Monday, December 8, 2008

The Evolution of Emily and Jane

by Jo Robertson

Imagine you were born into a society, a time and place, in which your ideas were best kept to yourself, your wit best left unexpressed, your desires best unexplored.

Imagine that you had ambition beyond the usual scope of women in your time and social class.

Imagine that characters and settings burgeoned inside your mind like legendary epics.

Two such women were Emily Dickinson and Jane Austen
Emily Dickinson was a woman so born out of her time that her poetry resonates with a modernism which fascinates and stymies analysts even today. She was a very private woman and poet whose prolific body of work didn’t come to light until after her death (see Amhearst, her home, at right).
Scholars have a hard time classifying her as to a literary period. She wrote most of her poems during the Victorian era but they are nothing representative of the literature of the day. One of her poems aptly expresses this:

They shut me up in Prose –
As when a little Girl
They put me in the Closet –
Because they liked me “still” –

Still! Could themself have peeped –
And seen my Brain – go round –
They might as wise have lodged a Bird
For Treason – in the Pound –

--Emily Dickinson, 1862

I love the idea expressed in this poem -- the idea that the mind inside her head was vivid and active, maybe even crazy, even though outwardly she'd been "shut up" or "closeted." As you can see, Emily's lines and grammar, her punctuation and syntax defy convention, but the core of her message resonates with modern readers.

Many of her poems deal with the subjects of death and immortality. Although somewhat of a recluse, she was a prolific letter writer. Much of what we know about her personal life and feelings comes from her varied correspondence. And even though she died in 1886, we classify her with the Twentieth Century poets.

Jane Austen is more familiar to readers and writers of romance and no less astonishing a writer. Although she was as prolific a letter writer as Emily, most of Jane’s correspondence is no longer extant and personal, private confirmation of her life is scarce.

Less a recluse than Emily, Jane’s social and family life was broader, and she moved about in society to a more comfortable degree (see Chawtoc, where she spent her last eight years, below).
Much has been made of Jane’s only affair of the heart when she was twenty-one – to Thomas Lefroy, but no real evidence exists that there was more than a youthful attachment on his part, and both likely realized that their economic and social standings prevented anything further.

Nonetheless, Jane wrote to her sister Cassandra in 1796:

“At length the day is come on which I am to flirt my last with Tom Lefroy, and when you receive this it will be over. My tears flow as I write at the melancholy idea.”

Many scholars believe their relationship inspired her Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.

These were arguably two of the most influential and significant writers of their centuries and yet . . .

· neither ever married
· neither ever voted or held public office
· neither had children
· neither became as famous in her lifetime as after her death
· neither was accorded the respect and accolades that her brilliance should have dictated during her life
· both are seriously studied in literature classes throughout the world
· both had undeniably rich inner lives
· both died relatively young (Emily at age 56, Jane at age 42, nearly a century earlier)

Below are two quotes from Becoming Jane, a recent film about Jane Austen’s life:

“Wit is the most treacherous talent of them all.”

“A profound mind is best kept a profound secret.”

So here is my question to you: If you could live in any other time period or place, what would you choose? Or, by contrast, do you feel that the time and place in which you were born was perfect for you? Why?

Or -- Have you ever felt "out of joint" as Shakespeare says? Perhaps you didn't fit in or belong either in your group at work, church, or school, maybe even in your neighborhood? What helped you overcome that? Or did the experience continue to be a painful one?


Joan said...

Should we let the Golden One have a day off?

Joan said...

Ok, confession time. I've never, like, actually READ either Jane or Emily.


Jo? Jo?

{Steps gingerly through a lair full of passed out Banditas}

But I like Emily's poem and bristle at the idea that she had been "closeted".

I've often felt that my "other time" would be the 1940's. Weird, huh since I'm such a Roman-holic.

Times just seemed so vital. Simpler on many levels yet on the brink of energy, innovation, opening of new horizons.

Plus I LOVE the gowns women wore out to nightclubs and such.

Pass me my snood...(hairnet) and put on some Big Band music....

Louisa Cornell said...

I am sure he would love to spend a day off with you and the boys, Joan!

