Monday, 21 February 2011

The elbows are never wrong

I have been watching the series 'Faulks on Fiction' these past few weeks with varying levels of enthusiasm.  For the most part I enjoy the debate about characters and rejoice that there is something on television that doesn't involve a panel of judges or Katie Price.

There's a part of my brain that says I shouldn't be disagreeing with someone like Sebastian Faulks - he being a well-respected, famous, published author after all - but in each episode I'm finding something to gripe about.  These annoyances also tend to grow somewhat after reading critical responses/reviews of the series in various places around the net.  Accusations of sexism, for instance (specifically in relation to his show on 'The Hero') made me rethink the episode but I'm trying my best to form my own opinions.

On the whole I tend to find my attention waning a little by the time the end of the show comes but I think this is more due to my taste than to any fault with the programme - my interest has been nineteenth-century fiction for a while now and I'm more familiar with the works of Jane Austen than with, for example, Alan Hollinghurst.

The faults I dare to find tend to be small details - the implication (although not stated fact) that Robinson Crusoe was the first novel irked me a little, having been informed on numerous exuberant occasions during my undergraduate that Aphra Behn (who, incidentally, was already dead by the time Robinson appeared) penned the first works called 'novels'.

There was also the part, in the second of the series, where Mr Darcy was deemed (among other things) 'humourless'.  Darcy is certainly not my favourite of the Austen men but I would never say he was without a sense of humour - his lively exchanges with the heroine, after all, show his love of her teasing.  A man without humour would surely find her behaviour offensive, not enchanting.  Then there was the somewhat tiresome conclusion that Darcy must have been suffering from a mental illness (at least it didn't go so far as to suggest he had Asperger's Syndrome).  Of course there's nothing wrong with a character suffering from a mental illness but why is there such a sudden fascination with diagnosing characters?  Can't poor Mr D just be a bit of a grump sometimes?

Oh dear: get me on the subject of Jane Austen and I just start ranting.

The last in the series is coming up and I hope I can find more positive in it next time.  My worry is that now I will only be looking for negative, which is never a good thing.

Today's title is for weather-predicting-limbs everywhere.

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