Fall in love with Austen's books—February 1, 2008
February is the month of love! Hearts are everywhere! And what could be better than settling down with a book by that love goddess herself, Jane Austen?
Though the social mores of the early 1800’s -- the distinction of the classes, the plight of women in society, whose role was to find a husband and bear many children -- are reflected perfectly in Austen’s novels, the purest perfection was her heroines’ grit and how they broke out of the mold, were women who thought for themselves and didn’t marry for the sake of being married, but married for LOVE.
In “Northanger Abbey,” Catherine Morland reads the novels of the day and fantasizes about Regency hunks. She is quickly brought back to reality by the harshness of General Tilney who mistakenly thinks she is rich and therefore an eligible match for his son, Henry.
Austen’s “Emma” is so caught up in match-making couples she perceives are socially acceptable that she doesn’t give a thought to her own love life. Mr. Knightley soon fixes that.
In “Sense and Sensibility” Marianne’s romantic mind is confronted by facts and her love for Willoughby surrenders to another kind of attraction. Unselfish Elinor, on the other hand, brings a quiet self-control to her own heartbreak.
“Persuasion” reaffirms Austen’s belief that true love is the only acceptable basis for marriage. Even though Anne Eliot broke her engagement to Frederick Wentworth eight years ago because he was not rich; he has now reappeared and she struggles with her feelings for him.
The wit and humor of Austen is reflected in “Mansfield Park” where Fanny Price, a shy little girl develops into the woman who marries her cousin Edmund Bertram.
And of course, there is the incomparable “Pride and Prejudice,” often thought to be Austen’s best novel. The first line sums up her philosophy -- “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
Austen’s novels are available in regular print, large print, books on tape and on video and DVD. Check out a little romance!