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Insults & Inspirations: What authors thought of Jane Austen - Inspirations Pt 2

Posted: 01st Oct 2015

Topic: General

In the 4th (and final) article in our Insults & Inspirations series where we delve into the extreme reactions that Jane Austen's work has provoked up and down the years, we bring together five quotes from a wide spectrum of authors, including the most successful author of modern times, who adore Austen. It felt right and proper to end on a very positive note, we hope you've enjoyed this Janeite critique!

Edith Wharton

"...Jane Austen, of course, wise in her neatness, trim in her sedateness; she never fails, but there are few or none like her."

Rebecca West

"To believe [Jane Austen] limited in range because she was harmonious in method is as sensible as to imagine that when the Atlantic Ocean is as smooth as a mill-pond, it shrinks to the size of a mill-pond... Look through the lattice-work of her neat sentences, joined together with the bright nails of craftsmanship, painted with the gay varnish of wit, and you will see women haggard with desire or triumphant with love."

PD JamesP.D. James

"One’s response to literature is like one’s response to human beings—if you asked me what appeals to me in a certain person, I might say his courage, or humour, or intelligence. In Jane Austen it was her style and her irony, the way she creates so distinctive a world in which I feel at home."

JK RowlingJ.K. Rowling

"My favourite writer is Jane Austen, and I've read all her books so many times I've lost count ... I imagined being a famous writer would be like being like Jane Austen. Being able to sit at home at the parsonage and your books would be very famous and occasionally you would correspond with the Prince of Wales's secretary."

EM ForsterE.M. Forster

“I am a Jane Austenite, and therefore slightly imbecile about Jane Austen. My fatuous expression, and airs of personal immunity—how ill they sit on the face, say, of a Stevensonian! But Jane Austen is so different. She is my favourite author! I read and reread, the mouth open and the mind closed. Shut up in measureless content, I greet her by the name of most kind hostess, while criticism slumbers.”

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