I can relate completely with Jane and Emily these days. I live alone in the country and I write (or at least try to) and in this part of the country my ideas about gentility and romance are sort of scoffed at these days.

There are times I truly feel I was born in the wrong time. That is why I have such an affinity for Regency England. I think of it as my time. Of course with my luck I would be born a scullery maid, but that wouldn't be too different from my job at Wal-Mart!

I am not overly fond of technology or cars. I prefer a slower pace and some good old fashioned entertainments - reading, games, plays, concerts, the ballet.

And the people I work with are very nice, but they just don't "get" me. That is why going to Nationals in August was such a treat for me. I was surrounded by people who understand and get what I am trying to do.

Kate Carlisle said...

Don't you have some trees to clear today, Joanie? :-)

Congrats on the GR!!!

Jo, what a lovely post! I'm a big fan of both these ladies so thanks for bringing them to the Lair. And I really enjoyed "Becoming Jane." Maybe I'll watch it again tonight.

Have I ever felt out of place? Only my entire life! At some point in my twenties, someone asked me what words I would choose to live by and, somewhat self-defensively, I blurted out, "If you can't be chic, be odd." That phrase still seems to apply, no matter how hard I try to be cool. LOL :-)

Stacey Kayne said...

Congrats, Joan! I swear I wasn't too rough with GR ;-) As I said in a booty post comment, GR is a great bargain shopper :o)

Fascinating blog, Jo!! Tough questoin. I'm far too pampered here in the new melinium...though my soul feels most at peace when submerging my brain in the 1800's ;-) I'm gonna have to join you in the un-read Emily and Jane camp. I did have some assigned reading in college....and I recall it being rather painful *lol* No gunfights *g*

Trish Milburn said...

I'm fascinated by other times periods, especially American history, but I'd like to see it as an invisible observer, I think. I like that I was born free to do what I like, can vote, have access to good health care and hygiene. But it would be fascinating to be a fly on the wall. Think of the authenticity a writer could put in her stories.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

I'm with Trish. I'd like to be an observer, but not a participant in no hygeine, dental care or *shudder* privvies. URG. Like you, JT, I ADORE the Big Band Era and I love the clothes and fashions. I got to be a Gwen Stefani fan because she kind of brought that chic to her work when she first started. :>

Kate, I love your blurted quote. My Mama used to say, "Everyone is odd, but me and thee, John. And thee ar't a bit odd." I've searched for the quote (Yes, google too!) but don't know from whence it came. But all in all, I'd rather be odd. Ha! My DH likes to call it eccentric or eclectic. I think it normalizes things for him. Heehee.

Either way, I wouldn't trade that "inner life" for anything.

BTW, confession time, although I've read 'em, I'm not a Jane or Emily fan girl.

*more thunks and fanning in the Lair ensues*

jo robertson said...

LOL, Joanie, he certainly deserves it what with the flying back and forth across the seas. Just give him a warm drink and let him put his feet up.

Maybe read a little Austen or Dickinson?

Trish Milburn said...

Kate, love your chic/odd comment saying. :)

Stacey, sorry I missed commenting the day you were guesting.

jo robertson said...

ROTFLOL, Joan, NEVER. Well, no worry. If you've seen the production with Colin Firth, you're fine. It adheres very closely to the text and some years I let my students get away with actually not reading it. Shhhhh.

Trish Milburn said...

Jeanne, I like Gwen Stefani. She's cool.

jo robertson said...

Strange, Joan, I would've gone for the 20's or 30's. I really like that era -- Prohibition, Bonnie and Clyde, speak-easies. Uh, I think I see a pattern of crime here.

Uh, whatever era, flush toilets are a must! I'm reading Eloisa James' WHEN THE DUKE RETURNS and inoperable water closets play a major role in the story LOL.

jo robertson said...

Ah, Louise, I know what you mean. It's so wonderful to be around people who truly understand you, and romance writers are the BEST!

For sure!

jo robertson said...

Love that phrase, Kate. If you can't be chic, be cool!

I've never been accused of being chic, so I think I'll steal it!

