Tag Archives: Jane Austen

Of Museums and Blogs

[Part of a series of articles reviewing blogs and websites (here Jane Austen’s World) on my blog-roll; see the about page.]

As I said in Kiss of Death, yesterday was disapointed by the national maritime museum in Greenwich, the highlight being a talk given at the start on the Death of Nelson, which could have been given anywhere. This I don’t think is much if at all the fault of the museum. One of the most important functions of museums seems to be to preserve artifacts and facilitate scholarly research but my concern is with public education, or perhaps my own use of museums to educate myself. I have long been an admirer of Jane Austen’s world, coming away from many articles feeling as if I had visited a museum (see, for example, From Classic to Romantic: Changes in the Silhouette of the Regency Gown and London’s Lost Rivers).

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On Love

In our Thursday evening meditation group at The Bodhi Garden we looked at the chapter on Meditation on Love from Kathleen McDonald’s How to Meditate. Each chapter in this book has been a revelation to us: McDonald’s simple and clear prose has a depth that can be easily missed. Here is the first paragraph that we looked at in the Thursday group.

Love, also called “loving-kindness,” is wanting others to be happy. It is a natural quality of mind, but until we develop it through meditation and other practices it remains limited, reserved for a few select individuals—usually those we are attached to. Genuine love is universal in scope, extending to everyone, without exception.

Buddhists have for the most part have given up on the word ‘love’ and an inspection of the entry on love Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy shows us why. Even sticking to the philosophical definitions of love we can see extreme confusion, without going anywhere near the ideas of love held by the benighted and unphilosophical.

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Back Home : Local Literature and Philosophy Conference

I have returned back home to Brighton. I have a couple of articles on Iran which i will post tonight, after which I really do want to get out some posts on the Mansfield Park blog.

Tomorrow I will go and have a look at the Philosophy and Literature conference at Sussex University and report back here. It is interesting to me that the local university should have just set up such an interdisciplinary research group and that they seem to have no interest in Jane Austen considering she lived locally (just across the border) and that Brighton features quite prominently in her writing.

Mansfield Park and The Culture Wars

After a hiatus I have posted an article, Everything of Higher Consequence, on my Mansfield Park blog. Here I have brought together some of my thinking on the novel which also intersects with some recent thoughts on what makes progressives and conservatives tick. Given that the two stream of thought originated with the French revolution and Edmund Burke’s reaction to it, and the way that the baby-boomer culture wars have been fought out in Austen criticism (see Conservatives and Progressives) and Barack Obama’s objective to move beyond these culture wars (see about half of the posts on Andrew Sullivan’s blog), you can see strong convergence in these seemingly disparate areas covering philosophy and the enlightenment, Jane Austen’s writing and contemporary politics.

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