The Voices of Men in Praise
Of Jane Austen
Messages c. July 29, 2002


             by Bob Dylan
             and Jacques Levy
Oh, sister, when I come to lie in your arms
You should not treat me like a stranger.
Our Father would not like the way that you act
And you must realize the danger.

Oh, sister, am I not a brother to you
And one deserving of affection?
And is our purpose not the same on this earth,
To love and follow His direction?

We grew up together
From the cradle to the grave
We died and were reborn
And then mysteriously saved.

Oh, sister, when I come to knock on your door,
Don't turn away, you'll create sorrow.
Time is an ocean but it ends at the shore
You may not see me tomorrow.

It's hard to over estimate how much we learn from reading Jane Austen—and this board.  A few examples:

And finally...

To Aneilka, Ashton, Bruce, DAGHDA Jim, Dave, Heather, John, Julie, Linda, and of course the "Meister" it's been a privilege to share some thoughts with you, and my good fortune to have had the opportunity to learn so much.  Looking back, my own efforts seem rather lacking.  But I always tried to write in good faith, if poor grammar.

Hey, some of us are going out behind the chicken coop afterwards to do some Fanny Bashing. Cheryl Hoffman @

From the Meister: "behind the chicken coop"? Shouldn't you rent a room?

Dear You Guys,

I really wish I had had time to work this up properly, but time is running out.

Just for grins, read Darcy's scenes in reverse order, starting from the Netherfield Ball and working toward the Meryton assembly.  The last scene, chronologically the first, shows him (a) truly handicapped by not knowing anyone in Meryton, (b) truly handicapped by not being able, by shyness, to work the room like Bingley, who is not shy at all and who seeks to be introduced to everybody, and (c), being irritated enough at Bingley's chaffing to resent having (a) and (b) thrown up in his face.  So he makes a unpleasant remark, not meant to be overheard by the object of it. In his comment, he displaces his own problems onto the girl that Bingley tries to fix him up with; someone whom he does not know and would not be able to converse with.  That is, she's not really handsome and no one else seems to want to dance with her, so why would I.

In the succeeding scenes, we see how he operates once he now knows Lizzy properly (they've been introduced), learns enough about her by eavesdropping on her conversation, and finds that she has a lively, interesting, nondeferential wit.  So just about the time he is getting interested enough to worry about liking her too much, her own feelings toward him have plummeted: the insult, Wickham's sad tale, etc. If it had not been for the insult, you and EB would have seen him as a very intriguing sort of fellow.

Dear D.J.,

I guess I have been reading P&P in the wrong direction all these years! Drats! In my defense, I ended up in exactly the same place as yourself—in the best of all possible worlds. I mean that my take on that initial assembly is very much like your own.

Dear Freinds,

What can I say and how can I say it?  I shall miss our conversations!

It's been swell!  I have enjoyed myself immensely, met some wonderful people, and learned a lot!

You have left me with several goals to work toward.  I have to become as well read as Julie and Cheryl, sharpen my wit and language skills to even come close to Cheryl's ability, watch all the movie tapes lined up on my shelf to be able to converse with Bree, but I have given up every hope of keeping up with the Meister and Bruce.  Also, Jim has pointed out all those Patrick O'Brian books.  Sigh!  I shall not lack for something to do.  It has been fun, but I am looking to the future.

My only regret is that the newcomers did not get the chance to join in.  But not to worry, the rest of the site will be here for our study and enjoyment.  We can always email the Meister with our thoughts.  You may email me also if you wish.  I do hope the Meister has given us all the details on what's to become of the site, because I am already beginning to feel like a duck out of the water.

