Who said:

i’m a recent fan of JaneAusten (i know, the horrors!!!), but at least i’m a fan, right???? i enjoy how as classic as her stories are, they are just as timeless…………i’m just fascinated how Jane inspired other writers to continue or put their own spins on her thoughts……”


Cyn, send me your snail-mail address via the contact form and I will send out a copy of Miss Bennet at once.

Thanks everyone who entered. I loved reading your responses about Jane Austen and I was vigorously nodding my head yes yes yes! to everyone.

Every time I read her books I get something new.

She is timeless — I recognize her characters from school and life, and I suspect that says something about women in Western culture that is not all good but is, for lack of a better word, consistent. We have more options now, more scope for our lives, so maybe we shouldn’t be so caught up in relationships. And it is significant to know that prior to the era in which Austen was writing, Mary Wollstonecraft had written A Vindication of the Rights of Women, so even back then there was awareness that human rights for women were sorely lacking and their lives so cramped and bounded that even their souls wore corsets.

(Patrice, where are you going with this?)

Right. So, when a grown woman in Jane Austen’s time acts like a mean seventh grader, as Anne Eliot’s older sister in Persuasion, I recognize it for what it is and think, I do believe that we have outgrown that. That is, the mean seventh grader attitude is now confined to seventh grade mostly, and most adult women have outgrown it.

(I’m blogging this in the early morning. Hence the general incoherence.)

I also like the fact that the romances in Austen’s novels take back seat to societal observations. Austen is best when she is drawing characters. Her plots are small but she gets relationships of all kinds — maternal, parental, sibling, daughters and sons. When people behave well, they are rewarded; badly, and love is withdrawn (Willoughby in S&S). But no one is martyred. No one suffers the way they are forced to in a Victorian novel or a Gothic one. It is as if she says, emotions (sensibility) can take you so far, but sense is what carries the day.

Thanks for joining in, everyone!




Chris · February 16, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Congrats to Cyn!

I will chime in on one point in your post, too, Patrice, viz. your rejoicing that “no one suffers” as in Victorian and Gothic novels. That is definitely an enjoyable element in Austen and does make a welcome and laudable contrast, the appreciation of which I quite sympathize with.

On the other hand, I must admit that the suffering actually polarizes my enjoyment even more in the classics that do it so well. Watching the suffering and losses endured in, as examples, Great Expectations, Dracula, and Frankenstein engender quite a poignant dearness in the characters and their usually battered triumphs.

I do love Austen, but must admit that my sweet spot is those Victorian/Gothic tales of trial-fueled character ascension.

Patrice Sarath · February 16, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Oh yes! I mean, the Brontes were exquisite in their ability to bring pain and suffering to their characters. The Victorians knew all about emotional hurricanes. There’s nothing like a good emotional wallow, which is why I feel a re-read of Jane Eyre coming on.

Austen is rather more brisk and no-nonsense about things.

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