Posted: 25th Sep 2015
In the 2nd of our Insults & Inspirations posts and the extreme reactions that Jane Austen has provoked up and down the years we include four quotes from authors who found the positives in her work. To accentuate the positives there's a link to a short story by a certain Mr Kipling that you can read online. Have you read it before?
Sir Walter Scott
"Also read again, and for the third time at least, Miss Austen’s very finely written novel of Pride and Prejudice. That young lady had a talent for describing the involvements and feelings and characters of ordinary life, which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with. The Big Bow-wow strain I can do myself like any now going; but the exquisite touch, which renders ordinary commonplace things and characters interesting, from the truth of the description and the sentiment, is denied to me. What a pity such a gifted creature died so early!"
"Miss Austen was surely a great novelist. What she did, she did perfectly.... She wrote of the times in which she lived, of the class of people with which she associated, and in the language which was usual to her as an educated lady. Of romance – what we generally mean when we speak of romance – she had no tinge: heroes and heroines with wonderful adventures there are none in her novels. Of great criminals and hidden crimes she tells us nothing. But she places us in a circle of gentlemen and ladies, and charms us while she tells us with an unconscious accuracy how men should act to women, and women act to men. It is not that her people are all good; and, certainly, they are not all wise. The faults of some are the anvils on which the virtues of others are hammered till they are bright as steel. In the comedy of folly, I know no novelist who has beaten her. The letters of Mr. Collins, a clergyman in Pride and Prejudice, would move laughter in a low-church archbishop."
"The key to Jane Austen's fortune with posterity has been in part the extraordinary grace of her facility... as if she sometimes over her work basket fell... into woolgathering, and her dropped stitches... were afterwards picked up as... little master-strokes of imagination."
Simply read his short story, The Janeites, about soldiers in the WW1 trenches finding solace in her work.