September 24, 2006
"Help! My Husband Is In Love With a 19th-Century Authoress!"
Of all the problems to have...
AN ODD KIND OF JEALOUSY
Fri Sep 22, 12:06 PM ET
DEAR MARGO: My dilemma is really simple. I happen to love a certain 19th-century authoress and have read every biography I can find about her.
Ever since I was 14 years old and read her classic novel "Pride and Prejudice," I have been bewitched. She is a lady and a half, the gilder of my heart, the best woman I am sorry I never met.
I was recently at a party with my wife and was asked why I like Jane Austen so much. (The question actually was why I am so "obsessed.") I responded to the question with vigor and as eloquently as a man "in love" can be allowed.
The problem is my wife. She is crazy jealous and has suggested that I should be married to Lady J.A. instead of her; that I never seem to have that glow in my eyes when speaking of her as I do when speaking of the great Miss Austen of Steventon, 1775-1817.
I am sure, Margo, you would join me in declaring my wife a little over the top and unreasonable about this. Is there a way you could articulate why this jealousy is irrational?
--- DEVOTEE OF JANE AUSTEN
DEAR DEV: I think the only time a woman can legitimately be jealous of another female, no longer alive, is when the deceased had been her husband's great love and left said man a widower. (My own husband gets moony over Dawn Upshaw and Mme. Curie, but since I can neither sing nor understand nuclear physics, I harbor no competitive urges.)
To quote another author, Dickens, Ms. Austen is "dead as a doornail," so perhaps you could follow that avenue to talk a little "Sense and Sensibility" into your green-eyed wife.
Were I she, I should feel lucky that your most beloved author is a woman who understands women so well. Maybe try reading "Persuasion" out loud to each other, and she might come to share your passion.
--- MARGO, AUTHORITATIVELY