Jane Austen: a model of perseverance

Jane Austen: a model of perseverance

Beyond the love and romance, the novels of Jane Austen has a layer of steel and resilience that may inspire us in uncertain times.

Jane Austen's own life was a lesson of perseverance: She published six novels in seven years and died at the age of 41. When she was 25, her rector father retired. Austen, her parents and her sister spent the next eight years travelling between small properties in Bath, relatives' homes and seaside resorts. Much of this life is reflected in her heroines.

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  • Jane Austen's writing was prescribed to WWI soldiers suffering from severe shell shock. Rudyard Kipling's 1924 The Janeites celebrates this wartime association. It is about a group of soldiers who bond through their love of Austen.
  • Even the author of Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne, bonded with fellow soldiers over his love for Austen.
  • Winston Churchill was consoled during illness when his daughter read Pride and Prejudice to him.
  • During the present-day lockdown, many enjoyed the richness of Austen's novels.
  • Displacement. In Sense and Sensibility, the Dashwood sisters and their mother are stripped of their inheritance and must leave their family home.
  • Feeling trapped by familial friction, and walking to feel liberated. In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennett strives for freedom by walking about the countryside to get peace away from her family life.
  • Imperfect families. Austen pioneered the way she showed families as flawed. Before that, parents were shown as perfect and harmonious.

Austen's heroines are often required to persevere. Elinor Dashwood wrongly believes Edward Ferrars has married another. "I will be calm, I will be mistress of myself" is inspiring a strength of character.

The emotional growth of Austen's characters is another facet that can inspire us at a time of uncertainty. Many of her characters acquire a growth mindset - thinking that life should be lived by adapting to challenges and learning from your mistakes.

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Most of us have already heard about Jane Austen: she is a novel writer, whose masterpieces have proven timeless throughout centuries. When reading her novel 'Emma', one will certainly discover that the lesson to be learned is that, in life, the smallest things make the biggest differences.

6 Lessons From Jane Austen - On Love, Life And Writing | Writers Write


Creating words

In times past, when circumstances demanded new ways of expression, it was often female writers who invented new words.

The word 'frustrating' makes its first appearance in print in George Eliot's novel Middlemarch, when she describes "the hampering threadlike pressure of small social conditions, and their frustrating complexity."

Taking inspiration from George Eliot and Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte and Dorothy Wordsworth, we can find some helpful principles for sculpting a vocabulary to describe the surreal realities in these tense and trying times.

The women who created a new language


Silent Reading Vs Reading It Aloud
  • The ancient art of reading out aloud has many benefits like better recall, a better understanding of complex content, and even strengthening of emotional bonds.
  • In most of our literary history, reading something meant reading it aloud by default, so that one can also listen to what is being read.
  • Silent reading, or reading just in our heads is now the norm, and we keep bottling the words in our heads quietly.

Why you should read this out loud


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