Marxist of Jane Autin

Marxist of Jane Autin

Shortly after dropping out of the Trotskyist movement in 1978, I embarked on a systematic reading project of the world?s greatest novels. Since I had made the decision to begin writing fiction myself, I wanted to learn the craft from the masters. Additionally, I wanted a change of pace from the hard-core Marxist literature I had been reading for 11 years. (Within two years, however, I had returned to radical politics, largely under the impetus of the Central American revolution.)

I soon discovered that some of these masterpieces left me cold, including those written by Henry James, Joseph Conrad and especially Jane Austen. Although I would never deny that they were great writers, their words did not resonate with me. After reading 50 or so pages of ?Pride and Prejudice,? I found myself wondering what all the hype was about. I was left cold by an endless round of country balls, dinner parties and arch dialogue that always sounded self-conscious and somewhat artificial.

To illustrate: Elizabeth Bennett, the major character who is based on Jane Austen herself, is in one of her frequent 'cutting' exercises with Fitzwilliam D?Arcy--reminiscent of an old Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy movie. Like Hepburn and Tracy, these two spend most of their time hating each other until they finally discover that they really are in love. (I myself had a different take on the matter. In my experience, people generally start off in love and then discover that they really hate each other, especially after being married for a few years--excluding me of course.)

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