I am so very grateful to have known each and every one of you, because you touched my life in some way.  You are very special people to me.  Thank you all so very much.  I now take leave of the board and send to you all
Love from Linda

To All,

Much like Faye E. J.-L., I am extremely disappointed to have finally found a warm, learned, fun JA board only to have it snatched away so soon.  My greatest hope is that one of the listmates may come across something similar to fill the Ashtonvoid, and that he or she will be good enough to email the intelligence to the rest of us.  (I assume that the postings to date will still be up and that email addies will be there for the copying.  If I assume wrong is there some other way for the MV-ers to get/keep in touch?  I would not be so presumtuous as to simply copy down the addies of Bree, Linda, et. al. and mail them my maunderings uninvited.
(who is beginning to feel the walls closing in on him)

P.S.: Silly me!  I find that I don't have any way of getting the addies. How Littella-ish!

Dear D.J.,

I stopped posting e-mail addresses when someone invented software spiders that go out to snare addies in order to sell them to junk-mailers. However, I will post yours for a short time so that the others can take you up on your offer. I will take it down in one week's time; hopefully, that will be before the spiders get to you.

You can reach DAGHDA Jim at this address.


You're welcome to have mine!  Thanks to the MEISTER, I have yours and will e-mail you mine!  Long Live Jane!

To Everyone,

It's too bad that Male Voices is ending.  I will miss the site, and will miss reading all of your comments.  Cheryl and I used to post at KDH Campfire Chat, before that site crashed for a couple of weeks and nobody posted there any more.  It's a relatively unmoderated site, and I'll check it for the next few weeks to see if anyone posts there.  Here's the link.

By the way, Cheryl, Rupal (who used to post there as well) just graduated from (you guessed it) Harvard, of all places.

Dear Voices and Meister,

It has been seven wonderful months.  Thanks to all of you.  I plan to hang out by this website til I have read everything, so it will be a while!  I even think that in future, the Meister might get lonesome for us—what do you think???  In the meantime, with Carol Burnett, I say "I'm so glad we had this time together!":D  JANE RULES

Dear MV,

I am currently rereading P&P during my daily commutes.  In the evening, I am rewatching A&E/BBC P&P with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth.  I was stricken by the thought that one way to account for the differences in story details is to think of these and other versions as retellings of a great tale by many different storytellers, each of whom tells the basic tale in roughly the same way but puts in (or leaves out) the little nuances according to taste.  The stories are all more or less good and interesting, but are not to be compared and contrasted; rather, they should simply be evaluated on their own terms for what the storyteller seemed to intend, vs what they accomplished.  We can enjoy them in different degrees, depending on our agreement/disagreement with the storyteller's intent, achievement of that intent, and whether it pleases us.  But they are all very different stories, even though they all deal with a Miss Lizzy and a Mr. Darcy and how they wound up together after an unpromising start. (Ooops!  Sorry for the spoiler!)

But the original novel, warts and all, is still the best of the possible tellings.
(striving desperately to post enough of value
to warrant a DAGHDA Jim I, but not hopeful)

From the Meister: Too early for MV Classics, but you will find your postings listed in the Names Index.

Dear Jim,

I do believe that you have arrived at the correct conclusion.  I remember getting upset when the movies deviated from the 'picture' in my mind, until I arrived at the same conclusion as you have.  I have learned to make allowances for differences in situations and temper.  As you say, the original novels are still the best of the possible tellings, though I have yet to find any "warts" in Miss Austen's novels.  I do regret that you were not here long enough for a "Daghda Jim I", though I was amazed to find that I actually said something worthy of a I and II.  My memory being what it isn't, I don't remember writing any of it. Linda

Dear Ash,

I know you don't know me from Eve, but I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the Male Voices website.  I only just discovered it yesterday, and I'm sure you can imagine my dismay at seeing that the site will not exist for much longer.  I am glad that I found this site before it disappeared.

