It is a truth universally acknowledged, that you don’t need to be Meg Ryan as Kathleen Kelly to recommend ‘Pride and Prejudice’ to a Joe Fox.
Widely considered to be a romantic writer her works are immemorial to the style of writing romantic genre even today, and yet the love stories are only incidental objectives in her plot! Sure, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet have that enviable romance that we all secretly burn, pine and perish for but her stories are about women and what they have to endure. A constant battle of self-worth and responsibilities with the ever-present backdrop of the society. Tales flowered by the character flaws.
It is believed that Jane Austen’s own views on marriage were practical and conventionally responsible despite the belief she wasn’t the, ‘I-shall-do-as-I-please’ persona, not only did she write anonymously throughout her life on accounts of her profession being considered lewd and a male-centred domain, she also doted her family and was willing to endure difficult choices for their sake.
However, the very same Austen had the notorious ‘one-day engagement’ and broke all shackles of Gregorian era by choosing to remain an unmarried woman and never giving up writing even though it didn’t bear rewards to her financially, or even in proportion to her efforts.
Which brings me to our conclusion that right to this very second, we’re all Austen. Our passions are mixed with our practicalities and we shouldn’t interpret it as an escape or even a confinement but a journey of self-actualization that will bring a reform to our collective future. Even the most breath-taking moorlands are an awkward concoction of both and reality only works best with a sprinkle of dreams.
Neither George Eliot nor Jane Austen, we’re all George Austen (apologizes for the very bad joke, I thought it was extremely clever as I penned it down).
To conclude, I present to you Virginia Wolf writing about Austen, “Here was a woman about the year 1800 writing without hate, without bitterness, without fear, without protest, without preaching. That was how Shakespeare wrote, and when people compare Shakespeare and Jane Austen, they may mean that the minds of both had consumed all impediments; and for that reason, we do not know Jane Austen, and we do not know Shakespeare, and for that reason, Jane Austen pervades every word she wrote, and so does Shakespeare.”