On this day 240 years ago, December 16, 1775, Jane Austen was born at Steventon rectory in England. I have written before on this blog of my great admiration of Miss Austen. She was a brilliant writer, one who rivals all of the greats of English literature and one who continues to be beloved with each passing year. Best of all, like most great writers, Jane Austen enjoyed nothing so much as a good novel:
“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
Many of her characters were avid readers, as Jane was herself during her lifetime.
“It is only a novel… or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language.”
How does a Janeite properly observe Jane Day? I have made a list of the best ways to celebrate:
- Hide your feelings for your currently unavailable love interest while your sister spouts her love for a man at the top of her lungs. Comfort her when he dumps her for a wealthier woman.
- Attend a party where your looks are slighted by a haughty, reserved man who will eventually come to admire your fine eyes.
- Quietly but faithfully love a man who is blinded by the charms of a beautiful, but not altogether good, woman. Wait patiently until he becomes disillusioned with her.
- Play matchmaker! After you make a number of assumptions, you discover that you were completely wrong and have inadvertently made a mess of your friend’s life. Oops.
- Read as many Gothic novels as you can get your hands on. What horrors! Unfortunately, your overactive imagination nearly ruins your chance at happiness.
- When the man you love proposes, you turn him down because your family doesn’t think he’s good enough. In time, you realize your mistake, but will he forgive you?
- Drink tea while re-reading your favorite Jane Austen novel. That’s what this list is all about, after all.