Jane Austen

Happy Birthday, Miss Austen

Here was a woman about the year 1800 writing without hate, without bitterness, without fear, without protest, without preaching.

This quote from A Room of Her Own by Virginia Woolf is my favorite Austen quote and I’m honored to be blogging on Austen’s birthday. I’m one of many Austen enthusiasts who have gathered together today to offer fabulous prizes (including a couple of my books) and if you go to last week’s post you can find details.

Happy browsing, happy commenting, and good luck!

We all know Austen, or we think we do. She’s the first Romance writer–or is she?–yet she portrays few marriages that are happy in the happy ever after (okay, I give you the Crofts in Persuasion, in their eternal seagoing adventure). I can’t help feeling that she was wise to end her books with the wedding, because if anything, she knows when to stop, when enough is enough. She’s a master of understatement, the precisely poised comment, the ironic aside.

Talking of which … it’s her authorial commentary that makes the novels so brilliant and makes any TV or film adaptation second best. Instead you get the visuals which Austen threw around rather sparsely because she didn’t need them. Virginia Woolf again:

She could not throw herself whole-heartedly into a romantic moment. She had all sorts of devices for evading scenes of passion. Nature and its beauties she approached in a sidelong way of her own. She describes a beautiful night without once mentioning the moon. Nevertheless, as we read the few formal phrases about “the brilliancy of an unclouded night and the contrast of the deep shade of the woods”, the night is at once as “solemn, and soothing, and lovely” as she tells us, quite simply, that it was. The Common Reader

What I’ve learned from reading Austen is the supreme importance of author involvement. The author is the puppet master, the Prospero, if you like, of his/her world. It’s the writer who decides how much the reader should know and when they should know it, when the reader has to work something out for herself, and when it should be told to her. Emma, of course, is the finest example of Austen dropping hints, leaving clues, misleading and playing tricks upon the reader. Who gave Jane the piano? What are Mr. Knightley’s intentions towards whom? What is Frank Churchill really up to?

Austen keeps you on your toes, demanding your attention and promising rewards. I’ve read her books again and again over a number of decades, and each time I’ve greeted the familiar like an old friend but I’ve also found something that I’ve missed, or something new that relates to me now. You change, her books change with you.

Happy birthday, Jane. And thanks.

Thoughts on rereading Austen, anyone?

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Margay
11 years ago

That’s what I love about her books, too. You feel like you’re reading about friends.
Margay

Regina Jeffers
11 years ago

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen. Thank you for inspiring all of us with your words.

Jeannene Walker
11 years ago

Love Jane Austin! She has inspired me as writer and lover of romance.

Darlene Marshall
11 years ago

Thanks for sharing the Woolf quotes. I hadn’t seen those before, and they hit exactly the right note. Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!

Linda
11 years ago

I enjoyed reading the Virginia Woolf quote, esp. the observation that Jane Austen could describe a beautiful night w/o mentioning the moon.

Priscila Murlik
11 years ago

You’re correct!we change, her books change with us.

Happy Brithday, dear Jane!

Priscila Murlik

priscila.smurlik@gmail.com

laurie
11 years ago

Just keep re-reading. More will be revealed.

Lia
Lia
11 years ago

I love Jane Austen! Happy Birthday!

MARIA GRAZIA
11 years ago

Thanks a lot, Janet, for joining us today and, especially, for reminding us of this quote by Virginia Woolf. Enjoy the celebration and good luck to all commenters here for the final draw!

ahartsell
11 years ago

What a nice description of her writing style. I especially liked the Virginia Woolf quotes. arianne(dot)hartsell(at)gmail(dot)com

Kathy Soencer Barnabi
Kathy Soencer Barnabi
11 years ago

I love Jane Austen’s world……I so wish I could fall through the shower wall into that period. I have just discovered all the JA blogs recently……have been in heaven reading.
Happy birthday Jane Austen and thank you for your books!!!

Kathy Spencer Barnabi
Kathy Spencer Barnabi
11 years ago

I love Jane Austen’s world……I so wish I could fall through the shower wall into that period. I have just discovered all the JA blogs recently……have been in heaven reading.
Happy birthday Jane Austen and thank you for your books!!!

Grace Elliot
11 years ago

Feels as though we’re all part of a big event – excited about Miss Austen’s birthday – why even google are paying tribute.

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

Happy Birthday Jane!! You’re amazing!
~Sara S.
(irule8922@yahoo.com)

Louisa Cornell
11 years ago

What lovely quotes about Jane Austen’s work! I had not heard those before today.

Every time I reread her novels I discover just how amazing her insight into the human condition truly was. Each time a different little nuance reveals itself.

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen! I can sincerely say Jane Changed My Life!

Anna
11 years ago

Totally agree with you here: You change, her books change with you.

Hannah
Hannah
11 years ago

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen! Thank you for your novels!

penny59
11 years ago

How nice to discover that Virginia Woolf loved Jane Austen, too. I agree that you find new things every time you re-read one of her novels. Happy Birthday Jane!

terie
11 years ago

Happy birthday Jane!
Thank you for so many years of enjoyable reading.
Terie

Patricia
11 years ago

I am so happy to have found your lovely blog on this special day. I am also amazed at the wealth of information I am gaining while visiting the Birthday celebration. A very Happy Birthday to our special lady, Jane!

