Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Great Wednesday Compare #4: Jane Austen VERSUS Lucy Maud Montgomery

The winner of last week's Great Wednesday Compare (Edgar Allan Poe Vs. Jane Austen), with a final score of 48-8, was Jane Austen.

Early in the competition the two authors seemed to be working out pretty even. I thought maybe I'd finally be able to cast my own vote to break a tie. Then came the Austen fans...

Major confession time: I've never read a Jane Austen novel. Pick yourselves up off the floor Austenites or Janites or whatever you prefer to be called, there is some good news coming. If I had placed my vote last week, it would have been for Poe. Basing it purely on genre, I've been compelled to read Poe, not Austen. But you'll be happy to note, your support has not been in vain: Not only have you won this pretty meaningless competition, you've also convinced another reader that it's high time to read at least one of her books. Was it the wet shirt comments? Afraid not. Actually, it was probably a combination of Tony's argument that she was so much more than a romance writer and of seeing the devotion the woman seems to have inspired in so many people, so long after the fact. As Ms. Place put it, Jane Austen fans are legion. I'd also say obsessed.

That brings us to this week. Who the heck can possibly compete with Jane's loyal fans? While I've had a few excellent suggestions, I've decided to go with my own. Maybe it's because it was Canada Day a few days ago and I'm still feeling a little patriotic, but I thought it was about time I've thrown a Canadian into the mix (or perhaps to the wolves). I've also decided to cap the number of wins at five, and if there are a number of authors that win that many, I'll have a championship at some point.

Remember, vote simply by adding your comment below, base it on whatever merit you choose, voting does not end until Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. (July 10th), and please spread the word!

Who's better?

















Jane Austen or Lucy Maud Montgomery


59 comments:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Jane Austen, based solely on the fact that I find Montgomery's stories a bit annoying.

Siew Cooper said...

Glad you're a convert! People who think Austen's only a romance writer are either delusional or premising their comments on hearsay. I must admit, I hadn't stuck around to see the tide turning, and I'm shocked at the landslide!

This week you've got me again; I love both writers dearly. Austen because her style is just so witty, and Montgomery because, well, like many a girl I grew up reading and loving Anne Shirley. And Gilbert Blythe is just about a match for Mr Darcy.

My vote this week is sentimental, and goes towards Montgomery. Loved the Emily series too.

Bybee said...

Oh crap! I can't participate this week because I've never read any L.M. Montgomery. 2007 might be the year to rectify that. O Canada!

Dr J said...

Neither. I despise Austen more than any other author, and reading one of her books-- for me-- is only slightly more painful than drinking a steaming dram of Drano. Montgomery's not much better. *shiver*

marydell said...

Austen, hands down. Aren't all of L.M. Montgomery's books exactly the same?

raidergirl3 said...

LM Montgomery for sure. I've read a few Austen books, but nearly all of Montgomery's. LM's are infinitely more readable to me.
Of course, I am a little biased, being from PEI.

Literary Feline said...

I admit that I had to follow your link to find out what Montegomery had written. I don't know the name by sight. I've heard of the Anne of Green Gables books--even watched the tv show (or was it mini series) for a short while--but have never read anything by her. So, just based on that, my vote goes to Jane Austen whose work that I have read I've enjoyed.

kookiejar said...

I'm voting for L. M. Montgomery because she has more letters in her name.

Naw, I just don't like Austen.

Stephanie said...

Sorry. But I'll have to abstain this week too!! I'm not a huge Austen fan, but then again, I've only read one of her books. It was good, but I haven'read anything by Montgomery. Just not enough info to compare!

Imani said...

It must be Austen. I love Montgomery but if I went on a desert island I'd take an Austen collection over Montgomery.

Rebecca said...

I confess that this is going to be a strategic vote, mostly. I'm voting for Montgomery because I would rather see her win than Austen (sorry Austen fans!). Plus, I liked Montgomery's The Blue Castle, which is one book more than I liked of Austen's.

JaneFan said...

argh - imani's logic is powerful. But if I had not read LM Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series in middle school (and been inspired by a wonderful English teacher) I may not have become the lover of literature that I am today. So to show that I am fair-minded and not an *obsessed* Janeite (despite my blog), I am voting for Lucy Maud Montgomery, because for me she came first.

Poodlerat said...

Wow, I'm really surprised at the number of people picking Montgomery over Austen! Although L.M. Montgomery has a huge place in my heart, I'm going to have to vote for Jane again.

