Reading Jane Austen

I enjoy reading Jane Austen, one of the classical writers who has retained her popularity. I’m also fond of the Bronte sisters, many of whose books I read in my youth. Recently on Radio Three I heard an interviewee extolling the virtues of Dickens – whom my mum likes too – so he may be next on my reading list.

Having watched many movies and clips on Youtube, clips of ‘Emma’ and ‘Persuasion’ and ‘Sense and Sensibility’ I had to admit that, for an author who professes to like Austen, until now my actual perusal of her volumes has been sorely scanty.

Thus acknowledging, I resolved to end my ignorance forthwith, and purchased by various means the several volumes which I had not yet read, among which the foresaid ‘Emma’, ‘Persuasion’ and ‘Sense and Sensibility’ to see if the reading thereof could be in any way compared to the watching. And indeed, I find my reading to be most rewarding, notwithstanding the two centuries’ passage since these volumes were first published. Though I am as much a sucker for a handsome man as anyone may be, yet I find that my understanding of the films and series that grow out of these volumes immesurably improved by reading the original books. Quite apart from the satisfaction in being able to plug a very obvious hole in my reading, some passages I rejoice to be able to quote verbatim from having watched the films so extensively.

And though Austen’s books were published c 1812, they have, baring a certain contemporaneous verbosity, retained a remarkable freshness and humour. No wonder she is still so widely read, and deservedly so.

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