Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Apologia pro vita mea

Dear comma-rades, it's been a week, and I've missed you all. I've been fending off tribes of nomadic first-year students, all keen to pitch camp in my overpopulated autobiography course. I gave the course reader a hot-pink cover. The young folk saw it there in the campus bookshop. It spoke to their collective inner Barbie-doll fetishist, and before I knew it, 80 new converts were trying to squeeze their way into my lecture hall (only to discover that I talk inordinately about the painting of dead Japanese fish).

Note that I do not mention members of the Australian Football League. My self-restraint surprises even me.

So, it's been all quiet on the blog front, while I've bulldozed my way through a wall of solid administrivia, armed with nothing but cocoa solids. My sense of vocation was reinvigorated this morning when one of the young scholars told me I looked like a Jane Austen character. "It's the spiky hair and the knee-length skirt, isn't it?" Well, no, I look like a twentieth-century Jane Austen character, she said. Mr Collins in drag, perhaps?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

A Jane Austen character, eh? I wonder if that's a metaphor for being under-sexed?

TimT said...

(You know, anonymous, you remind me of a character from a book too... Town Anonymouse and Country Anonymouse...)

It could be worse. You could be mistaken for a character in a song about Austin, Texas, which would mean you would be unemployed, and have whisky breath, and stubble.

OR you could be mistaken for an Austen Powers bit character, which would certainly be interesting...

alexis said...

I *hope* my student was suggesting that I'm undersexed. Mention enough times that Yeats' cadences evoke the throb of uterine sphincters and folks are inclined to ascribe ye olde English-teacherly prurience.

But that aside, what's all this about Jane Austen characters being undersexed? Tell that to Willoughby, or Marion Dashwood, or Lydia Bennet, who does a fair impersonation of wayward strumpetry (meaning no disrespect to any wayward strumpets out there). She doesn't go into anatomical detail, but they're sexy books.

Tim, you put things in perspective perfectly. I'm feeling mightily consoled.

lucy tartan said...

Would you like to come and do a Tableau Vivant for my ladies and gentleman one morning?

TimT said...

Right then, at the risk of going on in the same theme, this is for you. Of course, the question remains, if we are all comparable to Jane Austen characters, who did Jane Austen characters compare themselves to?

(Or, to ask another question: we all know what Shakespeare thought of Hamlet. But what might Hamlet have thought of Shakespeare?)

alexis said...

You make it all sound mighty tempting, Lucy T, tableaux vivants being amongst my favourite ways to spend a Tuesday arvo. Not sure that I'm really cut out for toeing the empire line, though.

alexis said...

"Toeing the empire line". Did I type that? Sounds logistically tricky.

alexis said...

Tim, Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey identifies with the heroines of Ann Radcliffe novels. The folks in Mansfield Park rehearse a sensational Inchbald play called Lovers' Vows, and seem to embrace their roles pretty wholeheartedly. That's all I can think of just now, but there's lots about reading. I'm sure someone's written a book on just your question.

TimT said...

The Mansfield Park sequence did come to mind, and I laughed out loud at some of the conversations between Catherine and whatsisname about the novels of Ann Radcliffe. Also, Emma has plenty of word-games, including poetical riddles (My FIRST is in PLINTH but not in GOLIARDERY/My SECOND is in HABERDASHERY, but never in SUPERCALAFRAGALISTICEXPIALADOCIOUS) - one of Emma's passing obsessions.

I like to think that at least one of Ms Austen's characters will, at some stage of their lives, read one of Ms Austen's novels...

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