Glad you liked the post. Honestly, Emily Dickinson is my goddess!

jo robertson said...

Ah, Stacey, you just needed me as a teacher. I would've taken you gently through their works.

But it does bring up an interesting question. Will the tech-generation forsake those classical works?

They DO take time and patience to wade through -- Homer, Virgil, Shakespeare, yes and Austen -- not easy reads.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Trish, can I be a fly on the wall with you? Oh, what tales we could tell!

jo robertson said...

Hi, Jeanne! Happy birthday! Does everyone know it's Jeanne's birthday today and, of course, she's only 29. I have it on good authority.

jo robertson said...

I have to be off this morning so keep the conversation going, or not, whatever works for you.

But I'm curious. Are you folks as behind as I am in your Christmas shopping? Or are you the kind who's finished before Thanksgiving -- a pox on you!

What's left? Are you excited about the coming holiday or are you dreading it? Or a little of both?

Talk to you later.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...'s December? I have to do Christmas shopping? Oh, h*;;@(#$*

Thanks for the B-day wishes, Jo! (And for stepping in on the blog too) We'll keep it going.

I'd have loved to have been your student, Jo. I think I'd've gotten more out of Austen and Dickenson. However, I adore Shakespeare and devoured his work early on. Lovely stuff, even with all the beheadings and knifings and such. Hmmm. Maybe that's where I got it....

Had to LOL about your love of the 20's and 30's crime era. Remind me to tell you the Chicago gun-down story Ralph's uncle told.

Trish Milburn said...

I have most of my shopping done, but I've done no decorating and haven't gotten the cards out.

Stacey Kayne said...

The teacher does make all the difference, Jo! I loved Shakespeare--took a whole course. Now there's a man with issues! *ggg*

MsHellion said...

I'm glad to be in the time period I am. When I was younger, I wanted to be born in the 1800s--though clearly as someone who didn't have to work for a living. Being I was a teenager and felt like I wasn't allowed to think for myself or have an opinion, I probably figured things couldn't be worse. Now I just realize that as a teenager I didn't have anything worth hearing and they were right to put a gag order on me.

I wouldn't go to the 1800s now anything...even if I got to live "richer" than I do now. No toilets, showers, or rights to vote? No birth control or good hospital practices? No valium? NOooooo. And the 1800s were progressive...I mean, they were really coming along with new items then! I think the 1700s are more fascinating, but what a misery that'd be!

No, I'm fine where I'm at. I'm not caught in so much a time warp I'd be better off in a different century. I think though, I do feel like Brendan Fraser from Blast from the Past because I was raised by older parents who were raised in the Great Depression--and I was an "oops" baby. So while most 80s kids were all about Madonna and MTV, my childhood was filled with pop culture from the 50s and 60s, when the other kids had been I felt out of step that way. *LOL* I just deal with the fact I'm weird and know all the lyrics to Johnny Horton songs.

Ooh, I have to agree with Joan: the 40s would be nice! *LOL* I love the fashions; and hey, we had the right to vote by then! Wooboy, and those sailors! Sign me up!

Keira Soleore said...

JoanieT, you scored!! The GR doesn't get a day off. He's all yours now. Mwahaha. What're you gonna do with him?!?!

My other "time" would be the two time perdiods of most interest to me...Regency and the early middle ages. Lately, I'm leaning towards the latter, though I have to say, every time flush toilets and toilet paper come to mind, the romantic notions of history come to a thudding halt. Bushes and bark doesn't quite have the same cache.

I was on the outside looking in during my kid years. "Jumbo" was a word applied to me, as were "awkward" and "reserved." Life was painful and difficult. I survived and remade myself.

Nancy said...

Joan, looks like you grabbed the bird, but--give him a day off?!!! He never does any work anyway. Every day is a day off for him. At least the cabana boys and the gladiators keep the lair tidy and secure and cater to our numerous whims. That bird just snoops around, steals the best baked goods, and spills our beans to our buddies.

I read Emily in high school (history majors do not have much poetry assigned) and thought she was pretty cool, but I never read Jane. I tried Sense and Sensibility--again, in high school--and couldn't get into it. Giving Jane another try is on my list. So I was the bandita standing at other end of the room while you tiptoed through the rest. I thought about faking it, but your candor deserves some company. *g*

Nancy said...

