This post has been long overdue, and truth be told, I should have gotten round to doing this sooner, but sometimes life has a way of creating stumbling blocks when you least expect it.
In a different world, I’d have written this on a beautiful summer’s day, in a cottage we’ve rented in The Lakes, surrounded by rolling hills and fluffy sheep. But here we are, in grey, bitterly cold Manchester, preparing for v 4.0 of the lockdown!
It was during a similarly dreary time like this, about 12 years ago, that I discovered Pride and Prejudice, and got my first taste of the Victorian world. Ever since, I have been convinced that I’m stuck in the wrong era.
Fast forward to summer of 2012, and while most of my classmates are ‘summer-ing’ or at home for the holidays, I am in Manchester, balancing a summer job, and a 20,000 word dissertation. Jane Austen came to my rescue again, this time, in the form of Elinor and Marianne, and I spent the whole summer, reading (almost) all her works.
In her characters, I have found strength, I have learnt resilience and have realised the importance of standing up for oneself, even when the most formidable people try to knock you down – Headstrong, Obstinate Girl, is a club I will always be a proud member of!
So, thank you, dearest Jane, for creating such memorable characters, in whom I find all the life lessons I need, and in whom I’ve found solace and companionship, when I most needed it. I haven’t read Sanditon, and I don’t think I will yet, because you see, I want to keep delaying it a bit more, as if saving the best for the last. Happy Birthday, and may your legacy live on forever!
P.S. (below has been referenced from janeausten.org)
Jane Austen was born on 16th Dec 1775, in Steventon, the seventh child amongst 8 siblings. Having grown up in a family that encouraged learning and creativity, these lay the foundations of the true talent of Jane Austen, who would later go on to publish 6 major novels, amongst a body of other works. Sanditon is thought to be her last book, left unfinished, and was recently adapted into a TV series.
This post is my small tribute to her on the occasion of her birthday. Continuing my quest to learn as much as I can about her life and legacy, (once the restrictions ease) I hope to visit The Jane Austen Centre in Bath, her birthplace in Steventon and lastly Winchester where she was laid to rest.