Home/Rod Dreher/Austen vs. Tolstoy literary grudge match

Austen vs. Tolstoy literary grudge match

Continuing yesterday’s discussion about Russian literature, a private e-mail exchange between English prof Micah Mattix and me resulted in his mentioning that people either liked Jane Austen, or they liked Russian novels of the period, but rarely did they like both. I asked him why. Here is his answer.

What do you think? Erin Manning, I’m looking at you especially.

UPDATE: For the record, I cannot stand Jane Austen, or 19th-century British literature. Reading it (for me) is like walking around in a hot day with a starched collar. I want to like it in theory, but I’d be dead asleep by the end of the first chapter. I say this knowing that as soon as my wife reads it, she will wallop me. Austen, Eliot, she reads all that stuff — except Trollope, which she once said to me she cannot stand for the same reason I don’t like any 19th c. British lit.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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