Why is Jane Austen immortal?

Hello everyone,

Today is a very special day for all of us, as 200 years ago Jane Austen left our world. But I believe she remains pretty much alive in the hearts and lives of millions of people throughout the world. There has been a seemingly endless stream of TV adaptations, films, books, and events devoted to our dear Jane, our community continues to talk daily about her in blogs, social media and even ball rooms, and today the city of Winchester received hundreds of Janeites to celebrate the novelists work and her life.
There are several ceremonies and events happening today, such as the unveil of the 10 Β£ bank note with Jane Austen’s portrait, and the anniversary service at Winchester Cathedral. I am very happy and honored to be present in some of them. 

I will be glad to talk about them with you at a later stage, but for now I will only share some pictures of todays events and leave further details to a future post because I believe that today the subject of the conversation should be Jane Austen’s work πŸ˜‰

(At the unveil of the 10Β£ bank note)



(At the anniversary service)

The bank note is beautiful, isn’t it? And quoting Mr.Darcy at the service was memorable! But what I would like to ask you today is: why do you believe Jane Austen is still so very present in our society 200 years after she passed away?

I thought about it myself and I think that Jane Austen is still recognized and admired as one of the best authors in British literature because of her witty, clear and captivating writing, the authenticity of her characters and the contemporaneous subjects she approached. Of course, that we also need to think about all the external motives for her success, such as the support given to promote the British culture, namely Austen’s works, with productions like the 95 BBC miniseries, but for me the main points are the following:

The Writing

Jane Austen’s writing is not dense or dark, it is funny, ironic, witty, wise and realistic at the same time.

Jane Austen wrote about what she knew, she didn’t dwell in themes she was unfamiliar with and that made her writing consistent and precise.

The themes she approached are still relevant as she explores the traits of personality that one can still find in our friends, neighbors and even ourselves.

Her writing is meant to make readers think about what is surrounding them, but also to give them joy and relief from their rushed daily life, so it is no wonder that in this crazy, busy world readers turn to Jane Austen as an escape from their incessant lives. In her books they find a sense of fulfillment and well being that makes them forget the stress of real life.

The Feminism

People who have never read Austen may think she creates love stories with sweet, beautiful women falling in love with dashing heros, but they could not be more wrong.

Austen’s heroines are all very different from one another, but they are mainly woman with strong personalities and faithful to their values. They do not bound to men’s wishes as it was expected of them, they fight for their own happiness and beliefs.

This is something the current audience continues to appreciate. These smart, strong willed, loyal and witty characters are very easy to relate to, and readers like to see some of their own traits in them. I think I’m a bit of an Elizabeth Bennet in some ways, and maybe a little Marianne Dashwood in others (even if she deeply annoys me… I am clearly team Eleanor).

There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.

Elizabeth Bennet – Pride and Prejudice


The Characters

Jane Austen was an observer of human foibles and because of that she created memorable characters such as Elizabeth Bennet, Catherine Morland, Eleanor Dashwood, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Mr. Knightley, Captain Wentworth and Henry Tilney, but also very interesting and funny co-adjuvants who bring humor to the story and add value when it comes to the analysis of human nature such as Mr.Collins in Pride and Prejudice, Miss Bates in Emma, Mrs. Jenkins in Sense and Sensibility. 

Another interesting fact is that Jane Austen didn’t create perfect characters, they all have their faults and imperfections and that makes them real and believable. They all learn from their mistakes and try to improve and grow as human beings. This is something we all can relate to.

For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?

The Longing for Lost Values

The world developed at the speed of light since the 19th century, and our technological advances have been more prominent in the last 50 years than in the 200 years before that. With such development, society itself has evolved and changed. Our values are not the same they were in Jane Austen’s time and I think some people actually would like to go back to the lost values of chivalry, dignity, honor and respect that existed in the 19th century. I know I do!
What about you? Why do you think Jane Austen still lives?

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19 Comments

Filed under JAFF

19 responses to “Why is Jane Austen immortal?

