Posted by P. Bingham on March 27, 1998 at 03:58:29:
In response to JA as a difficult person., written by Kate on March 26, 1998 at 13:00:03
The side of Austen I see most evident in her letters is her sarcasm and constant judgements, not that this was not the typical way of writing during this period. (Almost every memoir I've seen by Jane's contemporaries have been sarcastic and judgemental to the extreme).
But I'm saying that perhaps a bit of this rubs off on the people around her. Perhaps they are feeling judged or looked down upon. Austen did come from a very proud, very educated family. Jane had no time for many of the mundane habits of her contemporaries and it is for certain, in my own opinion, that she felt herself better than most, and for good reason.
Being a writer, she was apt to pay close attention to the world around her and perhaps this came off as judgemental too. I know that I myself am very observant and I often collect things around me without giving anything of myself. People often read this as stand-offish when it is actually not at all. My girlfriend since the fifth grade told me about a year ago that everyone thought I was conceited in school, everyone thought I felt myself better than them. I was shocked. My friend knew this not to be true but that was the impression I gave. It was shyness that made me appear that way. I believe that Jane Austen was possibly very shy. All this sarcasm and judgementalism was a way for her not to really get close, a protective barrier in a way. People often act in one way and are another way entirely. Perhaps this is getting a little too phychological!
Posting followups to old messages is disabled; instead go to the main index and post a new message which mentions this one.