Wednesday, September 30, 2015

In case you wondered …

… Emma’s 200th Anniversary: Why It’s Jane Austen’s Best | Flavorwire. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I just finished teaching Emma last friday. My students sat around the table and said, “We don’t understand, why is this book great?” What I said is that it’s the contrast between depth of artistry with the slenderest possible material. This is an incredibly constrained world. But Emma is all about nuance, and who can really appreciate nuance on a first reading? You have to re-read it. As a professor, I think of what I am doing as preparing students to re-read. I do the same thing with Middlemarch: set the groundwork for them to re-read it later.

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