I enjoyed reading the essays posted.  The male perspective was very refreshing....I must say that none of my male friends and aquaintances have any liking for Jane Austen.  Your observations on Pride and Prejudice were insightful and thought-provoking, as well as quite entertaining.  However, the essay that truly provided me with much enjoyment was the one on Mansfield Park.  It has been quite some time since I last read it, but after reading the essay I would like to read it again.  What truly impressed me with that essay was that it is not a Fanny-bashing exercise.  I think your observations on why so many harbor a disdain for Fanny are quite astute.  I remember that I truly liked Mansfield Park and my heart ached for poor Fanny as I read it.  I admired her and rooted for her throughout the novel.  So many readers fail to see what inner strength Fanny carries; her ability to maintain her principles when so many of those people closest to her were pressuring her otherwise shows remarkable fortitude.

I am glad to know you will enjoy your new free time with your grandson.  I hope that you will be able to pass on to him a love of Jane Austen.  Perhaps we Janites can work to dispel the perception that Jane Austen's work is not "manly." It is for anyone with an appreciation of truth, humor, and, yes, passion.  (I cannot understand how anyone could say Jane Austen's writing was passionless after reading Captain Wentworth's letter.)  Bye, the bye, as I was reading the comments on passion in Jane Austen's writing, I noticed that in both Emma and in Pride and Prejudice, the heros protested that their reserve was due to their overwhelming emotion, that a man who felt less, might have said more.  I love how Jane Austen acknowledged the truth of such sentiment by using that phrase more than once.  The deepest emotion is the most difficult to express in words.

I want to thank you for creating and maintaining such a wonderful Jane Austen web site.  I wish I had discovered it sooner.

You have my best wishes for all your future projects.
Faye E. J.-L.

P.S.  I would like to share with you that my mother inspired my love of Jane Austen. She also made me Elizabeth Bennet's namesake with my middle name.  She grabbed her favorite book, Pride and Prejudice, to take with her to the hospital when I was born.

Dear Faye E. J.-L.,

Thank you for your kind words, they are much appreciated. And thank you very much for your support of Fanny Price! Your views and mine certainly coincide there.

Actually, it is not the web site that is to close down, only this bulletin board. Although, some would argue that this web site is the bulletin board.

Dear Voices,

Not finding two hours together this weekend to view either for the second time, I will report my opinions based on the first viewing, keeping in mind it was done with several interruptions of feedings and diaper changings - the baby's, not mine, that is.  I really wish to view each for the second time, in order to understand and to enjoy.

They struck me as being on the arty, intellectual, academic side, as something I would find at the Varsity Theater at LSU, but maybe they were meant to seem so.  Metropolitan did appear to have a Jane Austen influence with so many JA discussions.  I can see where some of the characters related to those in MP.  They were very well done even though they appeared to be 'low budget' which did not detract from the films.  The actors were very good considering they were unknown and still are, seeing as how their names are not yet household words.

Both were a nice change of pace from the regular Hollywood fare.  It was necessary to buy both (extremely reasonable price on eBay) since they were not to be found at the video store (I can see why) or on TV.  As a matter of fact Barcelona is on in August, but not on a channel I get.  So, thanks for the recommendation, otherwise I would not have seen either.

Ash: BTW I don't get Showtime, but my other daughter does, so I will get her to tape a Chris Izaack show for me with strict instructions to not view it because she is a worse prude than I am (yes, she is married).  I can just hear her, "Mama, what kind of friends do you have?" and I'll tell her "the best of friends!"

Based on your recommendation of Peacock's book, I bought it on eBay last night and it was in a package with three other books.  One book had some Gaskell stories, another was Five Stuart Tragedies, and the other was Undine by La Motte Fouque.  See what you get me into!  Well, I have to blame someone!

This is my 'hurried' report so you don't have to be in agony waiting.  See how kind I can be.  Gotta run, babies are due to wake up.

Drat, I thought I was through, but (I composed this on Word) going to the Board to post I remembered that I have to add the following.

I am relieved to hear about the "What's New" that you will put on the Home Page (duly bookmarked) - so now I feel that we are not totally left standing at the altar.  Also, let me hurry to assure you that I will be happy to do some editing for you - that's what Tigger's, er, I do best.  I've got to get out of the Nursery more often, especially since there is a "Czar" artifacts exhibition in Memphis that I would like to see.

