Happy Anniversary, Jane

“I am half agony, half hope.” Jane Austen, Persuasion

sock 3

I’m knitting my sock around stitch by stitch, knot by knot, minute knucklebone by knucklebone, and I’m thinking of Jane Austen. She plied her careful ironies one by one, a moral, steady, intelligent chronicling of the minutiae of Regency life. She, or course, would herself have been intimately involved with needlework.


Austen kept no diary. There are letters, though. A vicar’s daughter, raised with her brothers and sisters in rural Hampshire in the late 1700s (sister Cassandra destroyed many of Jane’s letters when she died), unmarried though the quintessential writer of “marriage novels.” She manages to remain a cipher to us now, though her books ring with the clearest truth.

The Royal Mail is coming out with stamps for each one of the novels.

Austen stamp

It’s a good time to reread Pride and Prejudice, the book that broke Austen out of obscurity, January being the novel’s 200th anniversary. And perhaps to rediscover its lesser sung gem, Lydia, silly and brash.

Lydia Bennet had more fun

Still fresh enough for a bumpersticker.

1 Comment

Filed under Fiction, Jean Zimmerman, Knitting, Writers

One response to “Happy Anniversary, Jane

  1. Gil Reavill

    Shakespeare, Austen — the greatest ones are always ciphers…

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