Sunday, February 15, 2009

Maureen Dowd Should Brush Up On Her Jane Austen. It's Mr. Knightley, Not Mr. Knightly.

Maureen Dowd's Sunday column chastises President Obama for what she considers his mocking treatment of Vice President Biden in public -- an interesting take on the relationship between the cool commander in chief and his loquacious sidekick.

But Dowd concludes with a pretentious quote from Jane Austen's "Emma" to seal her argument -- and gets it wrong.

Just as she's lecturing the president to brush up on his Austen, Dowd manages to misspell the name of one of the novelist's most famous characters:

Still, the president should brush up on his Jane Austen. When Emma Woodhouse belittles Miss Bates, an older and poorer friend, at a picnic, Mr. Knightly pulls her aside to remonstrate. “How could you be so insolent in your wit?” he chides, reminding her that it is unfeeling to humble someone less fortunate in front of others who will be guided by the way she behaves.

That’s how it works ... not surprisingly.

As any Austen reader knows, the character's name is Mr. Knightley, not Mr. Knightly.

In the next paragraph of the novel, Emma continues to insist of Miss Bates: "What is good and what is ridiculous are most unfortunately blended in her."

Which is not a bad description of Maureen Dowd.


Mo MoDo said...

At least she got the quote right.

Susan Berkson said...

I pick the occasional NYT myself, so I say thank you. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

It's the American spelling


The NYTPicker owns two American editions of "Emma," both with the "Knightley" spelling. Austen did use English spellings in her writing (such as "chuse" for choose) but spellings of names weren't changed for American audiences.

Anonymous said...

O.K. then is is the fault of the Spinster of Snark.