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|Novels, Heroines & Catherine
Written by Robbin
(3/3/2009 1:16 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, JA's novel apologetic and the Thorpes, penned by TimLee
Great post TimLee—I was inspired to see what might be learned about Catherine from the novel defense in Ch. 5. When true heroines are caught red-handed reading a novel she assumes “affected indifference, or momentary shame” which suggests they enjoy novels but pretend otherwise to please others or fashion. If the heroine had been “engaged with a volume of the Spectator” her reaction would be very different:
…how proudly would she have produced the book, and told its name; though the chances must be against her being occupied by any part of that voluminous publication” (Ch. 5)
Again, the narrator suggests insincerity in the heroine’s behavior. A heroine would proudly admit perusing the Spectator despite the fact she does not find it interesting or informative. I suppose the deception is because it is considered “proper” reading material for a young woman. Catherine is another story:
or at least books of information — for, provided that nothing like useful knowledge could be gained from them, provided they were all story and no reflection, she had never any objection to books at all. (Ch. 1)
As far as I can tell (from above) Catherine does like books of information and she does pretend to but she follows through on her preference for novels by defending Udolpho against John Thorpe’s criticism and heroine-like denials in Ch. 7: “Udolpho! Oh, Lord! Not I; I never read novels; I have something else to do…” Catherine’s open regard for novels puts her at odds with her sister heroines but IMHO her honesty is far more admirable than their affected disregard.
Thanks for reading. (;D)
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