lines and characters out of what they know?


Jane Austen as theme park, why yes, we really have that too.

Gads, even Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma is more palatable.  

Presumably however, Jane Austen's works will survive even this -- they've survived everything else, including zombies, vampires, squids, and P.D. James.  There are times when George Eliot's "Silly Novels by Lady Novelists" percolates madly while reading.


* Yes, Ms. Austen herself used this in the never-completed Sanditon.  Persumably, however, this would have been corrected, if she'd lived to re-write and revise.  Writers, when in that fortunate state of creativity will make errors, even when knowing there may be doubts about this word, this sentence, this fact, but the point is to get the words down, so you have content to work with.

Or -- as the terms the Brits used are all borrowed from French and Spanish color perhaps - O heresy! Austen just got that wrong? :) There is an exception that is British / American for sure, and that's a word no one not of African heritage has the right to use these days.

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