In honor of the upcoming Classics Circuit duel, I'm posing the question to all my friends in the blogsophere: Who is your favorite 19th century author, Jane Austen or Charles Dickens? On the one hand, we have the beloved Ms. Austen, whose works include spunky heroine in domestic situations, looking for love (sometimes in the wrong places). Her works have inspired countless sequels, prequels, alternate versions, and lots of movie and TV adaptations. Dickens' works are some of the most popular in publishing history. Which would you choose?
Honestly, I don't know if I can decide. As a lifetime member of JASNA (the Jane Austen Society of North America) I should automatically go with Jane. Lizzie! Darcy! Anne Elliot! Regency costumes! I've already made my hotel reservation for the 2011 JASNA meeting this October, which is hosted right here in Texas!
But on the other hand, Dickens created some of the most memorable characters in literary history. Seriously, who doesn't know the most famous line in Oliver Twist: "Please, sir, I want some more." And A Tale of Two Cities: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of time." And Bleak House, one of my favorite novels (and favorite TV miniseries) of all time. It has everything -- romance, satire, mystery, social commentary. And Inspector Bucket, possibly the first police detective in English literature. And I am determined to go to the annual Dickens on the Strand in Galveston in December.
As much as I love Jane Austen (except for modern sequels), I think I'm going to go with Dickens for my Classics Circuit choice. I've been wanting to read Dombey and Son for several years, so this is my first choice. Of course I have about six other unread Dickens works on the TBR shelves. Even though some of them are shorter, I decided it was better to go with a longer book that I want to read, rather than a shorter book, just because I feel I ought to read it.
If you want to participate in the Dueling Authors Classics Circuit tour, sign up here through Tuesday, April 19. The link has lots of information about the authors and many of their works. I look forward to reading all the posts!