A recent article on The Independent has arrived at the (apparently astonishing) conclusion that Jane Austen's life wasn't all sunshine and roses. I'm always quick to roll my eyes at this kind of thinkpiece, and my eye-rolling muscles got an extra workout today, thanks to lines like "There is something quietly horrifying, if you think about it, in the subplot of Pride and Prejudice, where the sharp, likeable Charlotte Lucas chooses marriage to the simpering buffoon Mr Collins as preferable to life as a dependent 'old maid'." Yeah... that's not really much of a mental stretch. Austen's work is full of women enduring low-key misery: poverty, illness, bad marriages, etc. It's actually what gives her books their emotional stakes—modern readers might think of a book like Pride and Prejudice as a fluffy romantic comedy, but in the context in which it was written, it was also the story of a young woman who was about to ruin her entire future due solely to wounded vanity and her own crappy judgment.
Posted by: Julianka


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