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Friday, January 28, 2011

In Which I Become a Janeite

At five minutes past two o'clock in the afternoon today, I finished reading Mansfield Park, the only one of Jane Austen's novels I hadn't yet read. I am now officially a Janeite.

For, let's see, 39 years I had read only Pride and Prejudice.  Romance isn't my favorite genre; an occasional re-reading of the arch-witted P & P was all I asked from it. Then just a few years ago, I finally read another Austen, Persuasion, which I liked well enough but did not light a fire in me to polish off the rest of them.

Next I read Sense and Sensiblity, only because I had been reading Adam Sexton's Master Class in Fiction Writing and the author required me to read for discussion purposes, so I did. (Though, actually, I forgot to go back and see what Sexton said about it.) Again I liked it well enough, but again no fires lit. It seemed to me Jane's other creations paled in comparison to the robust P & P.

But eventually it occurred to me that I was halfway to having read All, and to have read All seemed such a worthy goal, and one I had planned for myself way back in 8th grade, right after finishing the first. So then I read Emma, and ho ho, Emma is not a bit pale! Emma is quite robust! And so immediately on to Northanger Abbey, which was clever and fun. And lastly Mansfield Park, which is now my favorite after P & P.

Having finished the major six, shall I pursue the minor works, Lady Susan, The Watsons, and Sanditon? I don't know. It's something to think about for another 39 years.


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