“Jane Austen . . . does she write from Harlequin or Silhouette?” I’m not kidding, I’m so not kidding. I was asked that at a romance writers’ event sometime in the Eighties. Yes, it was a guy asking the question, a guy who thought he could read three romances and then make a lot of money writing them, but back then all that many people knew about Pride and Prejudice was that Greer Garson wore a hoopskirt when playing Elizabeth Bennett in the 1940 movie . . . although if you want to make a visual statement about the burdens of having five daughters, put them all in hoopskirts and try to move them from one place to the next.
Things have changed. Romance writers all know that Jane Austen figured out our plot for us, and those who have only seen the movies never admit it. Austen is a part of our popular culture now from the delicious movie Clueless to the Jane-Austen action figure that my husband gave me. “Weapon of choice: character study.”
I am giving a talk at the Jane Austen Summer Program held at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, June 18-21, 2015,www.janeaustensummer.org. I am going to discussing the extent to which Austen understood romantic love (not much, I’m thinking). If you have any thoughts on the topic, please post them so that I can steal them.
And if you are going to the conference, let me know here. I need to figure out what to wear.