10 Januar 2012

Englische Geschichte als Übung in Satire

Der Autor stellt sich vor als "A PARTIAL, PREJUDICED AND IGNORANT HISTORIAN", was mit "parteiischer vorurteilsbelasteter und unwissender Historiker" zu übersetzen sich nahe legt, auf die tatsächliche fünfzehnjährige Verfasserin freilich nicht recht zutrifft.
Ich vermute, dass Jane Austen hier absichtlich das Klischee bedient, dass Frauen nichts von Geschichte verstünden. Jedenfalls aber ist diese "Geschichte" eine Fingerübung für die satirischen Passagen ihrer späteren Romane.

Wenn sie zu Heinrich VI. schreibt:
I cannot say much for this Monarch's sense. Nor would I if I could, for he was a Lancastrian. I suppose you know all about the Wars between him and the Duke of York who was of the right side; if you do not, you had better read some other History, for I shall not be very diffuse in this, meaning by it only to vent my spleen against, and shew my Hatred to all those people whose parties or principles do not suit with mine, and not to give information.
dann kann es gut sein, dass sie sich damit über das damals beliebte Geschichtsbuch The History of England from the Earliest Times to the Death of George II von Oliver Goldsmith (1771) lustig macht.

Die folgende Passage zu Edward VI. und die Hinrichtung von dessen ersten Thronverweser lebt freilich ganz von einem grotesken Gedankenspiel.
As this prince was only nine years old at the time of his Father's death, he was considered by many people as too young to govern, and the late King happening to be of the same opinion, his mother's Brother the Duke of Somerset was chosen Protector of the realm during his minority. This Man was on the whole of a very amiable Character, and is somewhat of a favourite with me, tho' I would by no means pretend to affirm that he was equal to those first of Men Robert Earl of Essex, Delamere, or Gilpin. He was beheaded, of which he might with reason have been proud, had he known that such was the death of Mary Queen of Scotland; but as it was impossible that he should be conscious of what had never happened, it does not appear that he felt particularly delighted with the manner of it.

Den vollständigen Text findet man hier.

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