That [Jane Austen’s] mythic patterns should have gone so long unrecognized is startling evidence of the real subtlety of her mind and art, which have been so much praised for shallow reasons. Even a brief examination of the occult structuring of Pride and Prejudice will establish Jane Austen’s claim to be the first great exemplar of the modern mythic consciousness.
-Douglas Bush, “Mrs. Bennet and the Dark Gods: The truth about Jane Austen”
What if obscurity isn’t always deliberate? Can it be that authors are as confused as the culture that formed them? That they write conclusionless works because they have no conclusions?
Strange, how critics generally seem to think that the author of every “great” work must have been a genius. Maybe they were people (gasp!) who just stumbled upon the right publisher, the right niche.
Maybe some modern “masters” were neurotic individuals who strung words together so abstrusely that, oh, my, they must have been earthshatteringly brilliant and new. They’re speaking to the very seat of our being, though we, obviously inferior intellectuals, see only daisies and paradox.
I’m an inferior enough intellectual to believe that sometimes authors are sitting down at the end of a long day and pouring out their thoughts in pen and ink. Or just trying to get through the next ten pages. Not so different.
Authors are just as human as the rest of us. Sometimes the pear tree in the back yard has no more significance than a slip of your very own psychoanalyzed tongue. Quick! Your id is showing! Please keep that in check.
And maybe I’m not smiling NOT because my heart is broken, but because my embouchure is tired of trying to crank out a stubborn note on the oboe. Or… maybe it’s not. Let obscurity BE.