Monday, September 15, 2008

No Sense of Sensibility

I love Jane!

Just to let everyone know, I do love Jane. This is no shock to my husband, nor to any of my close friends. I have been out of the closet on this one for a long time. If I could go and live near Jane Austen, I would, in a heart beat. I love her so much I do not understand why or how anyone could not.

Of course, her books are really written for women and really "take the piss" out of men and why they are attracted to women. (I am not sure I have ever met a straight guy who likes to read Jane Austen.) Her humor, however, does not just tease men, but, truly she makes you cringe and laugh at everyone.

She was born 201 years before I was, in England. She was the seventh of eight children. The second of two daughters. Her father was a rector. Like her heroine Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey, no one would suppose this person was born to be a heroine. And yet she is!

I am always inspired by her courage and her modesty. She lived in a time when women were not allowed to own their own fortune. When women really had to hope for a good marriage to a man wealthy and honest enough to support them. There really were no second chances in this world. Yet she managed to live her life without marrying. She managed to write novels, and sell them and earn an income for herself and her sister. Almost unheard of in that time.

And, oh, what novels she wrote. True, they are romance stories, but woven throughout them is incredible wit, knowledge of human character, and irony. All done in a poetic style of writing and with a happy ending. What more could we want?

It constantly amazes me how much her world and ours are still alike. How I can still relate to her characters? How she can still make me laugh, although I've read all the books many times? But also how different our worlds are. Presently I am reading Sense and Sensibility. Our sense of sensibility is much different that it was then. Women are not ruined by "running off with a lover." However, people do still marry for all the wrong reasons, like Willoughby, the fallen hero in this book. People still love silently even though they feel there is no hope of being loved back, like Colonel Brandon. People are still as spiteful as Lucy Steele.

2oo years later, regardless of what is going on around us in the world, people still pursue each other in the quest for love! That is maybe what amazes me most.

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