Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Jane Austen's latest fan

How quick come the reasons for approving what we like!
Jane Austen

My favourite author was just elevated to some political eminence when it was revealed that President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan, is an Austen aficionada. She reads "Pride & Prejudice" yearly!

This piece of very important information became public knowledge in a thread on Marty Peretz's Spine blog, here. This sensational bit of news, was discreetly inserted between discussions of Shylock, Derrida, TS Eliot, and suchlike, you know, the usual high-brow topics quarreled over on The New Republic, and immediately provoked waves of protestations and dire prognostications. The informer was poster K2K, a citizen of the Republic of Pemberley, who appeared to derive much relish from the shock waves of disbelief she unleashed. Here is what she said, somewhere on p. 2 of the blog post:

05/11/2010 - 1:15am EDT |

NYT reports that, Elena Kagan is also "the literature lover who reread Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” every year. "

"But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she hardly had a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes."

As is my wont, I wanted to verify this information since things too good to be true have to be double checked for authenticity. And indeed, another source reported the same:

She was the razor-sharp newspaper editor and history major at Princeton who examined American socialism, and the Supreme Court clerk for a legal giant, Thurgood Marshall, who nicknamed her “Shorty.” She was the reformed teenage smoker who confessed to the occasional cigar as she fought Big Tobacco for the Clinton administration, and the literature lover who reread Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” every year.

When asked what she thought about the nominee, Jane Austen decorously said:

“Everything united in her; good understanding, correct opinions, knowledge of the world and a warm heart”


At 12:01 AM EDT, Anonymous Migreli said...

Another admirer of Jane Austen is the comedian David Baddiel. Here is his tribute.

"When Austen gets into her stride, which she does very quickly with Sense and Sensibility, suddenly, you have all the key modern realist devices: ironic narration; controlled point of view; structural unity; transparency of focus; ensemble characterisation; fixed arenas of time and place; and, most importantly, the giving-up of the fantastical in favour of a notion that art should represent life as it is actually lived in all its wonderful ordinariness. She is the first person, as John Updike put it: “to give the mundane its beautiful due”, and her work leads to Updike as much as it does to George Eliot.

At 2:40 AM EDT, Blogger EscapeVelocity said...

Yet another Leftwing Jew on the Supreme Court.

At 7:08 PM EDT, Anonymous K2K said...

The source was the same New York Times article on Kagan, so you shall have to wait for Kagan's testimony before Congress to determine if she indeed reads P&P every year. Probably helps her control her Upper West Side brashness when surrounded by the gentility of Cambridge and Washington.

My interest in Jane Austen came from judging a high school essay contest in 2003, where the student labored to make a case for P&P as proto-feminist. Appalled by such a postmodern concept, I started watching the videos, since my memory of reading P&P for English Lit was too dim. My current quotes are lifted from wikiquote.
I only started doing that at TNR because I noticed here that you love Austen, and to have fun with some others.

and, for the record, I am not a "she", not that there is anything wrong with being a "she". Which is why Colonel Brandon is my role model.

Sorry to disappoint, but I do love Austen, even if only in film adaptations.

At 9:01 PM EDT, Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

Sorry about the gender mixup. I thought K2K was commenter Birdalone who is self-identified as female:



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