It has always intrigued me that feminists have claimed Jane Austen for their own. Even a brief study of Jane Austen’s books and her background would reveal a woman devout in her Christian faith and in unwavering acceptance of the society she was born into. Of course, that did not stop her satirising people in that society or of highlighting the social faults she perceived. Indeed, there has hardly been a more brutal satirist of human foibles and weaknesses in all of English literature. She especially targeted people who were pompous, hypocritical, obsequious, nasty and selfish – all in the context of her late 18th and early 19th century English society. Continue reading Romance and marriage in Sense and Sensibility
By Peter Fisher
We cannot return to the days of the ‘white picketfence’. But we should recognise that there were many virtues and human qualities proper to that era that we are now the poorer for having jettisoned.
THESE DAYS, any reference to an era of the so-called ‘white picket fence’ is often accompanied by scorn and derision from modern ‘progressives’. The period in question is the 1950s and early-to-mid-1960s, prior to the coming of age of the baby boomers and the sexual revolution that came in their wake. Continue reading The Era of the White Picket Fence
One of the most enjoyable features of Christmas dinner in Australia has been the Christmas plum pudding. The first settlers to Australia brought its ritual and tradition. It was to be expected, of course, that my family whose ancestors came from the British Isles before 1840 would follow the ritual and tradition with much joy and enthusiasm. The reader will find an excellent description of the plum pudding and its cultural background on the most informative of the many websites on Jane Austen and her world: The Christmas plum pudding and old English foodie tradition.
One of my earliest childhood memories is of my mother helping my grandmother prepare the Christmas pudding for Christmas dinner. It was pretty much as described on Jane Austen’s World website, including the stirring of the bowl.
That tradition has carried on. Until my mother passed away well into her nineties, she used to watch on as daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren stirred the pudding mixture. An indispensable part of the ritual was the mixing in of thruppences, sixpences, shilling and two shilling pieces which my parents had kept after the cultural destructive introduction of dollars and cents in 1966. Those lucky enough to find pennies and shillings in their slice of plum pudding could exchange them for higher value but colourless cents.
One is not usually conscious when reading the Scriptures that there are many different translations. One simply reads the text endeavouring to follow the narration and understand the meaning. I must admit, though, that the style and language usage of what I am sometimes reading comes across as wooden, fractured and archaic without the grace of some ancient writing, all of which makes the meaning obscure. I have been in the habit of thinking myself lacking understanding rather than blame the text.
Some years ago I was reading some passages from the New Testament when I suddenly became aware that my mind had come on the text as a train rides on the perfect fit of the railway track. The language was my language and I was inside the narration. There was none of that woodenness or forced rigidity of language that I often experienced. I had no way of knowing which translation it was. Sometime later, I picked up the New Testament edition I had been given back in 1959 when starting secondary school. Upon reading I realised it was the same translation that had engaged me so naturally. It was Mgr Ronald Knox’s translation. Continue reading The Christmas story according to St Luke, translated by Mgr Ronald Knox