From Our Readers

Jane Austen, We Love You! An Ode To a Great Woman

I am a big Jane Austen fan. I was born with the last name Darcey, which pretty much demands that I at least read Pride and Prejudice. But even if I didn’t have a last name nearly identical to the famous Darcy (with a blasted “e” that no one likes to include when writing my name!), I would still love Miss Austen. And even though my B.A. in English Literature practically requires that I read all those famous dead people, including Austen, I would still (and do) gladly read her for some good old weekend fun.

And I’m not alone in this. Women all over the world with all different interests love Jane Austen. High schoolers, feminists, doctors, sales associates at Anthropologie and elderly alike swoon over the Mr. Darcys and Captain Wentworths. We cheer on the Dashwood sisters and Fanny Price and get frustrated with Jane Fairfax and Isabella Thorpe. We can’t help but get sucked into the daringly modern feminist stances, delicious gossip, blind assumptions and lusty glances from afar.

It’s also refreshingly old fashioned, yet modern at the same time. That stuff doesn’t happen anymore, only it does! Some ho tried to steal your man and blind him with fancy jewels and cleavage. We’ve all been there. Your sister did something totally embarrassing and now everyone’s looking at you weird, too. You couldn’t help but listen in on half of someone’s conversation in the next room and share it with everyone else. You really want to marry your hunky cousin! We’ve all been there (well, except that last one).

Jane Austen has been dead for a long time but she is responsible for the income of dozens of today’s authors! Think of all those “Dr. Darcy goes to Vegas” and “Elizabeth Darcy’s secret daughter” inventions and additions of zombies and sea monsters. It’s insane. Jane Austen practically controls half of Barnes & Noble’s fiction and romance sections.

And then there are the movies and mini-series. Some fabulous and Netflixed over and over again, others used for comedy night material. Either way, they’re still somehow all wonderful. There’s nothing like escaping the work day or that crappy dentist appointment with a couple hours of “come hither”s, corsets and mysterious carriage rides. I dare you to try it and not enjoy it!

This is around the time where you ask, “What’s the point of all this?”

Well, there isn’t. This is a “take five minutes out of your day to reflect on someone wonderful.” And maybe a recommendation to read Northanger Abbey and watch Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow pre-Glee.

Read more from Melissa Darcey on her blog.

Featured image via Kate Beaton at

  • Louise Macdonald

    Jane Austen is my FAVOURITE author EVER! If I get to the end of a book and struggle with what to read next 9 times out of 10 I like to curl up with Mr Darcy and Captain Wentworth (possibly Henry Tilney depending on my mood). If you’ve never read anything by Miss Austen — Emma is probably the easiest book to start off with (Gwyneth Platrow pre-GLEE adaptation is well known hello?). Their also good to read when it’s snowing outside (along with Bronte sisters!) with hot choclate and marshmallows!

  • Julia Hays

    I’m a huge Austen fan as well. And, of course, my FAVORITE film adaptation of her work is the TV miniseries version of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth. He’s such a hunk as Mr. Darcy!

  • Elizabeth Mayerle Berg

    Credit the Kate Beaton comics, please! The lady is hilarious.

  • Elizabeth Mayerle Berg

    Also, if people know that Clueless was based on Emma, and Bridget Jones’ Diary was based on Pride and Prejudice, perhaps they’d be more likely to read the books!

  • Amalia Pantazi

    “It’s also refreshingly old fashioned, yet modern at the same time” : you said it!
    Jane Austen is always a good read! :)

  • Katrina Barnett

    Although I was always a big reader of the classics, I put off trying Jane Austen until I was 16. I was then shocked (shocked!) at what fantastic page-turners her books are. Her writing is so elegant but her themes– human behavior and etiquette and her insight into relationships of all kinds– are still so fresh and contemporary. I found myself nodding my head in recognition countless times while reading P&P.

    And I’m not a big swooner, but the Gwyneth Paltrow Emma and the Emma Thompson Sense & Sensibility are beautiful films. And Mr. Knightley. Woah. You can keep Mr. Darcy, it’s all about Mr. K.

  • Liliana Delgado

    i just love her! *o*

  • Jennifer Lloyd

    I had a very Austen summer where I sought out to watch a film adaptation of every Austen novel. I succeeded and also read Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey for the first time!

  • Jessica Malavé

    Jane Austen is my favorite as well <3

  • Rebecca Joseph French

    If you love the Gwyneth Paltrow version of Emma, then clearly you haven’t seen the brilliantly delightful miniseries from 2009, with Michael Gambon (Dumbledore!) as her father, and Jonny Lee Miller as the amazing Mr. Knightley. I could watch that one any day of the week!

  • Santiago Casares

    The comics illustrating the article are from Hark! a Vagrant, by Kate Beaton (her book just came out), and should receive credit. You can check it out at

  • Jonny Rice

    Let’s do multiple posts on Kate Beaton and her new book because she is a beautiful person. kthxby!

  • Maria Kjærgaard Christensen

    Whenever I’m in a bad mood or longing for “the one and only” who’s still hiding out there, the best remedy is BBC’s “P & P” or Gwyneth Paltrow’s “Emma” :) Also rented “Mansfield Park” and watched it ad nauseaum until I had to give it back 😛

  • Chelsea Alea Hurst

    Jane Austen has defined me since I was 12- when I first read Pride and Prejudice. I’m *also* an English major and reading Jane Austen is almost therapeutic for me- it’s as good as wrapping myself in a blanket I’ve had since I was a baby. The familiar phrases calm me immediately. It is a truth universally acknowledged… :) My boyfriend likes to insolently argue with me, and try to upset me by calling Mr. Darcy a pansy, and sometimes it *does* make me angry, and he thinks this is HILARIOUS, but he wasn’t laughing when I pointed out that his doing so was very Darcy-esque and that’s probably why I was with him in the first place. HA!

  • Keena Levert

    I made it the goal of my summer to complete the collection! Amazing, engaging and still totally relevant! Love love love.

  • Ashley Xue Grimm

    Kate Beaton is my hero!!!

  • Keren Kanter

    Jane Austen was such a part of my childhood- sitting through Pride and Prejudice (we’re talking the LONG Collin Firth version ya’ll) when I was an impressionable nine year old, to reading all of her works by 15. I love that Jane encourages every girl to be an independent thinker who can still hope for their Prince Charming. As for me.. well I’m still rereading all of her books and holding out for my Henry Tilney. :)

  • Heather Hoopes

    I like Jane Austen as much as the next girl but the part of this I connected to most was how people spell your name without the “e” as well. That has plagued me all of my life. Good to know I’m not alone. 😉

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