The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday February 26th

Jane Austen would be sorely disappointed

TO THE EDITOR:

This past weekend, UNC hosted a summer course at the College of Arts and Sciences, listed under “Programs in the Humanities and Human Values,” regarding Jane Austen — “Pride & Prejudice at 200.”

Forget 200 — the registration cost for this select little gathering was $300 a person, which comes to $100 a day. Just what is UNC trying to be now — Duke?

We live in a most inhumane time, when even the educated prefer cash up front to human values, but not all that different from the time in which Jane Austen lived.

So to lighten my bitter feelings toward my alma mater, now grown too mercenary for the likes of me, I’d like to play a game of my own as a postscript to the “Pride & Prejudice” program: Could any Jane Austen heroine afford to attend this thing? Could Jane Austen herself afford to attend it?

Somehow, I don’t see Elizabeth Bennet mingling with this group; still less, the Dashwood sisters of “Sense and Sensibility,” or Fanny Price of “Mansfield Park.”

On the other hand, the comparatively thoughtless heiress Emma Woodhouse would be right at home. So also might be the vicious Caroline Bingley, the envious Maria Bertram and the downright devious Mary Crawford, all children of privilege.

As for the author herself — whether she would choose to mix in such society, even if she could afford it, is a question I leave up to anyone who has truly got the point of her books.

Page Davis ’80

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