Actually, although I've never considered myself a raving Austenite, I can't think of any author I'd say was better than her. Equal to, maybe, but not better.

It makes me sad not to be able to vote for Montgomery, which I would have done if she'd been up against almost anyone else.

Allison said...

Lucy Maud, only because I despise Jane Austen.

John Mutford said...

Poodlerat, don't feel too sad. In the real world you don't have to choose.

And to all of those abstaining from voting because you haven't read Montgomery and/or Austen, good on you. Though I must say, you're more ethical than I!

Melanie said...

L.M. Montgomery! There is no-one who has influenced me more. I've read all her books numerous times, and no, they aren't all the same :) Her journals are also fascinating. I like Jane, but I love Lucy Maud.

Amanda said...

This is a tough one for me. Montgomery was my favorite author when I was younger. I wish I could vote for her, but my vote has to go to Austen, because as an adult I would rather sit down with an Austen book.

Elio said...

my vote is for miss austen. i just finished reading persuassion and once i got used to the language, it was wonderful. and what's wrong with a little romance? especially the more traditional notion of romance.

Matt said...

My this has become popular... I am going to vote for Austen because I still have nightmares of Anne of Green Gables playing on the television for what seemed like weeks at a time while my older sister watched.

Dewey said...

Austen, for a couple reasons.

First, I've only read one Montgomery book, though I intend to read more. I've read most if not all of Austen.

Second, I believe Montgomery is a one-trick pony, is she not? A lot of people voted King over Rowling for that reason.

MyUtopia said...

Jane!

Gentle Reader said...

I'll have to go with Austen, her novels are way more nuanced. Montgomery was a favorite of mine when I was a kid, but I think Austen holds up better over time.

Glad you're going to try out some Austen!

3M said...

Jane Austen!

patricia said...

Oh, I must say dear Lucy Maud. She had a very strong influence on me as a child – I felt such powerful connection with Anne, and I loved pretty much all the stories that L.M. wrote (I read all those Chronicles of Avonlea over and over again). And The Blue Castle? Such a delight. Jane Austen is wonderful, witty and clever, but Lucy Maud was the first women writer to touch my young heart and welcome me into the unlimited possibilities of the imaginary world.

richard said...

Has to be Jane Austen - such intense little worlds. I enjoy Montgomery, but she's no totem for me.

Ms. Place said...

John, I shall not advertise the compare this time. Let Jane fans find you on their own! Having said that, you created an excellent compare, but I will still have to go with Jane. Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables, though beloved, is not nuanced. Her stories appeal at the most on one or two levels.

Jane can be read on many levels. Her wry and droll observations acquire depth and meaning over time. These days I read her novels with a more jaundiced and practiced eye than I did in my twenties, and the experience just keeps getting richer and better.

Jane.

(BTW Dr. J, your comment gave me my best laugh of the morning, though I must respectfully disagree with you.)

Ceels said...

I bought a copy of Persuasion today, I discovered recently I had not read it and was delighted to be able to spend more time with Jane. Pride and Prejudice is a gem and I will always go back to it to make my brain sparkle. But my Heart belongs to Lucy (and Emily and Anne and Pat and Kilmeny and Marigold and Jane).

Reading Emily is like coming home.

L M Montgomery.

Akagracie said...

Jane Austen gets my vote. As GentleReader points out, Austen holds up better over time. I became a reader because of LM Montgomery's books, but she "merely" opened the door for me.

Elizabeth said...

I'm casting my vote for L.M. Montgomery. I never would have survived as a homily redhead with freckles if it hadn't been for Anne (and the fact that she eventually lands Gilbert!).

Carrie K said...

You know in your heart you were swayed by the wet T-shirt. No?
Hmmm.

I'm choose Jane Austen again. She wrote Northanger Abbey that mocked The Mysteries of Udolpho and its ilk and she was such a barbed ladylike wit.

OTOH, I never could get past a page or two of Anne of Green Gables.

Jane it is.

Lady Jane said...

My vote is for Jane Austen. If she hadn't written, perhaps L.M. Montgomery might not have . . . :) Just a thought!

Carrie K said...

"I'm choose"? "I'm choose"?! Gah.

Bybee said...

OK, I'm in! A couple of days ago, I purchased a copy of Anne Of Green Gables, and I'm about halfway through. Love L.M.'s writing. Anne is really funny -- I also like crusty Marilla and shy Matthew. PEI sounds like a beautiful place to live.

