The “Austen”-Therapy

It must be the fourth time that I am rereading Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. And about the second time I watch the 1995 produced series starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy.

But I always asks myself what it may be that always drags me to these novels. Why don’t I read a modern romance or just anything else? Would it not be easier for me to identify with someone who lives around the same era,  is as old as me, has the same problems etc? How can it be that I, most often deterred by historical novels and cheesy romances, are undeniable in love with Austen’s work and every hero/heroine she created?

Jane Austen’s novel are not only wonderfully romantic and never too cheesy  but also utterly realistic and written in the most loveliest language there is. Phrases such as “You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” make my heart melt every freaking time I read it . (Well it can be that this phenomenon is due to me being not an English native speaker but still)

Her Heroines are all very different and they are each perfectly imperfect as they have great features and fortes but also faults.( Although their imperfections only make them more realistic, lovably and easy to identify with.) I admire Lizzy and Emma and Elinor and every other for how inspirational they are and I feel like I could learn so much from them and their life. Jane Austen gifted me friends and idols and well one of the most amazing lovestories there are.

And so it goes with the heroes –  I dare say that her creations can be counted as the most desirable men in the whole era of literature. Who does not dream of marrying a Mr. Darcy or being loved by Mr. George Knightley (who appears to be my soulmate due to the results  every of the billion quizzes I have taken.) Mr. Darcy is everything but perfect and yet I cannot help but love him.

Every time I feel in need of some love and romance (because being single does not satisfy me) I put either one of her books or one movie adaption and it is like therapy. When I start, I am always lonely and maybe a bit sad, but afterwards I am filled with this great feeling of joy and content. I started to call it “the Austen-Therapy”, something I can rely on that it will cheer me up no matter how down I am. It’s like a very precious gift that I found something, an anchor, that will be there for me and comfort and console me no matter what. That will always satisfy my desires for men. That makes me fall in love with hundreds of people but without the possibility that my heart could be broken.

Jane Austen is like a psychiatrist for me, who takes me into another world and makes me forget my problems. I am so grateful that she has written those amazing novels and I feel deeply sorry for all of those who do not experience her magic first hand.

 

 

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In grief we go to pieces – The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt

The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt

Siri Hustvedt is one of the most intelligent authors I know. Her books are always filled with clever theories and so much stuff we do not know much or nothing about. She is obviously well educated and knows a lot about art and what is behind it. The theory most discussed in this book is about how genders are not treated on an equal basis in the art scene. Men are still more acknowledged and way more famous than women. Harriet Burden, an artist and a feminist, tries an unconventional experiment to prove that fact. She takes three man and uses them as kind of masks. She lets them present her work as if it were their creations. And surprise. Harriet Burden’s work has always been neglected and not well received by the art scene, but now, with male persons standing behind them, her works get the fame and attention she always wanted them to have.

Her style of writing is still the same. Still intellectual, compelling, a characteristic of its own. Due to the special form, a collection of statements by various persons, interviews and diary’s entries, every character has his own style of writing that tells us a lot about the person itself.
The abstracts of Harriet Burdens notebooks differ so much from the personal statements by her lover, the poet Bruno, that you would not even need the captions, which inform the reader whose texts he is about to read. Every character is given an own, defining language whether it is the most highly intelligent but also kind of mad Harriet Burden, the master of beautiful words Bruno or the weird but impressive and touching Ethan Lord, son of Harriet Burden.

Siri Hustvedt is like Bruno, a master of words. She creates pictures in your mind. She is like an artist but with words instead of colors and papers. In her book she creates the most stunning pieces of art, describes them so detailed and subtle that I could swear they exist and I have seen them with my own eyes. But they do not. She is not only describing some pictures she is creating them with nothing but words. That is so incredible. I think that makes her more than author but something like a mix of an author and an artist. After this book I just wish that someone would try to build the pieces she is describing because they sound so impressive that I just want to see them. It is weird how you can be a fan of art that does not exist in real life but only between some sheets of paper and in your mind. ( I feel like I am going mad reading Siri’s books, thanks ;))

Though it focused on Harriet Burden, I grew closer to her companions like Bruno, Q. Eldrige or Maisie. It is like the saying, that something a person says about someone else, says more about the person itself.

What I liked the most was a simple thing. Everybody who has read her most famous book “What I loved” (which I think is her best) knows the artist Wechsler. And for all of those who read, Siri Hustvedt lets him appear in her new book. It is like an old friend stepping by, saying hello – thanks Siri, wonderful idea!!

It does not compel like What I loved, but none of her books come close to this masterpiece. Though it is absolutely not an easy read, especially for someone like me, who has had not the advantage of having English as one’s mother tongue, I enjoyed reading it. There is so much that can be said about this precious novel but I will cut right to the chase: I can recommend to every body who likes smart, compelling books about art and what’s behind. About gender equality not only in the art scene but also in our daily life. And of course to all fans of Hustvedt’s work.

Nonsense can also be real – What I loved

‘What I loved’ by Siri Hustvedt

Amazing book.
Siri Hustvedt’s style of writing is extremely compelling and it is clearly a book that makes good reading. I enjoyed every page, every word that was part of this book.
Hustvedt not only created utterly realistic and imperfect characters but also a whole fictional world of art. Frankly, I was surprised, well rather shocked and maybe a bit disappointed, that one of the main characters, the artist Bill Wechsler, and his gorgeous work do not exist. Her description of his different paintings and installations made me a big fan of his work – funny, given that, I have never seen it but only read about them.
This is just an example of what Siri Hustvedt is capable of.
The Story of “What I Loved” is not something you will expect. The twists are a complete surprise but utterly touching and good and … simply wonderful.
Siri does not only tell an amazing story and describes fictional art work but she also refers a lot to different psychological issues such as hysteria or eating disorders. She gives the reader food for thought all the time, but you do not get bored by it. Quite the opposite, you rather long for it.

This book is about the complexity of art and how art is always seen differently –  always depending on who is looking at.
It is an homage to friendship, a story about the importance of sharing a life as friends and how a person can mean the world to you.
It is about love and how it fades away. Sometimes slowly and hardly even recognis
able. And sometimes something happens and at that very second you are incapable of loving someone you loved before.
It is about madness, hysteria and all the mental craziness of our society.

It is about so much more. I cannot name everything.
In conclusion, the book has everything (and maybe even more) I search for in a book. Certainly one of the best books I have read lately.

Favourite quote:

“I don’t want the words to be naked the way they are in faxes or in the computer. I want them to be covered by an envelope that you have to rip open in order to get at. I want there to be a waiting time -a pause between the writing and the reading. I want us to be careful about what we say to each other. I want the miles between us to be real and long. This will be our law -that we write our dailiness and our suffering very, very carefully.”