October 01, 2005

You Be The Judge

Miss Manners lists out her top five novels in today's Opinion Journal.

One opinion of hers might ring a bell with longtime devoted Cake Eater Readers:

1. "Emma" by Jane Austen (1816).

Before the injunctions "Be yourself" and "Express yourself" inspired so much bad behavior and art, sophisticated novelists were examining the social selves we invent, as indeed we must to face the world. Little Miss Do-Gooder, the unlikely heroine of this novel, exhibits the philanthropist's fatal flaw of acting on theory rather than on observation. Most impressively, that sly Miss Austen manages to engage our sympathies for a Georgian version of Paris Hilton whose motto is Everyone Wants to Be Me. The faults of Elizabeth Bennet of "Pride and Prejudice" and Marianne Dashwood of "Sense and Sensibility" are merely taking laudable traits--self-respect and romantic passion, respectively--to excess. But Emma Woodhouse is a rich, spoiled young busybody who imagines that everyone aspires to her lifestyle and that she is conferring the greatest of favors by bossing others around. So why do we ache to see her happily married to that nice, innocent gentleman?

Which leads to a very important question for you, my devoted Cake Eater Readers: were Robbo and Miss Manners separated at birth? Both are witty fussbudgets who, it seems, have a penchant for that notorious Austen twit, Emma Woodhouse. I think the case is made, my devoted Cake Eater Readers, but I shall let you be the judge.

UPDATE: Now, with links!

Posted by Kathy at October 1, 2005 10:48 AM | TrackBack

What were the other four top novels?

Posted by: Sadie at October 2, 2005 08:12 AM
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