Saturday, December 01, 2007

an evening with Germaine

Could I just say Germaine Greer has a brain the size of a planet. While I’ve always known it is of a larger than normal capacity, hearing her speak in an academic capacity last this week at the opening of the Jane Austen and Comedy conference was an absolute pleasure.

Dr Greer admitted it was unusual for her to deliver such a formal oration and it was a joy to soak up such a well-crafted lecture, full of insight, wit and in-depth analysis. With knowledge of Austen only slightly deeper than seeing Colin Firth in a wet shirt (high school English being a very long time ago now) even those of us with a sketchy repertoire gobbled up her every word. When I sighted the Complete Works of Jane Austen in a bookshop a few days later, I had to admit to being sorely tempted

A further treat was watching how Greer handled the Q&A afterwards – with issues from feminism to Dafur shot at her, she showed both wisdom and compassion. But my favourite was her segue to some dating advice for young women. Who would have imagined the bra burner from way back to counsel silence. Yes, the path to dignity sometimes is keeping your mouth shut and not pleading men for their affection. Jane Austen would have been pleased!

I came with a cheer squad, 9 of us in all, taking our place in a sell-out audience. I feared at one point that one of us would scream “We love you Germaine” reminiscent of a supporter at a recent political rally pledging his devotion for the outgoing PM.

Despite a couple of fusty blokes introducing her, it was a strongly female dominated event. A lot of grey hair and devotion to the cause, the type of people who are largely invisible in our society. Did the paucity of people under 40 relate to the topic or the presenter, I don’t know, I guess the Greer fan base is fixed very strongly in women who were at least born by the time she published her first book at the dawn of the ‘70’s. But will younger women adopt her belatedly as a role model? Greer is an outspoken woman, a poster girl for the sexual revolution, undeniably sexy at any age, well educated. Knowledgeable, funny and perceptive – even if generation Y and beyond haven’t quite noticed her yet.

Helen on the Cast Iron Balcony wrote a much more coherent post about the content of the lecture, including the term "Bildungsroman" that my entire cheer squad spent a lot of time afterwards going "what the?" about.

Pavlov's Cat who was I am told another charming speaker at the conference, adds a further slant to the evening.

Laura tells us what was going on behind the scenes with the nice people from ACA wanting to bring Greer to the masses

Larvatus Prodeo rounds up the highlights.

Even Bolt waged in with a twisted, second hand report on her reply to a question. No, he doesn't deserve a link the reactionary coot.

Last but not least, Greer is voted FHM Woman of the Year!

Update:: I've ranted more about the Bone episode here.

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Blogger Ann O'Dyne said...

Great post. Thanks HPAOR.
Oh congratulations on your Audience With The Abbess.

I was past 20 when TFE was published and it was like being struck by lightning.
If you haven't, then you must read her book 'Daddy we hardly knew you' about her father - it is a page-turner.
I was amused by the media ripping her apart for an essay on Steve Irwin, the very same way they ripped him apart for 'Baby Bob Meets A Croc'.

5:42 pm  
Blogger Ann O'Dyne said...

Laura at Sorrow At Sills Bend has the inside view of the night ...

12:40 am  
Blogger Kim said...


2:40 am  

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