Time changes many things. Divorce is no longer an impediment to a royal marriage. Princess Margaret and even her uncle Edward, the king who abdicated so as to marry a divorcee, would be smiling today. It seems today’s world is a kinder one: mistakes are acceptable; new starts recommended; pasts can be redeemed.
It reminds us of Marianne, in Sense and Sensibility who did not approve of “second attachments”. By the end of the novel she has in fact changed her mind, ironically described as “an extraordinary fate”, and embraced Continue reading
Thanks Jane Caro, National Treasure and great role model for women. In The Age, “Sunday Life ” you explore the role of the older woman: “older women are not just a force of nature but a force business needs to reckon with”. It is great news that older women in their later lives can enjoy the benefits of the spoils of their working life.
And of course Jane Austen had a thing or two to say about older women. In Sense and Sensibility, we meet the widow Mrs Jennings. She is first introduced as a comic character and readers may not feel much for her, however, by the end of the novel we have witnessed her kindness towards our heroine, Marianne. We see a happy and contented single (widowed) woman contributing to her community. Often the older widowed women in society are forgotten; their desires and interests do not figure in the great literature of any civilisation. It is as if Jane Austen is being subversive again Continue reading
When a life ends, you get to learn what matters. What matters is the sum of all the everyday exchanges; the sum of all the love. Sometimes cooking the food, enjoying the company, living the simple life is all that remains. Pondering the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death Continue reading
The first ripe apricot on our tree this Australian summer
This year the 200th since Jane Austen’s death, it is rewarding to turn to Jane’s letters from Chawton that are so are full of the seasons and the garden. Although Jane wasn’t responsible for the garden, she enjoyed the fruits of others’ labour. She tells Cassandra, “our young poeny at the foot of the fir tree has just blown and looks very handsome”. Favourite flowers, the syringas, that I have in my garden, “are coming out”. Fruit trees in the orchard were indispensable to the economy of the household but also to the pleasure, “an apricot has been detected on one of the trees”. Jane Austen’s delight shines Continue reading
It centers on one couple: Rabih and Kirsten. It is very modern in that the nuclear couple reign supreme; the friends and family only get a passing glance. But it is a very poignant look at the couple in modern life. It feels like an everyman couple; a couple we can all relate to. And its premise, that the proof of love begins when the romance fades is so apt. Rabih and Kirsten are like minor characters in an Austen novel, they are Mr and Ms Bennett, Mr and Mrs Palmer or Mr and Mrs Musgrove in the Austen Six. Only in a post modern novel can they take their place centre-stage. But that is the beauty
of the modern; the ordinary Continue reading
Maggie Alderson in her recent column in Melbourne’s The Age channels Mrs Bennet in wondering who is the ‘best possible choice’ for her daughter. And what does Austen suggest? Sure, Mr Darcy is a man of consequence and with a fortune to match. But there are a myriad of heroes who always have enough money – let’s face it one always needs enough in the 18th Century – but are distinguishable by their values rather than their bank balances. Honourable Edward Ferrars is case in point.
Edward’s sister, who I like to call, Supercilious-Superior-Sister-in-law-Fanny Dashwood, Continue reading