I've got your back, Jane

8:46 AM


 Twain’s attacks on Austen are over a hundred years old, but he better watch it.

You guys have probably already heard about Mark Twain bad-mouthing Jane Austen. Even though making author-on-author attacks is every writer’s prerogative, I can’t share Twain’s views.

It just so happens that I was reading Twain’s “The Prince and the Pauper” the other day. I admit it – it has some really funny parts, but I couldn’t manage to finish it. I decided to put it aside for a bit and read a little of “Emma” by Jane Austen.

What a relief! This is where I want to be: with Emma interfering on other people's love lives.


I’m not really sure if there’s anybody out there who enjoys both Twain and Austen – probably there is. But the thing is: they are different. 

It seems natural to me that the person who wrote a book revolving around the struggles and adventures of two boys in Henry VIII’s London is not going to enjoy the struggles and adventures of girls who want to get married.

They are different authors writing for different audiences. If one has more literary merit than the other… well, that’s a different story. But so is beating up a dead Jane Austen.

While reading this post I realized I wasn’t really able to grab Twain by the collar and make him take what he said about Pride and Prejudice back. But I can’t help it, I’m an Austen reader.

Images: 1 North of Here., 2 mine! didn't I tell you I was having fun with cameras?

How do you feel about Twain's remarks? Have you read any of his books?

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4 comments

  1. i read Twain's Tom Swayer and Huckleberry Finn. I loved Tom Swayer, but Huckleberry not so much(i'll read it again some other time. I never read an Austen book, but i did read "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott and i loved it too. And i think Austen and Alcott are very alike. So it is possible to like both authors and to love their characters and books. :D

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    1. Look at that - a Twain and a "almost Austen" fan, perhaps a Austen by proxy fan!

      I've only watched the movie adaptation of Little Women, so I do encourage you to try Austen's books, they are great! xx

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  2. Especially in the latter stage of his life, Twain was an irascible man with something negative to say about everyone. Many accounts have it that he was almost impossible to be around.

    Bret Harte was once a close friend of Twain's, but they had a falling out so bad that Twain even wrote to the US government, vehemently stating that Harte was unfit for his post in the German Consulate--not to mention all the negative things Twain wrote about Harte in his autobiography.

    He wasn't a very happy dude.

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  3. Oh my, I had no idea! This does change things a bit, in the sense that we can interpret what he said more like a litte rant from an angry grandpa than serious criticism. I joke, of course, but it's interesting to see how these literary bad-mouthing can get personal.

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