books, feminism & equality, reading

Happy 240th Birthday, Jane Austen!

If anyone could’ve lived to be 240 years old, I’d love for it to have been Jane Austen. Imagine the witty, sharp-tongued observations on present day she’d craft for us!

In honor of her birthday and her brilliance, let’s take a moment to recall this defense of novels, which are so often disparaged and read by women in considerable numbers:

“I am no novel-reader — I seldom look into novels — Do not imagine that I often read novels — It is really very well for a novel.” Such is the common cant. “And what are you reading, Miss —?” “Oh! It is only a novel!” replies the young lady, while she lays down her book with affected indifference, or momentary shame. “It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda”; or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language. (From chapter 5 of Northanger Abbey).

And, now I’ve just decided to do a full Jane Austen re-read. Because 😍!