March 22, 2010
....if it were like a Jane Austen novel. Yes, I've thrown those Holocaust books to the side for now, and I am resurrecting my New Year's resolution of reading all the Jane Austen novels. (I'm happy to say that I now have the time and freedom really to do all on my resolution list.) In doing so, I am also heeding the advice of friends to do the things I love in order to heal from my non-wedding, as I now call it. I've now one left to go - and it is a re-read of Sense and Sensibility. Then, I'll have the letters and a biography or two or three...
Anyway, I decided just how much I love Austen. I thought I'd share some of her ridiculously fun humor with you all. Here is a quote I could much relate to from her Northanger Abbey:
"Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love." (Northanger Abbey, Vol. I, Chapter IV)
I could not agree more, Miss Austen. The joy of this quote is that when it is uttered in the novel, neither love nor true friendship actually exists. Deliciously delightful.
Another favorite from the same book:
"Where people wish to attach, they should always be ignorant. To come with a well-informed mind, is to come with an inability of administering to the vanity of others, which a sensible person would always wish to avoid. A woman especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing any thing, should conceal it as well she can."
(Northanger Abbey, Vol. I, Chapter XIV)
I just had to laugh out loud. How true indeed. Maybe this is the best way to secure a husband, but Austen's characters don't generally follow it. I love it!
And perhaps my favorite one is a description of Mr. Knightley's feelings in Emma, upon hearing the shocking news that Mr. Frank Churchill is marry Miss Jane Fairfax:
"He had ridden home through the rain; and had walked up directly after dinner, to see how this sweetest and best of all creatures, faultless in spite of all her faults, bore the discovery." (Emma, Vol. III, Chapter XIII)
How wonderful is Knightley. What lady would not sigh upon reading these words, wondering where her own Knightley is to be found. From experience, I can say that no one should ever settle for a Mr. Churchill when Mr. Knightley exists.
Oh, if only life were like a Jane Austen novel. Then we'd all marry the right person and live out our lives in wedded bliss. But at least we can laugh with her, as she herself says in a letter to J.S. Clarke:
"I could not sit seriously down to write a serious romance under any other motive than to save my life; and if it were indispensable for me to keep it up and never relax into laughing at myself or at other people, I am sure I would be hung before I had finished the first chapter."
That, Miss Austen, you do quite well. And we thank you for it, because laughing is delicious.