Friday, November 18, 2011

in which I really do love Jane Austen

For the past few nights I have been reading fifty pages or so of Persuasion between my phone conversations with R and my sinking into slumber. I can't even remember what it was that made me pick it up off of the bookshelf when I have god knows how many unread novels on my shelves, waiting patiently in line. But picked it up I did, and upon finishing it this morning during my office hours I can attest to loving it as much as ever.

I took a Jane Austen seminar in the autumn of my senior year in college; by that time I had, being such as I am, already read the complete works of that esteemed lady. At the time I claimed Emma as my favourite novel, loving (as I do still) the hilarity of its minor characters and the intricacies of its plot(s). But after taking the course I began to flag in this decision. I was beginning to love Mansfield Park in all its subtleties and commentary on play-acting and performance (of various kinds). And yet, in the following year during which I began graduate school, I reread Persuasion and realized, certain events still bringing me to tears after at least 5 previous readings, that it must be my very favourite Austen novel.

And so I have read it again--for the what, 7th time? And I think I must have been correct. Persuasion is my favourite Jane Austen novel. For now, at any rate!

When considering Austen novels, I inevitably find myself wondering--which Austen heroine do I most resemble? When I was 17 I wrote an admissions essay to Lewis and Clark in Portland proclaiming my many similarities to Marianne Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility. At the time I was a very rash, impulsive, romantic type of girl who filled the pages of composition books with (now, I believe) rather silly love poems. Six years later, I find myself comparatively thoughtful and mature, though still at times grievously sensitive and admittedly sentimental. I'm not nearly shy enough to be a Jane Bennett, though I share her absurd optimism and determination to see the best in every one and every situation. Possibly I have gone from Marianne to Elinor.

coat: thrifted LL Bean
scarf and skirt: thrifted
suspenders: Amazon
top: H&M, old
necklace: via my mum
OTK socks: Sock Dreams
boots: gifted, ancient

Onwards to Austin! Where my pleasure-reading shall be necessarily broken up by workworkworkwork as I race against time towards the end of the semester. Bring on the breakfast tacos and the Bronte criticism!

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