Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The More Things Change

I've been reading Sontag on photography. I've been reading Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey at the same time.

I found a point of overlap.

Sontag makes much of the idea that photography teaches us a new way to see.

Austen, more humorously, makes the same point - about drawing:

They were viewing the country with the eyes of persons accustomed to drawing, and decided on its capability of being formed into pictures, with all the eagerness of real taste. Here Catherine was quite lost. She knew nothing of drawing -- nothing of taste: -- and she listened to them with an attention which brought her little profit, for they talked in phrases which conveyed scarcely any idea to her. The little which she could understand, however, appeared to contradict the very few notions she had entertained on the matter before. It seemed as if a good view were no longer to be taken from the top of an high hill, and that a clear blue sky was no longer a proof of a fine day.

Often enough,
A truth of note
Can be backed up
With an Austen quote.

1 comment:

Fathairybastard said...

Good stuff. One can see why her work continues to resonate. I remember in grad school being made to read Daniel Boorstin in some critique of modern American culture (written back in the 60s). His thesis, it seemed, was that crude Americans were going out into the world without the gentility to see things the way they were supposed to be seen. Came off sounding elitist to most of us at the time. Then I had the experience of going to Europe with the Navy, and walking through ancient ruins with a bunch of horny bosons mates. What can you do?