This Tuesday, July 18, marks the 200th anniversary of the death of English novelist Jane Austen. Thankfully, her witty and delightful novels have made Austen immortal.
Through her clever observation of people and society, her novels offer a glimpse at life in late 18th century England and the timelessness of human nature. She keeps it light and frolicsome while always providing eternal hope that when it comes to love, there is a lid for every pot.
Austen’s work reminds us that though social customs have changed greatly, our human nature has not. Through her often ridiculous fictitious characters, she encourages us to recognize and laugh at our own flaws and strive to be the best version of ourselves.
Skipping the heady literary analysis, to me Jane Austen’s novels are simply well-told tales about the ordinary lives of ordinary people. Their popularity may be proof they just don’t write ’em like that anymore.
Adaptations of Austen novels are among my favorite movies. The detailed settings and costumes transport me to another time and place. With the actors’ spot-on facial expressions and delivery, Austen’s words jump off the page and come to life.
As a card-carrying member of the Jane Austen Fan Club, I encourage you to take some time this week to re-visit, or enjoy for the first time, one of Austen’s classics. I think you will be inspired to see your own life as a glorious romance, filled with interesting characters and conflicts, just waiting for you to write your own happy endings.
My brief description of Jane Austen’s novels, along with a favorite quote ~
Sense and Sensibility (1811) – The one where the Dashwood sisters find love ~ prudent Elinor with the awkward and gentle Edward Ferrars and romantic Marianne with the chivalrous Colonel Brandon.
“All I want in a man is someone who rides bravely, dances beautifully, sings with vigor, reads passionately, and whose taste agrees in every point with my own.”
Pride and Prejudice (1813) – The one where strong-willed Elizabeth Bennet, the oldest of five sisters, ends up with the serious and oft misunderstood Mr. Darcy.
“It is very often nothing but our own vanity that deceives us.”
Mansfield Park (1814) – The one where timid and modest Fanny Price finally ends up with the good-hearted Edmund Bertram.
“We have all a better guide within ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person.”
Emma (1815) – The one where playful and pert Emma Woodhouse ends up with her dashing older family friend, Mr. Knightley.
“Perhaps it is our imperfections that make us so perfect for one another.”
Northanger Abbey (posthumously in 1818) – The one where innocent and imaginative Catherine Morland ends up with the refined Henry Tinley.
“Wherever you are you should be contented, but especially at home, because there you must spend the most of your time.”
Persuasion (posthumously in 1818) – The one where Anne Elliot, destined to be a spinster at 27, gets a second-chance at love and ends up with self-made man Captain Wentworth.
“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope…I have loved none but you.”
Think On These Things ~ Alicia
“Run mad as often as you choose, but do not faint!” ~ Jane Austen