26 September 2008

Austen and Ostensibility

After the delay to my Surefish column last month, this month's is up with admirable alacrity. My title was the rather more Austenesque "Fandom and Fundamentalism", but Andy's variant works too.

I just ran a brief google for similarly Austenesque puns, and came up with this insanely wrong-headed blog post, by a freelance writer who subsidises his career with the money he won on a gameshow once -- and is, quite clearly, as wrong as a McCain supporter wearing a "We Love Noel Edmonds" T-shirt.

Not merely because Gillian Anderson is obviously an intensely cerebral, as well as a sublime, sexy, spiritual and deeply sensuous woman, who I'm sure would come in time to appreciate my complementary virtues if we ever met, but -- perhaps more importantly -- because Jane Austen's novels are saturated with economic necessity.

Anyone who thinks that Austen had a fluffy, woolly-headed view of matrimony as a romantic idyll separated from the sordid transactions of the real world, really hasn't been reading her novels properly, and has possibly never actually been in the same room as one.

All together now: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife..."

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