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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He wrote music for the ears that could hear.

1937 in Leningrad with Stalin as the dictator. A man is sitting next to an elevator. He is waiting all night through. Waiting for Power to come and to take him to the Big House. But few, who were taken to the Big House, came back.

Julian Barnes chose a real Person for his new novel “The Noise of Time” Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich. One of the most famous and greatest soviet composers. Barnes reveals his difficult history in a wonderful way and with incredible, unbelievable talent.

The book is not a chronological report of Shostakovich’s life. Frequently, he interrupts the story with train of thoughts, reflections, flashbacks and memories. No, interrupt is the wrong word. “To enhance the story amazingly” suits better. All the thoughts and interjections are helping to understand Shostakovich’s personality, attitude and intention.

Barnes creates with an intensive, rich in images but nevertheless clear style of writing a formidable realistic and subtle picture of the composer. The author was gifted the talent to not only write feelings, but to let them live.

It feels like you could literally feel the fear, the self-doubts, the desolation and depression of Shostakovich. Barnes creates a small window, through which the reader can catch a glimpse of an artist’s life, oppressed by the Marxist-Leninist Soviet.

I think, the book helped me to understand his music, thanks to the acquired background. Even though Shostakovich “says”: What he hoped was that death would liberate his music: liberate it from his life […] his music would be . . . just music” (page 179). Frankly, before this book, I have simply admired his music, now I am beginning to understand.

Julian Barnes does not only tell the story of Shostakovich. Moreover he gives place to criticism. He levels criticism against other artists, but first and foremost there is critique of the system. A critique which is utterly reasonable and not in the least overblown. Quite the contrary. He opens the reader’s eyes and shows how it really was these days ago. How terrifying. Horrific. Cruel. And consequently the question arises: “How is the situation today? Am I, are we, the same cowardly audience, naïve and gullible, as the people are described in “The Noise of Time”?

Even though you are no aficionado of Shostakovich or his music, even though you could not care less about music, I can only recommend this book. It’s awesome, wonderful written, singularly and unforgettable. One of the best books I have read lately.