Friday, 18 April 2014

Jane Austen is my Biffle

If you've followed me for a while, then you know that I'm a Jane Austen fangirl. There's no other way to put it. I adore her (not necessarily all her works, though). I've read a few questionable biographies and pieces of fiction about her. I annoy my friends into reading her. I squeal when I see customers buy her books. Some of her novel have made it onto my all-time favourites list of books. She is an A+ super writer. There is nothing wrong with her in my eyes (I know that's not necessarily a healthy approach to take, nor is it a good idea because she no doubt had many faults but that's a blog post for another time).

Recently (as in today recently as in last month recently), I finished re-reading Pride and Prejudice for the third time round. I don't think I've ever gotten into the storyline and the characters as much as I did this time. I laughed at Lizzy's (and her dad's) wit, squealed at the totes adorbs moments between her and Darcy, and generally had to physically restrain myself from scaring the other people on my floor. You know it's a good book when you want to yell to the world about how great it is.

So, today we're talking about Jane Austen. Yep.

One thing I've said again and again about Jane Austen is that she is an author you have to re-read. Not because she's necessarily the best. She doesn't need to be. It's more because the way she writes necessitates that you re-read her work.

I've always maintained (especially with Pride & Prejudice) that the first time I read it, it was a delightful haze, but it was a haze nonetheless. Then, when I re-read it, everything was a little clearer, but the haze was still there. It took three times of re-reading before I got the full impact of the story.

So, yea. She's a great writer, but her writing can be a little confusing if you don't focus. Or if you aren't in the mood. Or if it's just generally the first time you've read her. Basically, what I'm trying to say, is that if you want to get the full-throttle of Austen's genius, you really need to re-read her stuff.

My absolute favourite of her novels is Persuasion. It's one of her lesser known works, but I think it's one of the best. It's got quite a different tone to it (not a lot, mind you, but still), and a lot of the things you come to expect in an Austen novel, aren't there. It's certainly not her most perfect work (she was very ill when she wrote it) but I think that the mistakes work for it. And because it's not up to as high a standard as the rest of her works, I always recommend people to read this one first. This one, or Northanger Abbey.

The restraint she often shows in her earlier novels, is loosened a little in these two. Albeit, it might've been because she was ill. The lack of restraint makes for a better read though, in some ways.

And the heroines! Are fantastic! Love them. For being so limited in what was open to them, the women in Austen's novels are amazing. They've got such depth and strength in character. People always say Lizzie Bennet is their hero, and if you read Pride & Prejudice (or any Austen novel), you'll understand why.

The men love interests are pretty cool too. I mean. Yea. They are.

Some of you might see her work as fitting into a bit of the chick-lit genre. I will say, that yes, technically it is. But there's so much more to her works. Her use of irony, social commentary, her wit. And, as my lecturer said, Shakespeare's comedies often have the same basic plot line. So, there. If you can like Shakespeare, you can like Jane Austen. They're on exactly the same line. Shakespeare's comedies are just as much chick-lit as Jane Austen. Bloody double standards.

I'm not going to start on that though, because that's a post for another time. Basically: Read Jane Austen. Nao. Or re-read Jane Austen. You'll get a lot more out of it. Pinky promise.


I originally thought up this post a month ago. I can't remember what my thought patterns were. I think it was supposed to be a rambly-I-adore-Jane-Austen-and-you-should-too post. But I don't know. Because I don't remember.

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