  1. Sheila L. Majczan

    I remember someone telling me or reading somewhere when I was quite young: if you touch the life of one person in some positive way, your life on earth has been a good life. So in touching thousands through the centuries, maybe millions, Jane’s value on earth increases.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I fully agree Sheila, that was actually what I wrote on the memoir book they had at Winchester Cathedral today. Jane definitely touched and changed the lives of all of us in the JAFF community πŸ™‚

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  2. J. W. Garrett

    Rita, such a delightful post. Oh, goodness, Jane’s writing is timeless, I think she has covered just about every human emotion, insightful situation and witticism that can be used even today. I love her frank observations and her joy in human nature. In another 100 years… they will still be reading Jane Austen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fully agree Jeanne! In fact, I had thought about posting several of her witty quotes, but they were so many I couldn’t even decide! I added just 2, but I could have added 200 because she was truly proficient in analyzing and describing human behavior.

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  3. Glynis

    I tend to agree with you Rita. I think her books never date. Obviously the customs have changed but the characters are not too dark. Most have traits which you can see in people today. I only read Darcy and Elizabeth stories and the P&P characters seem to fit well in any time frame or situation
    I’m happy with most of these as long as the essential characters remain the same. I first read P&P aged 13 and re read it a few times but it was the 1995 series which really captured my imagination. I’m sure if Jane could see it she would approve.
    Thanks for this post Rita. I look forward to the rest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I see people with the characteristics of her characters everyday glynis, I think that is the biggest proof her writing is timeless :)) I was also brought into this universe after the 95 adaptation, I guess we can say Colin Firth is also one of the reasons Jane Austen still lives πŸ™‚

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  4. I think her stories are timeless and easy to relate to in each subsequent generation. Sure we have technological advances, but the stories she wove for us endure through the ages with depth, understanding, language, and intelligence. They touch our hearts and our minds.

    denise

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mary

    Rita,

    What a lovely post,one I truly enjoyed reading. 😌

    Irrespective of how harried or rushed our lives are,in the midst of all the stresses and strains of life,people seek refuge in times past,reassurance that all will be well and romance,a HEA for beloved characters.
    Reading Jane’s works provide an escape,an opportunity to lose one selves in another world,another time and live and share,if only for a short time,in the lives of characters that are as dear to us as cherished friends.

    Jane’s works are timeless and provide us with a unique and delicious opportunity to join Darcy and Lizzy on their rambles at Rosings and eavesdrop on Anne and Captain Wentworth’s conversation when the blinds of pretence have been lifted. They pepper our lives with a necessary pinch of romance,friendship,loyalty and love. What more could any reader ask for! ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Christina Boyd

    Love your photos from the day.

    To share in the conversation, I think Amanda Price from that ITV fanfiction TV series, “Lost in Austen” says it well for me:
    “I’m not hung up about Darcy. I do not sit at home with the pause button on Colin Firth in clingy pants, okay? I love the love story. I love Elizabeth. I love the manners and language and the courtesy. It’s become part of who I am and what I want.” And of course the friendships along the way have my life so much more colorful. XO

    Liked by 1 person

    • Can you believe I have never seen Lost in Austen?? But that will no longer be a problem thanks to Ana from My Vices and Weaknesses, I met her yesterday and she offered me a copy πŸ™‚ Such a sweet :)) I’m not sure if I’ll like Amanda Price, but I do like that sentence πŸ™‚

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  7. Lovely post, Rita, on this special day. ❀️

    I think Jane Austen still lives because her stories transcend time. She wrote about things that still resonate today: interactions within families, between lovers, neighbours, friends or relatives. Time may have moved on 200 years and many things have changed, but I believe she would say human nature remains the same.

    Cass

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Cassandra! I fully agree, people and their responses remain pretty much the same even if our surroundings are different, and that is one of the reasons we are still relating to all the stories Jane wrote πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

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  8. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Sometimes I feel a simpler way of life would be easier. Bit there will always be cads, trustworthy men, sniping girls who pretend to be our friends or are mean to us, good marriages and bad, girls with strong personalities as well as those easily taken advantage of. All of these, and more, are in Jane’s stories and the best part is that the girl and right guy are always together. That is why Jane is so popular.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would also love a simpler way of life Debora, and that is one of the reasons I’m so attracted to Austen. Many things remain the same, but at the same time, I feel their life was much more simple without so many external influences. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us πŸ™‚

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  9. A lovely post in a lovely day, Rita !

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Such a beautiful post, Rita! I’m so happy to have shared this day with you and some of the wonderful friends I’ve made over the years!!

    I think Jane Austen still lives because, thanks to her witty and sparkling prose, we still think of her timeless characters, perfect precisely because all their imperfections, and this brings us together like few things could!

    Like

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