Jeanne, happy birthday--and many, many, happy returns!

Louisa, have you read Austenland by Shannon Hale? It's about a woman who's so mad for Mr. Darcy that her aunt's legacy is the fee to spend some time in an English country house that recreates the world of Jane Austen, right down to courtships. I enjoyed it.

Kate wrote: "If you can't be chic, be odd." That phrase still seems to apply, no matter how hard I try to be cool. LOL :-)

I hear you. Try being a 20-year-old female comics and SF fan. Not as weird as it used to be, but discovering fandom was a huge validation for me.

If I were to live in another time, I think I'd pick the 1920s in America or Britain or the Renaissance in England. But only if I could be wealthy. Life for people who were poor in these periods was a constant, wretched struggle.

And I'm with Trish on the health care and hygiene thing. We went to the Bosworth Battlefield museum several years ago and discovered they'd added a very short (10 ft.) recreation of a medieval street--complete with olfactory realism (eew!). That same trip, we went to the Jorvik Viking Center, where we rode in a cart through a mockup of a Viking village. Again with olfactory-eeew-realism. By the time we got to the Imperial War Museum and its trench warfare recreation, I'd had enough of stinky smells. Though I think WWI is extremely interesting, I passed.

Joan said...

Jo, you're going Chrismas shopping?

Can I give you a list?

I'm kind of in the middle...not far behind but sure not ahead of the game either.Hmmmmm....I could give the GR my CC and let him finish up....

Nope, too risky :-)

I'm just now trying to figure out how to get ANY baking done! My days off are fast being claimed!

I like the 1920's too although I'd have to concur that it would be better to be among the elite of the era. Though....thinking on it....I think I'd have made a good gin runner....don't ask me why, just think I would. Maybe making gin is like baking?

Nancy said...

Stacey wrote: I did have some assigned reading in college....and I recall it being rather painful *lol* No gunfights *g*

I have to admit to a certain fondness for stories in which things blow up. Not gratuitously, of course. But lots of stuff blows up in military SF, and DC Comics blew up a planet to get us Superman. :-)

As Jeanne points out, there used to be privies. And garderobes. Speaking eeew, imagine cleaning those things. Or drinking from the moats into which many of them drained. Jo and Keira, add me to the flush toilet & TP fans list.

Speakeasies, huh? We do a unit on Prohibition in my 1920s class. I have to say the Volstead Act brought out the ingenuity of the American people as few things short of war have.

Christmas shopping? Already? Aagh!

Joan said...

As Jeanne points out, there used to be privies. And garderobes.

Those folks were a bit more ingenious than we might think. I was told on a castle tour in Ireland that the garderobe served a dual purpose....the, um ammonia vapors raised above the area to the floor above and sort of "dry cleaned" the clothing left hanging up there....

Keira Soleore said...

the garderobe served a dual purpose....the, um ammonia vapors raised above the area to the floor above and sort of "dry cleaned" the clothing left hanging up there....

EEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWW!! I mean really. No wonder they weren't bothered by B.O. and their lack of all forms of hygeine. When your clothes smell of the privy, pray what hope's left for your nose to discern fragrances or aromas or anthing good-smelling?

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Joan.

I do think that the time and place I was born is perfect for me. I can't imagine living without modern plumbing and modern medicine. I think it would have been pretty exciting to live in the Regency period. I might have been able to experience life as an aristocratic member of society and attend balls. Life was less restrictive than in the Victorian period.

Helen said...

Well done Joan I am sure he would like a rest LOL.

I am going to put my hand up here and say that I have never read Austen or Dickinson although I have watched the Austen movies and loved them. As for a time period that I would like to have lived in not sure that there is one, I am comfy where I am. I am such a home body give me my family and my books and I am very happy. The books I read have taken me on some wonderful journeys through time and I have really enjoyed the visits but not sure that I would like to live in any of them without the luxuaries I have now. I too love the fashions of the 40's and 50's and the music from those times.

