Friday, October 28, 2011

Why Jane Austen?

This may come as a surprise to some, but I am finally going to admit it: I worship Jane Austen.

This is not the trendiest thing to say in today’s world, but there it is. Jane Austen is my hero—I would invite Jane to stay at my house and I wouldn’t complain even if she watched reality TV all day, snored loudly, and forgot to take out the trash. I would love her even if she were the co-worker that ate my food out of the office fridge without asking and talked too long at meetings. I would continue to extol her virtues even if she were the only cashier with a long line of customers who continuously called for time-consuming price checks and gave back incorrect change. That is how much I adore Jane Austen.

Why am I now coming out of the Jane Austen closet? Why would I admit such a societal faux pas as to revere Ms Austen’s every word? It is time, people! It is time to give credit where credit is due—Jane Austen has the answers for each and every one of us.

The answers to what exactly, you may ask? Well, in a nutshell, to life! Here is a simple example—open up a Jane Austen book to any page and her advice for a good life will pop out at you.
1. Who else would extol us to be “extremely merry all day long” just because there will be a dance in the evening? (Sense and Sensibility, p. 67*)
2. Or to take on long walks because “distance is nothing when one has a motive”? (Pride and Prejudice, p. 32)
3. Or require the best treatment because you “never put up with any other”? (Emma, p. 474)

Such words of wisdom! I tell you, Jane Austen knows all and that is why I love her. You can even quote me on that.

*pages quoted are from the Oxford University Press edition