A friend recently brought my attention to this New Yorker article, about the history of reading for pleasure. I'd always assumed this was something that had always been done, but as it turns out, the notion of reading for pleasure really developed during the period from about 1750-1850.
This places Austen's work in a new light. She was part of that early few generations of people who read because they enjoyed it. Novels were not merely moral stories, to be learned from and quoted, but for entertainment.
And Austen's role in further shaping the act of reading for pleasure cannot be underestimated. To understand my title, go check out the article, and Gilbert Ryle's delightful quote when he was asked if he read novels. There are a number of works that were produced between the years 1750 and 1850, but how many of them are so very entertaining as to be worth reading, over and over again?
Jane Austen didn't just create brilliant novels; she created some of the first enjoyable novels. She took a new and developing genre, and produced stories that could be enjoyed, time and time again, and that people could continue to relate to, 200 years later. I continue to be in awe of what she did.
There's one final Mistress blog post out today! I'm at Catherine Curzon's blog talking about writing Elizabeth as a widow.
For those of you who don't already follow me on FF.net or Archive of Our Own, I'm currently posting Temporary Mistress for what'...
In which I put a possibly crazy idea I've had for a while into action. You should go over to Austen Authors to read the initial p...
We're stopping at my own blog today for the most provocative of my posts for Mistress: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, with Parts ...