Morgan
11 years ago

It amazes me that after practically two centuries her works are still being raved over

Virginia
11 years ago

Happy Birthday Jane! I have a few of your books on Kindle just haven’t had the chance to read them yet!

lead[at]hotsheet[dot]com

JessiKay89
11 years ago

Great post! That’s what I love about her books–you feel like she really wants you to see the world and know the people she’s writing about!

Diane Gaston
11 years ago

Janet, I agree with you abour rereading Austen. I love the movies based on the books, but nothing substitutes for the books themselves.

Cassie
11 years ago

Happy Birthday, Jane! You have given me so much through your writings… thank you.

I’d love to join the giveaway— if this is the right place to do it.

My email address is cassie(at)literaryladies(dot)com

Kirsten
11 years ago

Happy Birthday Dear Jane, I wish I could tell you how much joy and comfort your stories have brought me.

It’s like is said here before, they’ve become my friends and whenever I need a pick me up cause it all seems like too much I grab my copy of Emma or P&P and somehow the world starts to make sense again.

Elsina
11 years ago

Wonderful blog, love Jane Austen too! Happy birthday Jane!

DDCKnitt
11 years ago

Happy Birthday Jane!!!! Loving the blog tour.

Miss Laurie
11 years ago

Happy Birthday dearest Jane! You are celebrated today! 🙂

~Miss Laurie
Old-FashionedCharm.blogspot.com

Natallie
11 years ago

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!
Thank you for introducing me to the wonderful world of English literature!

Natallie Chagas
natallienazareth.ac@bol.com.br

Petali rossi
11 years ago

Your description of Jane is beautiful! Hapyy birthday my sweet heroine!
sweet_mavina@hotmail.it

Tarah
Tarah
11 years ago

Happy 235th birthday, dear Jane!

Thank you for this lovely blog!

graceismine@mail2christian.com

Benjamina
11 years ago

Happy Birthday Jane! Thank you for your lovely words about Jane and her books. You are right, if you change her books change with you.

Jeanne M
11 years ago

You have to love Jane Austen after all what would our literary world be like today without her? Would women be able to dream and achieve if they didn’t have her example to follow?

I can remember working full-time and going to college nights and when there were those times I’d get depressed just picking up one of my friend Jane’s books gave me the kick I needed to get going.

Thanks Jane and Happy Birthday!

Thalita Carvalho
11 years ago

Happy birthday Jane Austen! A genius of literature!
email: thalitacarvalho@ymail.com

Felicia
Felicia
11 years ago

Since I have dicovered Jane Austen, it’s been; Eat, Sleep, Jane Austen!

Thanks for the posting, I’m enjoying the virtual party!

JOYE
JOYE
11 years ago

I reread Austin frequently..her books are so well written. Enjoyed reading the blog today.

jackieW
jackieW
11 years ago

I love Jane Austen and reread her books often. She is one of my favorite authors.

vvb32 reads
11 years ago

You change, her books change with you. – so true. this is why i decided to go ahead and reread the jane gems. huzzah for the jane-meister

Autumn
11 years ago

That first Woolf quote was nice. I’ve never read that before.

Happy birthday Jane!

lynnquiltsalot
11 years ago

I love rereading her books…especially in a bubble bath! Happy birthday, dear Jane.

Nany
11 years ago

Jane is my favorite writter.

Happy Birthday Jane!

librarypat
librarypat
11 years ago

Unfortunately I didn’t come from a family of readers. My mom was so busy she really didn’t have time. I developed a love for books early on. My form of escape from a large family I guess. I had not heard of many of the classics until well after getting out of school. Back in the “olden days” as my children call my youth, they didn’t rely much on required reading lists. My biggest surprise was a college course in Children’s literature – all these well know and important books I had never even heard of. Considering I virtually lived at the library, it was a big surprise. So I came late to knowing about Jane Austen. Too bad, rereading books you discovered when you were much younger is always enjoyable. It is interesting finding how your perspective and mindset has changed.

Kim
Kim
11 years ago

Happy Birthday Jane, and my thanks to all who continue to pass on her legacy. Your efforts are appreciated more than you know.

JaneGS
11 years ago

>What I’ve learned from reading Austen is the supreme importance of author involvement. The author is the puppet master, the Prospero, if you like, of his/her world.

Interesting thought–I agree that Austen is always very much in charge of her story and characters, and perhaps that helps explain the comfort I feel in reading her. I will never be let down by this author!

With regards to rereading, I find my responses to some characters have changed over time. For example, I like both Marianne and Emma much more now (that I’m middle-aged) than I did when I first met them when I was in my teens. Then, I had no patience for their passion or their faults, now I find them sympathetic and more understandable.

Jane Austen
11 years ago

http://www.sourcebooks.com/component/content/article/63-marketing-and-publicity/1583-jane-austen.html

For those of us who have Kindle apps or e-readers click on this link and get a load of FREE JA books and sequels. I think the promotion only lasts until tomorrow!

Enjoy fellow JA lovers

Dina
11 years ago

Happy Birthday dear Jane Austen. 🙂

Maureen
11 years ago

Happy Birthday to Jane. I haven’t read one of her stories in a while and your post made me want to start one.

miriama
11 years ago

Happy Birthday, Jane! I just realized something. My teenage daughter is a voracious reader, she hasn’t read any Jane Austen and I NEVER recommended you to her. {hanging head in shame} but that is about to change.

Melissa A
11 years ago

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