Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Jane Austen knows.

"The advantages of natural folly in a beautiful girl have been already set forth by the capital pen of a sister author; --and to her treatment of the subject I will only add in justice to men, that though to the larger and more trifling part of the sex, imbecility in females is a great enhancement of their personal charms, there is a portion of them too reasonable and too well-informed themselves to desire any thing more in woman than ignorance."

-Jane Austen, in Northanger Abbey

May I point out that the above is ONE sentence? I love this lady's writing. Jane Austen has to be one of the most brilliant authors the English language has ever known, next to Shakespeare. I love everything about these books: the sweet and intelligent heroines, the rich and handsome heroes, the gorgeous and meandering language, the wisdom wrapped in humor, and, especially, the subtle yet scathing insults which are oh-so-elegantly phrased as to appear a compliment no polite person would dare take offense to.

The flow of the language is musical in my head, and it's pure pleasure to read for that alone, even if the story were not engaging, which it is. The courtesy and manners of every character- even the villans- just makes me happy to imagine. In contrast, coming out from a Jane Austen novel to an email filled with "l8tr" "wut" and "lolz" makes my head hurt.

Perhaps what I love best, though, is the commentary she as an author shows in the narrations and through her characters. Such feminine perspective and insights attest to the fact that women have been making the same observations, suffering the same fools and putting up with the same masculine irritations for hundreds of years.

Viva la Austenians!

1 comment:

Celera said...

Hey! That long sentence will probably move you up to Junior High at least! :)

I love Jane Austen too, although not for all of the same reasons -- you are much more of a romantic than I am. She was a wonderful writer, though, and her perceptiveness about the silliness that men and women fall prey to makes her work timeless. And it is nice to think about living in a time and place where communication was supposed to be done with subtlety and wit, instead of vulgarity and LOLZ.