Daily Prompt – Matters of Taste

Today’s Daily Prompt poses:

When was the last time a movie, a book, or a television show left you cold despite all your friends (and/or all the critics) raving about it? What was it that made you go against the critical consensus?

I have to say that generally, I am easily pleased. I loved Orange is the New Black, The L Word, Friends, Firefly, Stargate (except for Universe), Star Trek, MARVEL, Lip Service and so on, so when it comes to going against the grain with Film and TV, I tend not to. But there are two novelists that as a Literature graduate I am “supposed” to admire and enjoy, and they are Charles Dickens and Jane Austen.

When it comes to Dickens, its all about hype. He revolutionised the print industry and as a writer and avid reader I am grateful for this, yet in terms of reading his works, they are long winded and they need to be stripped bare so that we can fully appreciate the contorted relationship of Miss Havisham and Estella without all the other unnecessary waffle. He was a genius of his form, but the execution is not the best really. I don’t want three volumes when I can have just one compact novel for the same pleasure (well, a greater pleasure because it removes the torture).

And Miss Jane Austen. Eurgh. Society, sisters and marriage. I cannot understand why Mr Darcy appeals to readers, or why sense wins out on sensibility, with a happy marriage ending. I am aware that many believe an air of satire to be present in Austen’s work, but the promotion of patriarchal happiness just downright pisses me off!

So critics of the past century and a half, you are wrong. These authors do not warrant praise in the form you have given it. And the canon that shapes what we are pushed to read for self-improvement and that fills our flawed education system needs adjusting to praise the unique and non-patriarchally serving texts that demonstrate a world that we don’t know exists until we are first enlightened.

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6 thoughts on “Daily Prompt – Matters of Taste

  1. Major thumbs-up on the Austen opinion, which I share. To be fair, I haven’t been able to stomach her novels. I attempted, what was it (?) Pride and Prejudice, as recently as in the last year, and the father (If I’m remembering the book correctly) annoyed me to no end in his chauvinism and patriarchal attitudes, such as they were at that time. I probably couldn’t get far enough to see the satire. I MUCH prefer Kate Chopin’s The Awakening to any Austen (or, farther back, George Eliot’s Adam Bede), or if it has to have a connection, however tangential, to Jane: Blackadder’s “Ink and Incapability.” I enjoyed Dickens’ Tale . . . as an adult, but wasn’t as impressed with Oliver Twist (read only as a child) or Great Expectations (as a teen). My humble opinion is that Dickens excels at naming (I know it seems minor, but I think character naming can be a great authorial tool) and at illumination the human condition, especially with regard to love, family, and the stratification and division of rich and poor peoples. I’d love to read Bleak House, Copperfield, maybe one or two others, and go from there to take a solid stance.

      • Don’t worry about that!

        But whilst Austen is gone forever for me, Dickens at least has his merits, they would just be more appreciated if they weren’t present all at once. His characternym, characterisation and presentation of the human condition are great, but the fluff makes most of his novels inaccessible.

      • He does dither at times, but I feel like Dickens is making me raise the level of my own comprehension (and compassion, it is hoped!), but in a different way than, say, a Faulkner or Joyce is (I haven’t ready any DFW yet, but I suspect his works would do the same).

  2. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Matters of Taste – ADULT SITUATIONS | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice

  3. Pingback: Divergent Series . . . Better Not! | TyroCharm

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