I'm casting my vote for Montgomery -- the book is an unexpected delight!

John Mutford said...

Wow, Bybee. Maybe I should start handing out "Most Responsible Voter" awards!

EnnaVic said...

I'd have to vote for Jane Austen

She has more layers in her books than LM Montgomery does and is so witty.

But I do love LMM as well, and rumour has it I was named after her Anne. *chuckle*

Rob Hardy said...

That is a tough one. If I were a girl, I think I would want to be Anne Shirley. We both have red hair! But I found the one book, "Anne of Green Gables," was enough L.M. Montgomery for me, whereas Jane Austen's six books make me wish there was more. So, once again, it's Jane.

John said...

Nuts. I love both. But purely on depth, my vote is for Jane Austen.

Elizabeth J. said...

Jane Austen, of course, typed the confirmed Janeite. Enjoy both author's wonderful stories. Social satire, wit, humor, beautifully delineated characters? No contest. She gives the reader so much more than a delightful story.

Cindy C. said...

Decisions, decisions! LMM has such delightful characters, but Jane's work is so much more...

I choose Jane.

Nicole said...

Jane Austen, always Jane Austen.

vaire said...

Like janefan, LM Montgomery was my first book love, and I've read all the Anne books and all the Emily books, liking the latter best -- but I still love Jane best.

So I vote Jane.

BTW, which book are you planning to read first, John?

James said...

Ceels;
Persuasion is Jane Austen's Best novel.
I vote for Jane Austen!
James

Peony Moss said...

Austen.

Montgomery is good. Austen is great.

For your first Austen read, you might like Pride and Prejudice.

Christina said...

Jane Austen.

Diane said...

Like vaire and janefan, I love them both.

Must vote for JA though...because...well, she's Jane.

For L.M. Montgomery fans, I can not recommend her collected journals enough. They are not cheap, but they are utterly fascinating.

madam librarian said...

Jane of course. L.M Montgomery is good but Jane is great

Vendethiel said...

Jane Austen! L.M. Montgomery's books were lovely, but I never wanted to read them again. I read Jane Austen's books over and over and over...

John Mutford said...

Vaire, I thought I'd take Peony's suggestion of Pride and Prejudice. It's the one I've heard of the most and so I figured I should start there. If I enjoy it and am curious for more, I'll take James's Persuasion recommendation.

Eugenia said...

This is a much tougher one this time- I was very fond of Anne of Green Gables when I was growing up, but I am an *obsessed Janeite* now and have been for a while. I suppose that all I can say is that while Gilbert Blythe is a very good and sympathetic young hero, as a devoted Henry Tilney fangirl, there is truly only one way I could ever vote.
Huzzah for Jane!

alpha said...

I like Anne of Green Gables, but I also like Heidi, equally.
But Jane Austen characters are incomparable.

Read all the above in school, but I still read Austen novels. because every time I read a novel by her I find something new, which I hadn't noticed before.
Yes, that's because of all those layers!!

On these grounds my vote goes to Jane Austen.

Ariel said...

After a long and painfull deliberation, I arrived at the conclusion that I love Jane more. I started reading both author's works at the same time and I thought that I loved them equally until I was struck with the hard and unwavering question on your blog. Jane Austen is the better writer, because L.M Montgomery, though incredibly aggreeable, just doesn't beat out Jane Austen's wit and social parady.

Chris said...

Darn you, John! I love Jane but as an Atlantic Canadian I must vote for LMM. (And I love Anne. She's adorable.)

Diana said...

Aaaah! You keep choosing authors that I love. While I still adore L.M. Montgomery, I'm going to have to go with Jane Austen again. Austen has always seemed more mature to me.

marie said...

Jane Austen for sure. One reason, or symptom of her greatness, if you like, is that in my experience she has a much lower ratio of lady fans to gentleman fans--a sure mark of genius.

And to all those who have decried her work, Henry Tilney and I have but one thing to say to you: "The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." :D

Mags said...

You are very hard on the fangirls, John. This is a cruel, cruel decision. But...have to go with Jane.

Anonymous said...

As much as I love Jane Austen's clever satire, Blue Castle is my all time favorite book. So, even though I am a Janeite, I am voting for Lucy Maud Montgomery this week.

Jane -- Really said...

Jane, Jane, Jane and Jane!

Anonymous said...

I vote for Jane ! She is timeless!

John Mutford said...

Voting has now closed.