Fear. Uncertainty. Stress. Sometimes it feels like we’re in one of those movies when the monster has finally been defeated–and then gets up and starts attacking again. It’s enough to make you want to dive under the duvet.
While the following list won’t make you queen of the world, it will help you be queen of YOUR world.
1. Turn off the newsfeeds. It’s an abyss and no good can come from it.
2. Give your social media a time out. Do you really want to read someone else’s rant? Isn’t your own bad enough? Hint: If you can’t stay away, just do a quick drop-in to post a picture of a puppy, kitten, or baby condor.
You always knew Jane Austen was a feminist, right? What better way to soothe the disappointment of cancelled 4th of July events than to enjoy some intellectual fireworks?
Register for this live online lecture, JANE AUSTEN’S MESSAGE FOR YOUNG WOMEN TODAY, where “Dr Georgina Newton examines how the hopes and concerns of today’s young women compare with those of Jane Austen’s era and how the author of Pride and Prejudice has much to say to modern readers.“
It’s hosted by the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute (BRLSI), a non profit organization “set up 200 years ago as a centre for Enlightenment ideas and intellectual discussion in Bath, England (where Jane Austen lived!).
“Jane Austen’s novels typically conjure images of love, romance and femininity. But her acute observations on how society treated women in relation to equality, financial independence and opportunity reveal a mind strikingly in step with feminist thinking in the 21st Century.
Are you a bookworm, bibliophile, avid reader, nose-in-a-book sort of person? Then you’ll love Lit Hub, “the best of the literary internet,” a somewhat recent discovery of mine. You’ll find bits of wisdom from great authors, writing encouragement and inspiration from great minds, things you must know about your favorite authors, insights about the publishing biz, and much more.
So much more that, like me, you’ll want to sign up for Lit Hub‘s weekly or daily digest and dig in. Enjoy, fellow lit lovers!
On Twitter, someone asked for book recommendations for Austen fans, and what came to mind was not a continuation, a sequel, or an inspired-by. It was JULIET, NAKED by Nick Hornby.
Nick Hornby is my idea of a contemporary Jane Austen. So is Zadie Smith, particularly her novel ON BEAUTY. Both authors make profound observations of human nature, give us romance without sentimentality, have a divine sense of humor, and are simply master storytellers. In my writing workshops I inevitably read passages from both Hornby and Smith.
For me, Hornby’s JULIET, NAKED brought to mind some of the online discussions that occur amongst Austen’s most devoted readers. A central premise of the book is that no matter how much the admirers of an artist’s work examine that work, study it, parse it for meaning, and become “experts,” they can never acquire irrefutable proof that the creator felt a certain way or had a particular type of experience at the time she created it. Bottom line is that it’s nothing more than speculation. And speculation is often wrong. (more…)
If Mary Brunton’s name rings any bells, you are most likely thinking of this quote from Jane Austen:
I am looking over Self Control again, & my opinion is confirmed of its’ being an excellently-meant, elegantly-written Work, without anything of Nature or Probability in it. I declare I do not know whether Laura’s passage down the American River, is not the most natural, possible, every-day thing she ever does.
The alleged lack of ‘Nature or Probability’ has since cast a long shadow on Brunton’s work:
in fact, it seems to have become the accepted critical opinion, so much so that Brunton tends to be accused of faults she did not even have. Before I read Self-Control (1811) and Discipline(1814), I therefore assumed the novels were over-the-top in a wildly sentimental, Gothic fashion. (Several academic texts and reference works I’ve since looked at operate under the same illusion, which is making me wonder whether most academics actually read the books they write about.) I really should have paid more attention to the titles – whoever would give a sentimental potboiler such a forbidding title as Self-Control? (more…)
Can self-importance, meddling, and delusion be considered superpowers?
Hardly. And yet, the self-congratulating and clueless titular heroine of Jane Austen’s Emma rises above being the character that Austen thought that no one but herself would like. In the course of the story, Emma has a series of aha! moments about herself. More important, she acts on that self-awareness.
via GIPHYAlicia Silverstone in Clueless, a brilliant adaptation of Emma.
In a Jane Austen novel, a lady can only earn her cape by acknowledging that are are huge cracks in what she once thought was the truth.
Once she tears down that wall of delusion and replaces it with wisdom, the heroine-in-training develops more self-awareness, more self-empowerment, and more capability to create happiness than she ever had before. That is what Emma does. For that is what Austen superpowers are all about. (more…)
Lizzy Bennet may be the one with all the flash and sparkle, but one should never underestimate one of Austen’s more reserved heroines, Anne Elliot of Persuasion.
Ciaran Hinds as Captain Wentworth and Amanda Root as Anne Elliot in “Persuasion,” directed by Roger Michell
At first glance, Anne may not seem to fit the typical ideal of a cape-wearing, save-the-day superhero, but let’s take a closer look at Miss Anne:
Austen Superpower 1: Grace under Fire.
Who had the presence of mind that no one else had when Louisa Musgrove fell from the Cobb at Lyme?
That’s right; Anne Elliot did. Everyone else was wailing and flailing while she was the voice of calm and reason in the midst of the emergency. She was the one who gave Captain Wentworth calm and rational directions as to how to help Louisa. (more…)