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|ignorant vs well-informed women
Written by Katy B
(4/14/2006 12:34 a.m.)
I would like to get others' comments on Chapter 14, when CM and the Tilneys are admiring the view from Beechen Cliff. It says that Catherine "was heartify ashamed of her ignorance - a misplaced shame. Where people wish to attach, they should always be ignorant. To come with a well-informed mind, is to come with an inability of adminstering to the vanity of others, which a sensible person would always wish to avoid."
Does this mean that if one wishes to impress others, it is better not to know much so that the other's point of view can be more appreciated, and that that person's vanity can be appealed to by being a willing learner? If so, therefore, discourse involving the comparison of opinions of well-informed persons is not to be desired, especially if one is a woman - "A woman, especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing any thing, should conceal it as welll as she can."
This, I think, is a criticism by JA, that women are more attractive to men when they are ignorant, and she goes on to take a stab at a "sister author" who appears to portray her female characters as "imbeciles" and a large portion of male characters who don't "desire more in women than ignorance."
Does anyone know which "sister author" JA is referring to here? Is it Mrs. Radcliffe, the author of Udolpho? Since NA was published 13 years after it was written, did this author ever have a chance to read and respond to these criticisms? Just curious...
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