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One favorite author on another

The heroine of many a modern novel writhes and reels her way through the story, chews and flings away fifty half-smoked cigarettes, is perpetually stifling a scream or else not stifling it, howling for solitude or howling for society, goading every mood to the verge of madness, seeing red mists before her eyes, seeing green flames dance in her brain, dashing to the druggist and then collapsing on the doorstep of the psychoanalyst; and all the time congratulating herself on her rational superiority to the weak sensibility of Jane Austen.

That is, the “weak sensibility” of a woman who (according to G.K. Chesterton) “was certainly not of the fainting sort.” The obvious irony that he pointed out made me laugh. (Quotes from his essay “On Jane Austen in the General Election,” included in Come to think of it… published in 1931.)


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