This Male Writer Has Decided Jane Austen Is Rubbish

Giles Coren shows a lot of Pride and even more Prejudice...

Giles Coren on Jane Austen

by Ebere Nweze |

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Giles Coren can be a bit of an idiot, and he's only gone and proven it with a scathing attack on Jane Austen.

Ignoring age-old advice to 'never speak ill of the dead', the new Katie Hopkins of literature felt it necessary this morning to tell readers of The Times that 'the first thing to have been published with Jane Austen’s name on that I was able to read all the way to the end' was the new plastic tenner and that Austen was no more than a 'long-dead Hampshire spinster.'

Just one instance of name-calling wasn't enough for the journalist, who decided to further emphasise his point by also denouncing her as ' 'a third-rate Augustan ink-widdler' (and no, we don't know what that means either).

Coren also reduces all of Jane Austen's feisty female protagonists to 'squares' (who even uses that word anymore?) who everyone 'thinks will never marry, but eventually do.'

Satire may have been the aim of the piece (or maybe it was the second, because the main aim is evidently promoting his upcoming Sky Arts documentary 'I Hate Jane Austen') but many journalists have taken to the internet to suggest that Coren's churlish piece could do with a little more Sense - and maybe some Sensibility too.

Well, it's nice to see we are in good company. Austen is the most iconic female writer of the 19th century - something that is no mean feat, considering that women faced huge obstacles in the publishing industry. She refused to hide her femininity under a male pseudonym and proved to the world that 'A Lady', as she referred to herself in her novels, could write excellent fiction which wasn't stuffy either.

What's more, Austen's subject matter, so maligned by Coren, is not a sign of lacking creativity, but a reflection of the restricted lives that women endured at the time. Marrying was ultimately the highest ambition most women could aspire to at the time, but Austen transcends the stereotype by penning books which were often more of a cutting critique of a stifling society than Coren's is a critique of a book.

We don't think Coren hates Jane Austen as much as he claims he does (especially since the Austen-themed documentary is probably a nice little earner for him), and everyone is free to like or dislike whichever author they please, but ultimately we don't think a journalist whose own failure of a novel has been called 'a great, howling aria of frustration' amongst other things, is the best person to comment.

Follow Ebere Nweze on Twitter @NwezeEbere

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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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