Yes, I know Jane Austen is not a lesbian.
I suppose also that she is not considered terribly butch.
I like many authors who could be considered butch in both senses of the word (macho and queer),
think Hemingway, London and Sarah Schulman.
Deep inside of my romantic heart, I also have a yearning for girl stuff.
I don’t mean Shopaholic and stuff (although Bridget Jones’s diary is hilarious), I mean classic female Lit.
Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women is to me , a magical novel that I never tire of reading.
I discovered it when I was way past an impressionable age and yet I read it, and I am twelve again.
My favorite early female novelist is, Jane Austen.
A few years ago my mom and I decided that we would read all of Austen’s novels.
It was by no means a gargantuan task, there are only six Austen novels.
Pride and Prejudice,
Sense and Sensibility,
The only one I had read was Pride and Prejudice when I was a teenager. I remember thinking it was O.K.
I flew through Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, I loved them.
I liked Mansfield Park. I had a lot of trouble with Emma, I found the heroine extremely annoying.
The one I liked the most was Persuasion, it seemed to me to be a mature woman’s Pride and Prejudice.
I couldn’t make it through Northanger Abbey.
I can’t stand gothic.
I’ve tried, it just doesn’t work for me.
I don’t like vampires either.
I’m probably in a minority there, as both heterosexual women, as well as lesbians find vampires really sexy.
( One exception a story by Katherine V Forrest about a lesbian vampire on a space ship, that was really hot.)
Back to Austen. I love her work.
Her novels seem to be about, not much.
Women looking to marry, going to parties.
Yet, Austen is an astute observer of her times and has a real eye for illuminating human nature.
She wrote these novels in the 18 th century and they are still fresh and insightfull today.
Austen is a quiet pleasure, sunday afternoon under a tree without a care in the world.
I had to learn about those kinds of pleasures before I could enjoy her.
So, for my recent 45 th birthday, I bought myself a copy of Northanger Abbey.
This edition also includes: Lady Susan, The Watsons and Sandition. Little known or unpublished in her life time works.
My summer project is to read them. I’ll let you know what I think.
I figure all those rabid Jane Austen fans can’t be wrong. Jane is no fad, she is a classic.