Most of us have a streak of “romantic” running through our veins and love a story that speaks to our human nature. Even guys who pretend to despise chick flicks will be the first to cry when they are forced to watch them. Jane Austen books and movies are some of the most beloved romance stories in the world, and some of the most popular movies. My husband has been coerced to watch plenty of Jane Austen’s material by my daughter and I.
Recent (scandalous) news suggests that Jane wrote very raw notes out – grammatically incorrect – and showed no hint of her “perfect styling abilities” in her rough drafts. It has been suggested that this literary marvel might have relied heavily on her editor, Mr. William Gifford, to “clean up her work”. I know it won’t change the fact that we love our Jane Austen stories, but we might never know if this suspicion is true.
Do you write? How often do your notes reflect your finished product? I know mine don’t. I often jot down incomplete thoughts and sentences on a notepad in my shower, on my iPhone notes feature, or on little slips of paper that end up escaping me when I want to find them. Just because you have a Texan accent and use modern slang doesn’t mean you can’t write something grammatically correct or compose a lovely poem every now and then. Part of me wants to growl at this new evidence as the wishful thinking of some heartless chauvinist.
On another note, how often do you ponder, as a writer, why it is so difficult to come up with something to write about. Writer’s block plagues us all. Do you wish you just had a topic or an interesting story sometimes, so that you could whittle it in to a masterpiece? After discovering I loved writing as a teen, I struggled because I could take a moment and weave it in to detail with words so that the reader was whisked away and experienced it first hand; yet that talent never made it’s way to any lengthy written works, because I was unable to flesh a plot out. I waisted quite a bit of time back in those days chasing other unproductive hobbies as well. But I digress…
I wonder if Mr. Gifford and Miss Austen had a relationship that gave both of them the ability to showcase their unique talents – and marry them together? Her ideas with his grammatical genius? Her passion with his precision? A romance of language and ideas where her physical life sadly lacked it. That would be a love story in itself.
Jane Austen’s personal story is a sad one. To have written all those love stories and then never to have found your own “Mr. Darcy” or “Captain Wentworth” is a travesty. Miss Austen only was able to write 6 novels because her life was a short one.
A list of her works is in written order:
Pride and Prejudice
Sense and Sensibility
Have you watched any of “The Complete Jane Austen” on PBS? Have you seen Pride and Prejudice? How many of her books have you read with your homeschool kids?
I would highly recommend her novels. They have beautiful form and deep emotion. She wrote timelessly – and the real life lessons she conveyed are still applicable today. Even if her editor should have gotten credit for helping her with punctuation and rearranging her words, her stories are still classics that beg to be read.
Here are some Jane Austen quotes to chew on:
“Provided that nothing like useful knowledge could be gained from them, provided they were all story and no reflection, she had never any objection to books at all.” – Northanger Abbey
“There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to expect too much; but then, if one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better: we find comfort somewhere.“ – Mansfield Park
“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” – Pride and Prejudice
“If you observe, people always live for ever when there is an annuity to be paid them.” – Sense and Sensibility
“There are people, who the more you do for them, the less they will do for themselves.” – Emma
“One man’s ways may be as good as another’s, but we all like our own best.”“ – Persuasion
Whether her works were the sole creation of her own mind and pen, or whether they were a shared mosaic, I think we can all agree that they are entirely worthy!
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