I too love your quote Kate so good.

Happy Birthday Jeanne I hope you have a great day.

I did my Chrissy shopping yesterday I only need 2 more gifts that I am going out early this morning to get then I need to wrap them all, I still haven't finished writing the cards but I have made one cake so far I will make another one today and finish the cards then it will be time for the babies and I will be very busy.
How is your daughter Jo all going well I hope.

Have Fun

Joan said...


It wasn't so much the "scent" that was helpful but evidently...the ammonia took care of "critters" lurking in the cloth.

And the Romans? The, um....micturation byproducts were pooled into big vats and slaves tromped on them to clean the clothes....


Joan said...

Ya'll learn SO much interesting stuff in the lair, don't you?


jo robertson said...

Ooooh, Jeanne, was that the St. Valentine's Day Massacre? I LURF that whole story. And I like how the "thieves and bandits" of that era were often looked upon as Robin Hood types by the common folk who felt banks were ripping them off anyway.

I'm a bloody-minded gal at heart.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

*Off to look up micturation*

You DO learn interesting things around here. Wow. I didn't know there were "Smell-o-vision" exhibits in museums. I'm not sure I want that much realism in my exhibits. Not to mention, how do you get the smell OUT when you change the exhibit to a period WITH indoor plumbing...

jo robertson said...

Oh, Louisa, so sorry I spelled your name wrong. Yikes, old age is setting in quickly.

And Jeanne, that's the nicest thing a person can say to me. I would've enjoyed you as a student, sassy, smart, and willing to challenge the statis quo!

jo robertson said...

Trish, I just made the momentous decision today that I was going to send out New Years cards instead of Christmas. It's kind of a cop-out, but I feel so much better now!

jo robertson said...

Well, yes, Stacey I do wonder what Old Will was doing in London when he left his wife and children at home in Stratford all those years. More than writing plays, me thinks. I heard Will played for both teams, if you know what I mean.

jo robertson said...

Great comment, MsHellion! LOL about the valium -- oh my, how did we ever get along without our amenities?

Keira, we've had the concept of flush toilets since the Egyptians, as I'm sure you know.

But I remember visiting my Aunt Edna in West Virginia, my grandparents in Kentucky and -- get this -- my uncle in Cincinnati, right in the middle of the busy city, and using outhouses.

I will never take a good running toilet for granted LOL.

jo robertson said...

Oh, and Keira, the thing that scares me about the Middle Ages is plague and smallpox -- all those diseases we've virtually eradicated.

Hi, Nancy, fellow Bandita! I can totally see you as a young sci-fi geek. Did you read about the recent death of the fellow who coined the term "sci-fi"? Apparently he'd been listening to the radio and heard the term "hi-fi" and got the idea to use something similar for science fiction. His wife said it'd never catch on. LOL

terrio said...

When I was young I used to think I was born in the wrong century. Now I think I'm right where I was meant to be. I can't imagine living with the limitations placed on women even one century ago nevermind two or three.

I've often felt as if I don't fit in, but I believe I'm just used to the feeling now. Maybe that's why I like being online so much. I always feel *normal* when I'm online. :)

I think I'll ask for a book of Emily's poems for Christmas. That would be a great gift.

jo robertson said...

N. O. No, Joanie, I will not take your list. I'm going insane buying for my 14 grandchildren. My goodness, what with Wii and Pokemon and American Girl dolls (and isn't that price on them just ridiculous?). Thank goodness I don't buy for my children. They're lucky to get a card. Just kidding. We give cash to them. It's always appreciated.

Not complaining though. I love to see them come down the stairs on Christmas morning, all wide-eyed and surprised by Santa!

jo robertson said...

Ewwww-eeee, Joanie. I'll think of that every time I pick up my dry cleaning!

Helen, I think we have quite a few confessors coming forward about Emily and Jane LOL. I do think that we need to have readiness when we come to certain books. I'm that way about Moby Dick. I'm sorry, but I canNOT finish that thing and I've tried over and over. A whale, a captain, an epic battle -- I get it, I just can't read it!

terrio said...

