She writes about women and money. She illuminates how difficult it is to be female in a male dominated world. She’s a celebrity without a memoir. She certainly didn’t need a sex tape or a reality t.v. show. In fact, she was never even interviewed.
Jane Austen attracts readers (and re-readers) like no other. She also attracted her share of haters among the literari–both women and men—like Virginia Woolf and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Much as I love Mark Twain, he was the nastiest: “Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin bone!”
Seriously. Shame on you, Mr. Twain. You can’t stop us, nothing can. We women love Jane Austen.
No, it isn’t because we are all looking for a Mr. Darcy. (Though I have to admit, Darcy’s 10,000 pounds a year is now worth at least $600,000 U.S. dollars annually today, a sum I believe I could live on.) Rather, its Austen’s quick wit and sharp insights that stick with us. That and her incredible ability to reveal truths about human behavior that ring true today.
You don’t have to be an Austen fan to appreciate the lessons on how we should expect to be treated, who we need to surround ourselves with, and who is really the best judge of our choices.
Austen Top Ten for 21st Century Women
I always deserve the best treatment because I never put up with any other.” – Emma
“My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” – Pride and Prejudice
“If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.” – Northanger Abbey
“My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.” – Persuasion
“Success supposes endeavor.” – Emma
“Pictures of perfection make me sick and wicked.”– Jane Austen, letter 1817
“It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.” – Sense and Sensibility
“You must be the best judge of your own happiness.” – Emma
“Do not give way to useless alarm; though it is right to be prepared for the worst, there is no occasion to look on it as certain.” – Pride and Prejudice
“There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to expect too much; but then, if one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better; we find another comfort somewhere.” – Mansfield Park
Take a page from Jane Austen. Demand the best, not perfection, from yourself and others. Bounce back from disappointments, defining yourself by your actions, your endeavors. There’s only one judge you need to listen to: you.