THE INSIGHTS INTO |THE| LIFE AND WORK OF THE GREAT AND GREATLY-GIFTED JANE AUSTEN
THE GENIUS OF JANE AUSTEN
“My canvas is just a little bit of ivory, two inches wide, on which I work with so fine a brush.”
based on the movie Miss Austen Regrets, a beautiful film, and a BBC romantic drama, uncovering the drama of Jane Austen’s personal life, visualizing on the big screen the green luxuriance and openness of England’s space, and giving us, the viewers, the readers, the worshippers of her infinite talent (all those worshipping her talent beyond time) an insight into the life of Jane Austen and into her world; into her heroes’ era, her characters’ way of life.
Jane Austen Regrets… But who doesn’t regret something in their life?
Not just for a moment? Not for an instant? Not for a split second?
Is it at all possible not to regret anything? entirely? Completely? Hardly, for that is not human nature.
And what is? Jane Austen knew better.
Royal England of the early 1800s…
These were the years when Jane Austen, the Writer, was born. It was the time of setting convenient marriages and joining fortunes. A time when a woman, unmarried, was considered a failure, as if the roles of a faithful wife and good mother were the only ones she was ever capable of performing in a society.
“Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.”
(Chapter XII, Jayne Eyre)
An excellent example set by Miss Austen proved that wrong, terribly wrong, in fact. Her ‘career’ span 6 masterpieces — novels delivered with such sparkling beauty, clever humor, and those ever-witty, forever-quoted lines that they won even His Royal Highness King George IV’s sincere admiration.
Still, despite their unquestionable literary excellence, during her lifetime the authoress’ books enjoyed quite a moderate success and popularity, and none had her name printed on them — titled to have been written “By a Lady” — AND YET THEY HAVE NOT BEEN OUT OF PRINT ever since.
BUT TRUE TALENT can be only fulfilled through sacrifice. And she had made that Sacrifice — a sacrifice of the true human Happiness of her own.
And even though she had never in her entire lifetime been happily married [or married at all, for that matter], never did meet her own Mr. Darcy; never did give birth to any children—who may have turned out just as brilliant as she did herself—the literary legacy she has endowed the world with, the contribution she has made to the British nation (and the entire universe of readers) is inestimable, insurmountable. Immense.
Her stories are her children, and they are simply genius.
“They are my darling children… I send them out into the world to compete with the likes of Sir Walter Scott and Lord Byron… And yet I have accomplished so little in my life. I have seen so little. My work is so small.”
In fact, she had accomplished A LOT. Her work had liberated women, marking the transition from the 18-century neo-classicism to the 19-century romanticism in English Literature.
BUT WHAT IS IT THAT MAKES IT SO COMPELLING?
Her books provide us with the cultural background of her era, of her time; they enable us to dive into the culture and atmosphere of her century all the while taking in all the mannerisms and manners of those days; absorbing them in, getting a feel of them.
And in the end, who doesn’t regret something in their life? in hindsight? staying ‘forever undone’…
At the dawn of our days, we’re all likely to reflect upon our lives and past behaviors, wishing to undo our past mistakes, wishing to have made the right decision, the right choice at the right time, of knowing-it-all beforehand…
In the end, we’re all wishing to turn back the hands of time and live our lives differently, in one way or another.
[But we can’t. That is THE TRAGIC TRUTH.]
REGRETTING is all there is; IT IS HUMAN NATURE.
In Jane Austen’s nature, however, there was a talent unique and yet unprecedented in the entire history of English Literature. A talent for uncovering those elusive, carefully crafted features of the very nature of human relationships, bringing them to light through the art of melting words and sounds; and for resurfacing features of human nature hidden so gracefully — skilfully and masterfully — to her readers’ delight and to the clever judgment of theirs, and to the appreciation of all those descendants to come and follow.
How very brilliant, in that, indeed, she was.
And though she had never once in her entire lifetime ever been abroad (enjoying much the rural placidness of their comfortable cottage in Chawton, which provided a safe haven for her to write), the insights into the inner worlds of her characters are deep and voluminous, as ever, and have been winning the full, utmost Readers’ attention at all times.
‘Passion is made for the young. It fades so quickly. Comfort remains, friendship remains. But the fuss we make about whom to choose… And love still dies, and money still vanishes. And every woman, spinster, wife, widow, every woman has regrets. So we read about your heroines and feel young again, and in love, and full of hope, as if we can make that choice again. This IS the Gift which God has given you. It is enough, I think.’
Enough it is:
Jane’s Ageless. Her work is Timeless.
Regret Be An Old Lady.