I'm sick of self-appointed literary scholars shitting on Jane Austen. It ruins my Goodreads experience and Goodreads is my favourite thing online these days. It's a new rite of passage - express disdain for Austen to prove your literary credentials! And I'm dead certain if she were a dude they'd be praising her cutting criticism of Regency England or whatever. After all nobody shits on Anna Karenina for being a novel about a woman and her tragic love!
First there was this insufferable 22-year-old dude who hadn't even read anything by her but felt the need to disparage her entire work as cheesy. Now there's a list complied by an actual literary scholar specialising in Joyce, judging from his list of works - Top 100 Literary Novels of All Time (note the explicit use of "literary", lest someone thinks the plebeians are allowed to participate), and he's throwing a hissy fit that people voted Pride and Prejudice to the top. Ok, sure, I'd understand if it was Twilight or Game of Thrones because those are obviously different genres. But it's a fucking classic! He even quoted Mark Twain talking shit about Austen as though that settles the matter definitively. But Huck Finn, naturally, is ok as a Top 1000 Literary Novel of All Time even though it's basically YA.
His stupid list said "DO NOT ADD BOOKS TO THIS LIST". I hadn't even seen it before I did it, but now I'm super glad I added Mrs. Dalloway and The Handmaid's Tale. I hope he hates it. I also left a comment under his "What are P+P and Jane Eyre doing at the top, I thought we'd do better", saying "By "better", do you mean "written by a man"?" UGH.
I read this somewhere a while ago... when a woman writes about love, it's chicklit, when a man writes about love, it's a profound examination of the human soul. When a woman writes about marriage or divorce, it's a novel about the domestic sphere, when a man writes about marriage or divorce, it's a powerful commentary on the family in modern society. There was more but these are the two I remember and I'm finding it to be very true.
This is why I'm so glad Alice Munro got the Nobel Prize this year, because not only is she a woman, she writes exclusively about "the domestic sphere", as far as I understand, and focuses on women's lives. I think this is a validation that needed to happen.