"Give me but a little cheerful company, let me only have the company of the people I love, let me only be where I like and with whom I like, and the devil may take the rest, say I."

by A Latter-day Bluestocking

Jane Austen’s Will

If I could have tea with any one author, dead or alive, I would choose unhesitatingly, Jane Austen. Despite the countless books and articles, blogs, societies, websites, and fan pages dedicated to her, she remains an enigma. Oh, her books are studies in perfection, glimpses of her wit are revealed in her letters, and their are only two confirmed images of her (one only of her back) but do we really know who she was? I think everyone has an idea of who Jane Austen was but much of our perception of her is through the white-wash job presented by her Victorian relations. An insipid view, in my opinion, and far from the truth.

Her books, letters, Juvenilia, and unfinished manuscripts show a woman not demure and quiet but funny, engaging, intelligent, and, on occasion, peevish. I don’t doubt that Miss Austen would be a refreshing teatime companion and I would only hope to hold my own and not invite her jocular ridicule in a later letter to her sister, Cassandra.

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