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All Things Austen: Why Jane? — 31 Comments

  1. I agree with you Melanie. The first time I read JA I was already 43 years old and I couldn’t believe why I’ve never done it before. I was lost in love with her!!Barbara

  2. I first read Pride and Prejudice when I was 13 and
    it was a wonderful romance. At each decade of
    my life, I found something different to admire – wit,
    social commentary, elegant language…

  3. As you say, there are many reasons – and why not? Her novels speak to you differently each time you come to them. If you are troubled, her stories reassure you that there can be happy endings, no matter what. They remind you that even if there are horrible people in the world, there are always going to be others you can count on, others who share your values. If you are happy, the books heighten your happiness and bring you joy. When you are young, they teach you about life, and as you mature, they reaffirm life’s universals. Each time you visit her books, you see more humour, more wisdom, more appreciation of her command of language, more similarities between people you know and Austen’s characters. You see the subtleties and read between the lines references to social issues. You see things happen in the novels that have happened to you or to people you know, and suddenly you have to reevaluate your own conduct in light of an Austen’s character’s perspective. The books are an invitation into another time, but they are also timeless, as are their characters and – with adjustments for changes in social practices and lifestyles – plots. I could go on and on…

  4. Beatrice, you put everything so well in your post, I find it hard to add anything. I love reading Austen for all those reasons. I love being transported to those times and places, while enjoying the comforts of modern living. 🙂 The themes are timeless, and the stories never get old. They put a smile on my face.

    • I agree- I wistfully wish I could visit that time, and yet I probably wouldn’t like it so much, not really, not when I’m used to my modern amenities. But it’s nice to be transported, even for a little while.

  5. Wow, Beatrice, that was an amazing summary! Not much more that I can add really.

    Personally, I first read P&P when I was 11 or 12 and enjoy it, and her other works even more now that I am of somewhat more mature years.

  6. Great job in summarizing why we all fell in love with Jane. When I was around 9 years old I watched Pride & Prejudice for the first time (the Olivier/Garson movie). I fell in love with the characters and a few years later I read the book for the first time. It’s been my favorite book ever since.

  7. Beatrice hit it right on! I agree that each time you read JA’s books you see something different. He characters are timeless and so well sketched, they are comfort people to us. As a young reader at 17, I saw some of Elizabeth in myself and wanted to be like her. As I grew older Anne Elliot was more appealing due to the length of her love for Wentworth.
    JA”s stories make us laugh when we need it and realize that our problems are rather universal. We all have ridiculous relatives, hopes for the future, dear friends, money issues which require a practical approach to life, have seen a dear friend hurt by love, and on and on…
    I also love Jane because my two oldest daughters also see her as a comfort read ( my musician daughter not so much but then again Jane wrote prose not music notes) and I love sharing that connection with them!

  8. Unlike most readers, the first Jane Austen I read was Sense and Sensibility. I was not impressed but I understood it. Jane Austen writes classics that are emotionally accessible to us. It helps that they are shorter than most “classics.” All of them were available to me and I looked them over and choose deliberately to read “Persuation” when I was 15. I deliberately ignored P&P because there was so much hype about and that turns me off. So I chose the one no one was talking about and fell in love. That was the one I kept returning to for years, as i struggled through Emma and Mansfield Park and found out why P&P is so beloved.Mansfield Park is now my favorite and I think it is the most complex of all she wrote. Emma is a close second, very close, of my favorites.

    • Interesting. I read S&S second and loved it, but I was already inclined to love it thanks to the wonderful Emma Thompson/Kate Winslet movie. Mansfield Park is my least favourite, but honestly I think that’s because out of all of Jane’s heroines, I’m the most like Fanny Price.

  9. I found Jane when the 1995 P&P came out and fell in love immediately. I watch it faithfully at least once a year and have all the VHS/DVD’s on each version except the first one. That one I had rented. I then read all of them but P&P, Persuasion, S&S and Northanger Abbey are my favourites. But your question as to why Jane are all the things you and Beatrice and others have said. The characters and their foibles are still relevant and prevalent today!

  10. I got P&P as a Sunday School prize many many years ago and loved it. I have read it many many times over the years and loved the 1995 mini series and the 2005 film.I have both on DVD and I’m sure they must be worn out by now. I also watch them whenever they are on TV. I started reading the variations in 2014 and have many of those. Jane wrote her stories in such a way that her characters fit so well in all stories and time zones. I have all her other books as well which I have also enjoyed but P&P will always be my favourite.

  11. she just touched my heart with her stories, her words, and it all came together at a time in my life when I needed it. and, well, the adaptations are just the icing on the cake.

  12. Whenever I read her books I like the time period it’s in before the railroads factories etc began to appear. I also like how when I’m reading her characters reminds me of people I know personally .

  13. I love Jane Austen because of her exquisite writing. Her humor and wit makes me laugh out loud! Each time I read her books. I see something new not only on language but especially after learning more about the Regency period, I understand her references more.

  14. Have loved her works for a long time. With each reading I find new things to enjoy, her characters are timeless. Her humour is still relevant.

  15. I love Jane Austen because she has wonderful lessons on how to behave towards others and what correct thoughts are if you want to be an true gentleperson. She also celebrates the foibles we all have. What’s not to love?!

  16. Like, many I was young when I started reading Jane’s novels. In the beginning it was the romance and love stories that drew me in, but as I read, it is her wit that inspires me. I read her works and they inspire me to improve and expand my vocabulary, because let’s face it who doesn’t love to talk circles around someone in an intelligent and sophisticated manner.

  17. I read P&P in high school and fell in love–but to me, even at that time, it didn’t strike me as a “love” story inasmuch as a story of the time–a story of women’s choices told with wit and flair. I loved the style of narration and dialogue. I loved how as a reader, you were as blind as Lizzy because of the imperfect narration that mirrored what Lizzy could see and know. I wanted to be the sharp-tongued, witty writer that Jane was. To this day, I use some of her speech-like writing characteristics in my own work, which, as an academic, isn’t always to my benefit! haha!

    I then read the entire Austen canon, before I watched any movie. In fact, I only watched the 1996 P&P in 2003, years after i had finished my reading.

    Some lift her up in different ways, of course, but to me, Jane was no romantic. She was a highly intelligent (both book and street-smart) woman who was so far before her time that it makes you wonder what “her time” actually means!

  18. Like Barbara, I was not introduced to Jane Austen until in my midforties, and then it was by my DH. He has just read P&P and said it was right up my alley and he was so right. Heroes who were honest and flawed but were gentlemen (well mostly) women who wereflawed but still loved revered by their heroes. The best love stories all of which end in an HEA.

  19. I didn’t read Jane Austen books until I was an adult. I find it exciting to be transported back to a different time while reading her books. Someday I hope my daughter will find as much enjoyment reading Austen books, too.

  20. I find the characters compelling and “real.” And as I love everything old-fashioned and “antique” (my husband always says that the older something is, the more I will love it!), I am entranced by the details of living in the Regency time period. And the wit and wisdom of Austen really resonates with me, too. 🙂

    Thank you for this lovely post!

    Warmly,
    Susanne 🙂

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