Dear Sorry Ash,

Both of your choices are too young by several years.  I imagine Lady Susan as just on the edge of losing her looks and dressing younger than her years in an attempt to convince others she's not hit the big Four-Oh. If she were alive today she'd be running out getting pierced and tattooed.  I'm sorry Polly's Jane Fairfax was so dismal in Emma '95, but I think that was the way the part was written, and had nothing to do with her acting skills. I've never seen CZJ in anything that actually required any acting, so I can't comment.   Maybe I should to back to my other choice, Holly Hunter.  I still say she's physically perfect.

Speaking of movies, we saw Men In Black 2 and Reign of Fire this weekend. Skip MIB2 until it comes out on video, but I would definitely recommend "Reign..." a science fiction movie that takes itself seriously, but doesn't try to make any grand social comments.  Just the novelty of seing Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughy as action heroes is worth it.  Good dragons, (deliberately or not I don't know, but they look almost exactly like the dragons from Dragonslayer) and since it's relatively low budget, the rest of the special effects are "real" instead of CGI.  It needed a bit more humor, but you can't have everything I suppose.

Dear Teeth GnAshton,

Hey!  Why don't you tell me how you REALLY feel!!!!!!!!!

I quote: "From the Meister: Actually, the performance that may qualify Polly Walker for Lady Susan was the one she gave in Restoration. Did you see that?"

Dear folks,

I was so pleased with my joke about Andrew Loyd Webber that I thought, "this one will have wings!" I may have been right in one sense because I did find it on Bree's windshield.

All the actresses named to date are serious and talented. If we rank them in order, however, that must be Blanchett, then Jones, and then Marceau. Granted that Jones has not been given the roles, but she has performed beautifully at every opportunity. I think some people don't notice that because she is so amazingly dazzling. But, like most men, I can look past a woman's beauty.

Dear Ash,

One more 'also', I managed to read Cheryl's 'Classics' and all I can say is: I love that Lady! Well done, Cheryl! What really went through my mind is this: "Well, I guess she told him!" And we know who the 'him' is!

Dear Voices,

I simply must say something about this author.  Only having read a few bits and pieces of one novel, I have now collected almost all she has written (14 out of about 20).  The dedications alone in her novels will rip your heart out.

Her writings are reminiscent of Mark Twain's.  She uses a dialect of upper New York and includes a lot of social commentary.  She covered women's rights, children's rights, slavery, religion, and, in spite of being an old maid, she knew a lot about the married state.  I ran across one part where she tells the wealthy people what they 'ort to know' by addressing one Mr. Astrofeller.

The strange thing is that her books have not been reprinted.  She is as funny as Mark Twain who is still a household word.  They were contemporaries, and I have just lately found out that he did know of her.  Twain edited a book Mark Twain's Library of Humor (1888) which included an excerpt of hers and some other lesser-known people not the least of whom are women.

You may rightly ask what this has to do with Jane Austen.  Though the language is different the spirit of Jane Austen comes through.  Holley wrote a book Samantha in Europe that I want to read very carefully for mention of Jane.  She does mention Scott, etc. but I haven't found Jane yet.

Though I am smitten with her books, I won't go so far as to highly recommend them until I have thoroughly read them.  They do look promising, and I thought you all should know about them.

Dear Voices,

I noticed in Julie's "Classics" that she mentioned a couple of times books by Juliet Barker on the Brontes.  My library has both the bio and the Letters.  Julie's discussion of the bio and what it says about the Father sounds extremely interesting and exactly what I had been hoping to find.  I simply had to add a final "Thank You" to Julie.

Dear Ashton,

Yes, actually it was something to behold...Mal Kangas, head cheerleader, 1961—BOSSSSSY COW COW! Actually, Margie Justin left school at the end of freshman year to marry him.—HONEY BEE BEE!  And all the freshmen, including me, were wearing their dinks.—ALFALFA—HAY!!!!!!!!


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