Austen: all the better for some hot pirate action?

In this Times editorial, author Celia Brayfield argues that Jane Austen "built a cage for women novelists", and suggests that Austen's "doll-house" novels would have been much improved by a greater focus on the important issues of her time. Clearly, the issues that Austen DID focus on--marriage, family relationships, social inequities, the fear of poverty--were less valid than such topics as the Napoleonic Wars, molecular theory, and (my favorite) the female pirate Zheng Yi Sao, known as the "Dragon Lady of the South China Sea". I can totally see how adding a lady pirate would have really spiced up Mansfield Park, can't you?

And then in this article, author and radio personality Libby Purves responds to Ms. Brayfield's essay with tact, elegance, and a certain bitch-slapping sensibility that one cannot help but admire.
Posted by: Julianka


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