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|Dear Aunt Jane
Written by helena6
(3/12/2003 5:23 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Basis for argument..?, penned by Leif G-n
]f I may quote what another author(Jane Aiken Hodge) says about her: "Jane Austen did her best to conform to the conventions of her day,and after her death the family touched up the picture.She was 'dear aunt Jane'. She played ,supremely well, the part that was expected of her."
In hindsight it is always hard to know what another would say. But on several issues Austen remaina a connundrum to me - slavery is one. She didn't seem to approve in full but she wasn't an abolitionist. But if we look to ourselves we can find the same attitudes towards the ills of current society. We don't like them, but ordinary people aren't necessarily kicking up a fuss. (whether that makes me a bad person I can't be sure)
But often in hindsight much of the evaluation may be skewed. I can remember reading an author that was a little disturbed by Austen's teasing Cassandra about a man soon after her fiance died. But I felt that was too judgemental. They were sisters and friends. We have no way of knowing whether Cassandra would have been amused or hurt by the comment. Austen would have been the best judge of that.
And even Jane Austen may be allowed to stick her foot in it. Afterall life is not like a novel where we all say and do the right thing at just the right moment.
But as to Austen being a bit bad - how could she not be? This is the woman who wrote "We met Dr. Hall in such very deep mourning that either his mother, his wife or himself must be dead". She tounge so sharp that one might be tempted to call her "Jane the Impaler". But I suspect her heart was decent enough.
I am not family though - I feel no need to make her a saint. Do we not all want to show our family at its best.
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