Friday, December 16, 2011

Jane Austen's Birthday--and a Contest

Jane Austen was born on 16 December 1775, at Steventon rectory in Hampshire, the sixth child and second daughter of the Rev. George Austen and his wife, Cassandra. That her books are still beloved today, 236 years later, is a testament to the excellence of her work.

Here are a few quotes from Jane Austen's books to test your knowledge. Post your answers in the comments below. You will earn a point if you know the novel from which the quote comes and an additional point if you know the scene/circumstances/character(s).  I'll give the answers next week, as well as an autographed copy of one of my books to the person who scores the most points. (The contest entry comments won't appear, since that would give an advantage to the people who enter just before the deadline.)

1. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

2. But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of forty surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way.

3. Everybody likes to go their own way---to choose their own time and manner of devotion.

4. When any two young people take it into their heads to marry, they are pretty sure by perseverance to carry their point, be they ever so poor, or ever so imprudent, or ever so little likely to be necessary to each other's ultimate comfort.

5. One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.

6. We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.

7. No one can be really esteemed accomplished who does not greatly surpass what is usually met with.

8. In every power, of which taste is the foundation, excellence is pretty fairly divided between the sexes.

9. Human nature is so well disposed towards those who are in interesting situations, that a young person, who either marries or dies, is sure of being kindly spoken of.

10. It isn't what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.

One of my fondest writing memories is of reading Sense and Sensibility while writing A Scandalous Journey. I was searching for quotes to use in the story because the hero reads the novel to the heroine throughout their journey.

I reread all of Jane Austen's books a year and a half ago, before teaching a course called "The World of Jane Austen," so I probably won't reread them again this month. I am, however, contemplating a Jane Austen movie marathon. I did one last year between Christmas and Twelfth Night and enjoyed it immensely.


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