Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Can there be too much Austen?

Do you ever find it to be the case that when you read a very stylized work of fiction, you find yourself so wrapped up in the language of it, it's difficult to speak like a normal person?
I do.

I have just finished reading Emma by Jane Austen. The impact of the language upon me was heightened because I had it in audio format as well from the library. So, while doing dishes, I would listen, and while sitting down to watch a show with the children, I would read.

When we lived in Wymount at BYU and got the Canadian channel, my husband could tell if I had been watching it always within minutes of coming home. I am absurdly open to suggestions of accent. Once, in high school, my sister and I were both being interviewed together for some kind of summer job. The lady interviewing us came from the deep South and had the fabulous accent to prove it. After we left her office, my sister accosted me, saying essentially, "What is wrong with you?! Were you trying to make fun of her or something?" Apparently, I had completely unconsciously taken up her accent as best I could and spoken with it for some length of the interview. In this one regard, I have sympathy for Madonna: If I moved to England, I would undoubtedly begin speaking in a presumably pretentious half-British, half-American way which would annoy everybody.

Thus it is, that all evening, I have had to refrain from the type of phraseology which would make me ridiculous. For example:

Do not you find it sometimes amusing to the point of hilarity the way in which young children do go on despite all forms of parental discouragement and professions of decorum?
Translation: Even when they're being totally disobedient, the kids are still pretty funny sometimes.

Can you yet conjecture so unlikely a scenario, so ill-conceived a notion as this tale of suspense and ardor, which still excites within one so complete a wish for successful and felicitous resolution for the heroine and her champion; at least so much as may be within their power to obtain?
Translation: Even though Twlight is complete fantasy, you just can't help but root for a happy ending, can you?

I guess you should all count yourselves fortunate that I haven't started on Dickens again, yet. His sentences are like a paragraph long. I wish I got paid by the word like he did.