Editor, Daily Nexus,
I would like to respond to the article concerning Jane Austen (“I Think Writer Jane Austen … : She Said, He Said: ‘Was a Witty, Sophisticated Author’ vs. ‘Should Have Been Fed to Sharks,'” Daily Nexus, May 20). I expect the editor will receive many responses, hopefully the motivation behind the circulation of a crass and juvenile attempt at satirical criticism. By assigning conflicting views of Austen as an elegant author and as fit only for shark bait to a woman and man respectively, ridiculously outdated societal notions come into play. Guess what? There are heterosexual males who enjoy Austen and her works; there are females who have never read Austen. Neither writer, however, allowed for the wide spectrum in opinions; as a result, both viewpoints are biased, not objective. A fair compromise would’ve allowed a pro- and anti-Austen paragraph from the male and female perspectives. But this wouldn’t be provoking to the audience at large; the columns remain divided into what appears a full-on battle of the sexes.
I would have expected that, on a university campus, if one ventured to make their opinion public, it would have been because the person possessed some knowledge of the subject. It needn’t be an extensive background; if some type of research had been done, or even if various articles had been read, the person would be able to make some sort of educated assertion. I won’t enumerate the virtues of Austen’s style in this letter; that isn’t the point of it. I refuse to believe Mr. Simons meant the definition of “dedicated fan” in any way other than sarcasm. It’s a pity he considers himself capable of passing judgement upon an author solely because he has read one novel or watched the film version (forgetting for the moment a film is an interpretation only, not the work itself). I’ve never read a novel I enjoyed by Hiaasen, the author Mr. Simons sought to compare Austen to. Do I declare to the world that he be fed to sharks in order to avoid the destruction of living trees and continuous circulation of modern trash parading as literature? No, I do not. In fact, I am willing to read different works by Hiaasen because I just might find one that I will like and even enjoy. I am willing to experience what I haven’t been exposed to; perhaps if Mr. Simons extends himself, he may come to gain an appreciation of the value of Austen and even understand why she remains a widely read major figure in British literature.