Happy Birtday, Jeanne! And I might have to join Joanie in the 40s. I love that time. In fact, the dress I wore to my company Christmas party this past weekend looked very much like something Ginger Rogers might have worn. I loved it! LOL!

jo robertson said...

Me, too Jeanne! ROTFLMAO!! Joan's just showing off. Micturition is a fancy word for peeing. See what wonderful bits of trivia we learn on the Romance Bandits.

Hmmm, hold on, gotta go micturate! Pause. Pause. Ahhhh.

Okay, now I'm back!

Christine Wells said...

Jo, what a lovely and thought-provoking post. That poem of Dickinson's makes me want to cheer for her and very sad at the same time. In a way, I suppose she was fortunate that her rebellious thoughts could be expressed through her poetry. I'm sure there were many women who didn't have that outlet who felt almost mad with the stifling restrictions placed on women of a certain class in that era.

I love the Regency era (as long as I was wealthy, I could live in that time) and I also think the turn of the 20th century was an exciting time for women. They were fighting for their independence and WWI meant that it came to them a lot sooner than it would have otherwise. And to be a young rich lady in the '20s would have been fabulous, dahling (although it means you have to live through two world wars and a depression--not so great).

But being realistic, I think the time we live in now is the best one for me. Great post, Jo!

Joanie, congrats on the Rooster!

jo robertson said...

That would be a great gift, Terrio. Many of her poems are surprisingly clear and others startlingly deep and meaningful.

I agree that the one thing I could not give up is my rights as a woman. Even my mother was constrained in so many ways. Me too. As a young mother, my birth control options were considerably fewer than my daughters now have.

jo robertson said...

Nicely said, Christine. And it makes me wonder if women are shaped BY the era in which they're born of if THEY SHAPE it. I'm just so grateful for all those brave, smart, far-thinking women who made changes with so few formal rights.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Isn't that wide-eyed surprised by Santa deal the best? My two - even the eight year old - are still there and it's just delicious.

Joanie, I looked up that word and I just have one thing to say....EWWWWW! Stomping in it to clean clothes? URG.

Jo, the story is that my Uncle Ralph went with his Dad to pick up an elderly aunt from Canada who was terrified to visit them in Chicago because it was so full of crime. They reassured her, no, that was in the "old days" in the 20's. Nothing like that happens now (late 30's) They picked her up at the train station and were loading her bags when shots rang out and two machine-gun-toting thugs shot up a rival gang's restaurant hang out leaving several people injured in the street. The aunt insisted on leaving for Canada after only a day or two's visit because every where they'd go, she'd be looking for gunmen and it was wearing her out! ha!

jo robertson said...

OMG, Jeanne, that's a great story. You've got to put it in your family history somewhere! Poor Canadian Auntie. Did she ever return for a visit LOL?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Thanks, Terrio!

Jo, I'm with you on the whale. I struggled through it and wrote the obligatory book report, but I'd rather read Capt. Nemo. Ha! And I'd much rather read about/see movies where things blow up, where there's action as well as romance. Call me shallow if you will, but most of the chick flicks are not so fun to me. Or should I say, not nearly as fun as Ironman or 007. Grins.

Joan said...

In fact, the dress I wore to my company Christmas party this past weekend looked very much like something Ginger Rogers might have worn. I loved it! LOL!

Oooooooo....Terrio! I bet it was pretty.

I like all the dresses in "White Christmas" Pay attention the next time you watch when the guys walk into the Florida nightclub. The one woman is kind of posed on a stool...elegant.

Joan said...

Hmmm, hold on, gotta go micturate! Pause. Pause. Ahhhh.


Another first! An actual potty break ON the blog!!!!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Snork. Potty break. Snork. On the blog. SNORK!!!

Jo, you are TOO funny.

JT, I love that scene you described in White Christmas. LOVE that movie and all the fab dresses. Have to say that is one of my fav movies. "boy, girl, boy girl." Grins.

I adore the costumes in all those 40s vintage movies. SO lovely!

Nancy said...

Helen, welcome to the Unread Club. *g*

Joan, that's . . . interesting about the critters. Another new image to work on getting out of my head! So much for the romance of castle life. And okay, I am so not going to ever dress up as a Roman slave on Halloween!

