When you think about all the love gestures, poured as words, in every romantic novel ever written, there is everything else and then there is this letter written by Captain Frederick Wentworth to Anne Elliot. The letter from Jane Austen’s book Persuasion, that, when I first time read, did unspeakable things to my gut till my soul. I could actually and deeply feel the beautiful words as I could feel rain. I knew in that moment that it will be Jane Austen’s contribution to English literature that will be my example for “par excellence”.
Speaking of the times in the 18th century, when female writers were not allowed to publish books in their own names, I felt Jane Austen wrote about female characters who were ahead of their times. Just thinking about it makes my gut churn out of annoyance, but it is a fact that during the century, female writers had to have a male representative for publishing their books, hence all her books published while she was alive, were anonymous. And yet, Jane’s female protagonists were courageous to speak their minds and stand for themselves. Remember when Elizabeth Bennett fearlessly refused the ridiculous marriage proposal she was offered in Pride and Prejudice. And conversation between Anne and a male friend (in Persuasion). As he tells her that how all books, songs and proverbs talk on woman’s fickleness and inconstancy, to which she very calmly replies “weren’t these all written by men”. Her exact words being “Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything.” She ends the conversation saying, “all the privilege I claim for my own sex, is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone!” Just wow!!!!
I will fall short of words if I start describing the astounding male characters of Jane’s books. I have read, re-read her books, watched and re-watched her movie adaptations and I fall for them, their words, their actions, every single time. Be it Fitzwilliam Darcy (Mr. Darcy) from Pride and Prejudice, Frederick Wentworth from Persuasion or George Knightley in Emma, Jane Austen’s words had given the characters such romantic contours and sparkling charms that I cannot help but fall for these characters who are fictional. Jane’s precise timing of the principal (male) characters’ specific words, gestures and actions makes me wonder “can he be any better”. Romance, so beautifully crafted, it gives me goosebumps and butterflies in stomach. The passion between the protagonists, the tension, the confusions, the hidden and unacknowledged romantic connections and the strong yet uncertain emotions, all these overwhelm me. The curves of “will they end up together” or “won’t they end up together” inching towards the climax, feels like an exciting, emotional roller coaster ride to me. And she captures the helplessness of someone fallen in love, so beautifully, you simply fall for the characters.
Jane Austen also has one most sought out endings, common in most of her books, “happy endings”. She proves that a book to be called as classic, doesn’t necessarily means should have a tragic end.
Jane Austen is one of my reasons I prefer female writers (English) over males. Sadly, she died at a very young age of 41. Most of her work was acclaimed after her transition. Two of her books were published posthumously. Some of her books still remain unfinished. Unfortunately, most of her fame came after her. Today, we have numerous adaptations (movies, plays, books) on Jane Austen’s work and I sincerely follow all of those. But somehow I feel that just 6 novels from her were just not enough for us.
Ending on one of the most loved love confessions of all times. Because if you mention Jane Austen, you have to acknowledge Pride and Prejudice. These words soaked in love, from Mr. Darcy to Lizzie, are my all-time favorite. “My affections and wishes have not changed, but one word from you will silence me forever. If, however, your feelings have changed, I will have to tell you, you have bewitched me, body and soul and I love...I love... I love you. I never wish to be parted from you from this day on”.
See, how can you not fall for a character who says these words and the author who wrote these characters J
A Jane Austen Admirer