Sunday, 4 August 2013

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 242

The post this week has been inspired by our recent email contact with Mariana who has made some great observations based on reports about the confirmation that Jane Austen is to be the new face on
the £10 note here in the UK.

Hello dear friends,
As I’m on vacation for few days, I found some more time to dedicate to old friends and reading. I don’t know if you followed the news regarding the threats and hostile tweets addressed to Caroline Criado-Perez after she ran that successful campaign for a women - Jane Austen, to appear on the £10 banknote. For the past few days, Caroline was criticized for taking a stand and asked to stop 'shouting back' not only by men, but as I read in disbelief, by many women, blaming her for the threats she receives. You will probably need to read these articles first and then the quotes from Jane Austen’s books to understand why I cannot and will never agree with, or understand people, especially women who are blaming the victims - I refer here also to those few Janeites who readily agreed (and wrote articles in support of this idea) with a man saying "it seems fairly clear that Jane made all the running" in her youthful romance with Tom Lefroy.
The connection between Austen and the threat of rape

"The man who discovered evolution has been traded for a bitchy marriage-broker who never married."

This quotation is from Northanger Abbey, first draft written as we know it in 1798- 99, a short time after Jane Austen met Tom Lefroy: "You will allow, that in both [matrimony/dancing], man has the advantage of choice, woman only the power of refusal"
It was his choice to invite Jane Austen so many times to dance with him when he knew what people will start gossiping. I’m really amazed how Janeites could write such articles as the one posted on JASNA by Joan Klingel Ray ("The One-Sided Romance of Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy" and others embrace the idea without giving a second thought to the many constraints for the women at that time.
 A few key quotes: 
Northanger Abbey

A woman, especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.”
“To come with a well-informed mind is to come with an inability of administering to the vanity of others
I do not think I ever opened a book in my life which had not something to say upon woman's inconstancy.” 
Songs and proverbs, all talk of woman's fickleness. But perhaps, you will say, these were all written by men."
"Perhaps I shall. Yes, yes, if you please, no reference to examples in books. Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story.”

“Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything."

"We never shall. We never can expect to prove anything upon such a point. It is a difference of opinion which does not admit of proof.”

“We each begin, probably, with a little bias towards our own sex; and upon that bias build every circumstance in favour of it which has occurred within our own circle; many of which circumstances (perhaps those very cases which strike us the most) may be precisely such as cannot be brought forward without betraying a confidence, or, in some respect, saying what should not be said."

Wishing you a sunny & joyful Summer!

Lots of hugs,

Pic: Jane Austen on £10 note


Linda Fern said...

I must recommend for your information the No. 9 issue of James Austen's "The Loiterer" which I do believe carries a letter from Jane herself. She gives a very good explanation of the treatment of both sexes.

You may read it HERE:

Yrs aff'ly,
Linda the Librarian

Mariana said...

Thank you for posting, Rachel. I expected “the world in general would have too much sense to join in the scorn", but those articles proved me wrong.

Icha said...

thanks a lot Mariana for the article, and for Rachel for posting it!