Terrio, remember the old saying: Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in heels. "Weaker sex, hah!"

Jeanne, that story is too great! I loved Iron Man, too. Lots of cool stuff blowing up. *g*

Nancy said...

We have important Bandita news. Drumroll, please, and cue the fanfare . . .

Jeanne's debut novel, Dark and Dangerous, which was not only a dynamic, heart-stopping story but an RT Top Pick, has been nominated for an RT Reviewer's Choice Award.

Way to go, Jeanne! You rock! We are all delighted for you.

And aren't you glad AC's lolling about the Mediterranean somewhere and not here to threaten you about the sidebar. ;-)

jo robertson said...

Wahhhhooooo, Jeanne! If you haven't read Dark and Dangerous, you need to pick it up right now. Jeanne writes the best kick-ass heroines.

Deb Marlowe said...

Happy Birthday Jeanne! Too bad you didn't snag the chook, he could give you 29 birthday pecks!

Okay, I've had friends do the potty break while on the phone, but this is a blogosphere first, I feel sure. Jo, you're a brave woman. I paid too much for my new Mac to take it in the bathroom. I'd be sure to drop it.

Count me in with the consensus. I'm happy to be here today and fascinated with yesterday!

And I enjoy both Jane and Emily!

Deb Marlowe said...

Ack! Just saw the news! GOOOOO Jeanne! Hurray!

jo robertson said...

Hehehehe, Jeanne, it's better than wearing Depends!

Nancy, I love that quote about Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. Backwards, indeed!

Bandita Buddies, in case you haven't noticed (how could you not??) our fabulous Aunty Cindy's in Turkey!! Yes, in Turkey for Turkey Day. But she's due back on Wednesday. Yay!! We'll have some great stories when she posts on the 18th, I'm sure.

jo robertson said...

Deb, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said, "happy to be here today and fascinated with yesterday!"

I think that's the crux of why we read and write romance! I love the veneer of romanticism that lies over those by-gone ages even if I know the reality was a different thing!

Genella deGrey said...

Great post, Jo!

I love Jane Austen - She paved the way for us, didn't she? :) BTW - I can't picture Mr. Darcy as anyone but Colin Firth. Oh well - Nice visual, anyway. :D

And as for B.O., bad breath, privies, etc., I guess it's safe to say they didn't mind each other's too much - We're all here, aren't we?


Donna MacMeans said...

Jo - What a lovely blog. I love both writers and have read quite a bit of Emily Dickinson. I watched Emma on TV last night and marveled anew at Austin's characterizations.

I think I was born at the right time, but I sometimes wonder if I don't channel previous lives - does anyone else feel this? As to the feeling on not belonging to the crowd - heck yes! I'm a CPA who writes romance - need I say more?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...


Thanks Nancy, Jo, Deb, etc. I was absolutely flabbergasted about the RT award, in fact my editor asked if I was sitting down. Ha!

I'm STILL grinning about it and plan to continue for oh...perhaps several months? Ha!

Off to dinner fo rmy birthday...thanks for all the good wishes everyone!

Genella deGrey said...

And now to answer the questions:

Q - If you could live in any other time period or place, what would you choose?
A - I love so many time periods it would be hard to choose. Who knows - perhaps I've lived in each one.

Q - Do you feel that the time and place in which you were born was perfect for you?
A - I will admit, it was really cool landing on the moon. (Not *me,* but you know what I mean.) The only thing that could compare to it in history was probably discovering a "new world." I often wonder how - and how fast - the news got around without TV.

Q - Have you ever felt "out of joint" as Shakespeare says?
A - Heck yea.

Q - Perhaps you didn't fit in or belong either in your group at work, church, or school, maybe even in your neighborhood?
A - Still really don't.

Q - What helped you overcome that? Or did the experience continue to be a painful one?
A - It was hard when I was a kid - but now, even if they were to introduce a free 12-step program, I wouldn't take it. I like who I am. I don't follow trends in anything - So does that make me or any other individual wrong? No. Just different. I know the trendy ones don't like us different ones, but oh well! The creative monster within has taken over - LOL


Virginia said...

