Friday, July 23, 2010

Jane Austen reviews Twilight

I would like to give credit where credit is due, but I can't remember where I found this. It's quite amusing.

Nature had given young Edward his share of good looks and yet he was so very pale and wasted-looking as to suggest a chronic infirmity. Moreover, he was of a reserved and melancholy disposition, keeping entirely to his family circle, and addressing no one else.
Their acquaintance might not have progressed had not Edward occasion to save Bella from certain disaster when a Chariot, coursing at great speed, raced in her direction. Though uninjured, it was thought necessary for Bella to be attended by a Physician, which gave her opportunity to meet Doctor Cullen, a kindly gentleman, but one whose pallor was so extreme that it was difficult to imagine, looking so ill himself, that he could coax anyone else into health and vigor.
In the community of Forks, the point at which a young lady might be said to be ‘out’ was in her seventeenth year or thereabouts, whereupon they were brought into Society all together at a Great Promenade, which the young people referred to as The Prom. At The Prom, young ladies and their escorts dress in their finest attire and attend a Great Ball, where they have their likenesses done, and partake of refreshments and then there is Dancing.

Edward, wishing to unburden himself, confessed to Bella that he and all his family were long afflicted with an incurable Malady, and to make her better understand it, he carried her above the crest of the wood to the point where the sun broke through the clouds. The sunlight raised great radiant blisters upon Edward’s skin, and from this and his strange fits of passion and dyspepsia and sleeplessness, I inferred that his Malady was the same which was said to have beset His Majesty, our beloved King George, though Bella called it by a peculiar name. Her expressions of tenderness and compassion reassured him that his affection for her – despite his declaration that he had killed a great number of People, and, in fact, had wished to kill Miss Swan herself upon their first introduction – was enthusiastically reciprocated. An invitation to know his family better, to dine with them (though their chronic dyspepsia kept them from eating scarcely anything at all) and to join them in a family game of Cricket was offered. The Cullens all displayed a superior agility and speed at the game of Cricket, which gave Bella the hope that, despite their dyspepsia and pallor and chronic infirmity, they might one day rally against the ravages of their Affliction.

Despite her injuries, Bella was able to attend The Prom with Edward though obliged to wear a great splint upon her injured limb, which, while cumbersome, could not render her unfit for Dancing. When they were able to draw away from the company and enjoy a few minutes of uninterrupted discourse, Bella expressed a genuine dismay that Edward had been so skillful in extracting the Poison from her that she had not suffered any Infection, and thereby been deprived of sharing in his Affliction. She pressed him to inflict his Malady upon her, but Edward firmly refused, insisting that he could not consign her with so grave and irreversible a state and still be thought a gentleman. It was upon this note that the Playlet ended, and when I remarked upon the abruptness of it, Mr Plumptre informed me that it was only the First Part of the Playlet and that in the coming months there will be subsequent new performances that are called Sequels which will continue on with further episodes of Bella, the Cullens, etc etc

For my own part, I can see no advantage to irritate an audience by giving them only a portion of the Work or suspend their interest and pleasure. I am certain that no one could like P&P half so much if they got to the end only to find that they had put down their money and only got half a tale!

Yours very affec.


Bess said...

I wish Touchstone reviewed Twilight. He was eerily silent.

Esther said...

John Granger does review it for Touchstone. See the article here.

Esther said...

I don't know what category Twilight would fall under for David Mills. It does seem like it would fit with the "problem books" discussed. "...the problems usually being the typical teenage struggles with boyfriends or girlfriends or the lack thereof...clueless parents... bad skin, bad hair... insecurity, and fear." But on the other hand, he defines "neo-classical secular" as the "kind of book is morally serious and even traditional both in its morality and in its heroic ideal, in a way the average young adult book isn’t."

Katy said...

Speaking of The Prom...Can I use this as an excuse to share another amusing quote from one of Jane's letters?
[At a ball, where being introduced is a prerequisite before a gentleman can ask a lady with whom he is unacquainted to dance:]
"There was one gentleman, an officer of the Cheshire, a very good-looking young man, who, I was told, wanted very much to be introduced to me, but as he did not want it quite enough to take much trouble in effecting it, we never could bring it about."

Lydia said...

Did I tell u this made me laugh out loud, Drew too :)

Esther said...

That's great! I liked the
"Doctor Cullen, a kindly gentleman, but one whose pallor was so extreme that it was difficult to imagine, looking so ill himself, that he could coax anyone else into health and vigor."
And the reference to King George being beset w/ the same malady was funny.
My favorite, though, is, "though their chronic dyspepsia kept them from eating scarcely anything at all."