I feel like I was born at the right time. I wouldn't change my time for nothing. I do enjoy visiting the past in books, but would want to be there. I love reading historicals but I like the modern times of today.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Virginia! I think most of our commenters agree with you. There's nothing quite like the 21st Century for living in!

You almost got me there, Genella! I was thinking you were an astronaut or something LOL.

I kind of like the idea of reincarnation so that I actually COULD come back in another time period.

jo robertson said...

Jeanne, the RT award is well-deserved. And what a nice birthday present!

LOL, Donna, I have to say you're an odd combination, very linear with the CPA/accountant thing and then this wonderfully rich imagination that's given us my all-time favorite Mrs. Brimley! You must be channeling something good.

jo robertson said...

Genella, Colin Firth is my favorite Darcy too. He's just the right combination of upper-class arrogrance and flustery-in-love with Elizabeth. And that production (I think it was A&E) is the most true to the book. I like the new one too, but much of the text is omitted from that one.

Cassondra said...

Love this post Jo. Love both Jane and Emily. This poem in particular. You've done a lovely job of showing the two women and their worth--and something nobody much talks about--their inner lives--where all writers spend so much of their time.

limecello said...

Joan - NO!!! O_O
lol if I could live in any other time... the Regency period would be gads of fun - you know, if I were an extremely wealthy aristocratic woman. That or in ancient Greece or Rome... again as a wealthy, aristocratic woman. (Yes I *have* thought this out!)
Otherwise, I'm a fan of my modern amenities. :P

Susan Seyfarth said...

Jo, this is such a great post & such a fascinating question! I don't know that I've ever felt like I truly belonged to a different era, though I've often had the sense that I belonged somewhere else. (If that even makes sense.) Not so much a place that speaks to my heart as the strong conviction that *anyplace* might fit better than the here & now. :-)

Beth said...

I love reading about other time periods but I'm way too happy in the here and now to want to have lived in a different time *g*

Great post, Jo! Have fun with the GR, Joan. Maybe he could help bake up some Christmas cookies?

jo robertson said...

Thanks, Beth. I don't know what Joan intends to do with the GR, but I don't think baking cookies is part of it. She's probably gonna make him do her Christmas shopping!

That's funny you should say that, Susan. After seeing you in person at National in SF, I'd definitely say you're a 21st Century gal. You and Inara crack me up!

jo robertson said...

I think the key, Limecello, is being wealthy in any of those previous time periods. Remember that Eddie Murphy movie, "Coming to America," where in his homeland, as the prince, he even had people to . . . well, you know . . . wipe.

Thanks, Cassondra, it never ceases to amaze (and intimidate me) when I realize how rich writers' inner lives are. I'm so afraid I won't measure up -- even a little bit!

Caffey said...

Oh I love this question!! I really would love to time travel back to Medieval! I always debate between going back then or Regency which I want to too, LOL. But today its Medieval. I think because of what I read in romance in this time setting, that I always loved nature and would think of going back to those times of the very basics. (I'd bring toilet paper with me tho when I time travel) Too I've always been fascinated by castles! I have visited one a few times and love the story behind it that I was told many times (Bolt's Castle in Alexandra Bay NY, its on an island in Thousand Islands NY).

I haven't read P&P in so long, since HS!! I plan to read again, it will be like reading the first time (I'm reading some Georgette Heyer and I had read a couple in HS but its so long its again like reading the first time) and too so much a comfort reading them! I have a 1940's P&P movie with Sir Oliver Lawrence which is wonderful if you haven't seen that version (I'd love to see the one with Colin Firth but sadly its not captioned for the deaf). What a great post to read! Loved it!

Cassondra said...

Caffey, I think I need to read P&P again as well...and there are still versions I have not seen.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Caffey, I love that old Laurence Olivier version of P&P too! Wasn't it Greer Garson who played Elizabeth Bennett?

If I went to Medieval Europe, I'd take T.P. and hand sanitizer LOL.

It's always fun re-reading Austen, Cassondra. I adore the first line of P&P -- so indicative of the time period.