spaceshipoftheseus  asked:

I've never actually read any Jane Austen, and lately I've been thinking that I want to. But I've seen so many movie adaptations and pop culture versions of P&P that I don't want to start with it - I'd rather get a sense of her writing through something I can experience on its own merits without comparing it to a bunch of other things. Which non-P&P Austen book would you recommend as a first Austen exposure?

Hmm, I would go with either Northanger Abbey or Persuasion.

Neither are her most polished work, IMO, but they are sort of concentrated Austen, depending on which side you prefer. 

Northanger Abbey is a revised version of a story she wrote as a very young woman (published posthumously because she was never able to revise it to her satisfaction, and she worried that most of the references were too outdated by the 1810s, lol). It’s the most light-hearted, with a charming, witty young hero and very earnest, imaginative teenage heroine, with a lot of parodying of Gothic romance. 

Persuasion was actually published with NA, but written much later. She’d finished it before she died and started work on a new book, but didn’t live long enough for publication (she didn’t name either of them). 

It’s pretty much the total opposite from NA, with a heroine in her late twenties who is the gentle, sensible daughter of a baronet, and used and stomped over by everyone. She broke off an engagement with a bold and charismatic (but rash) sailor when she was nineteen, and now her family is drowning in debt and he’s a Navy captain who made a fortune in the war. It’s probably the most overtly romantic and intense of any Austen novel—lots of pining and melancholy.

Austen runs a pretty wide gamut from the frothy to the angsty, so it’s hard for a single book to give an idea of the whole. But those two are the most quintessentially Austen, I think, from opposite ends.


“Don’t walk in front of me… I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me… I may not lead. Walk beside me… just be my friend”  ― Albert Camus // “There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”  ― Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Twenty Data Sheet

Tagged by @ave-arianna, the sweetest <>, and @fightmelight, my waifu x

Rules: Answer 20 questions and tag 20 followers you would like to get to know better (I’m not tagging 20 I’m sorry)

Name: Rachel

Nicknames: Cake, R, Rach

Zodiac sign: Pisces

Height: 5′9″

Ethnicity: British but in terms of heritage, Malay-Chinese

Orientation: Demisexual Biromantic

Favorite Fruits: Strawberries, lychees, grapes, cherries, raspberries, blackberries, dragonfruit

Favorite Season: Autumn

Favorite Books: Lord of the Flies, To Kill a Mockingbird, Crime and Punishment, Les Miserables, Northanger Abbey, the LABB Murder Cases, anything Edgar Allan Poe, A Study in Scarlet…too many to count,,

Favorite Flowers: Roses, cherry blossoms, peonies, magnolia, apple blossoms, 

Favorite Animals: Dogs I love dogs

Favorite Beverage: Tea! Mostly, earl grey and this strawberry-elderflower-rose blend I bought a couple of months ago

Average hours of sleep: Probably about two (bad, I know)

Favorite Fictional Characters: L Lawliet, Light Yagami, Miles Edgeworth, Sajou Rihito, Nobuchika Ginoza, Tomomi Masaoka, Akane Tsunemori, Naomi Misora, Mihael Keehl, Yayoi Kunizuka, Sherlock Holmes…I’m probably forgetting some

Number of Blankets you sleep with: One…?

Dream Trip: Japan (Tokyo, in spring, for all of the sakura), South Korea, Rome, I want to go back to Paris, Austria (Vienna), Back to Bruges, New York (never been to America),

Blog Created: Uh…October 2015?

Number of Followers: 1,674 (holy shit why are there so many of you)

What do I post about: Aesthetic, cosplay, selfies, sometimes writing, Death Note, Ace Attorney, nothing very good or interesting

Aesthetic: Soft pink, deep red, silk, velvet, cherry blossoms, strawberries, hands, pink/red/white roses, laptops, pretty cakes, desserts, lips, cherries, collarbones, watches, cityscapes, long trench coats, heeled boots, dark lipstick, red/pink eyeshadow, frills

Favorite band/artist: @deathnotoriety got me into Marian Hill so I’m listening to a lot of her at the moment

Fictional character I’d date: Nobuchika Ginoza, L (disgusting), Light (I hate him and also make bad life choices), Akane Tsunemori, Naomi Misora

Hogwarts House: Ravenclaw

Tagging: @polyphenols @byelawliet @sliceofsakura @catfishmaster @jeevas-exe @chocolaterosary @andagelessdaughters @almostsane-things @justiceforged (sorry, Darcy, I don’t know your personal) @deathnotoriety @mercurial-ghost (also you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to) and anyone else who fancies it

Literally the only three things you need to know about Jane Austen

1. Her first major novel (Northanger Abbey) was written solely because she was so salty about how dramatic and cliche and formula Gothic novels were. You know what I mean. Every castle is foreboding. Every villain is awful but can’t bring himself to kill the heroine because she’s Too Pure. Every middle-aged female companion wants to do the heroine in. The heroine is Pure and Perfect and Is Good At Everything Young Women Should Be and recites quotes and/or the Bible whenever she’s in danger and that makes everything better. All butlers are evil. Jane Austen wrote a book specifically to go “THIS is how NORMAL people react to things!!!”

2. “She never changed her opinion about books or men”

3. “As a girl she wrote stories, including burlesques of popular romances” and you know what that means. Jane Austen started off writing smut fanfiction. If that’s not writing reassurement that you can be great no matter what you choose to write, I don’t know what is.

(Both quotes from the Penguin Classics version of Northanger Abbey)

Northanger Abbey is so underrated like no offense but the heroine of that book is into sports and shenanigans growing up and doesn’t learn anything in school or have any accomplishments or interests until she has a growth spurt, gets hot, and reads so many gothic novels that she almost ruins her relationship w her love interest bc she convinces herself his house is haunted and does an inappropriate ghost hunt.

Boys in my high school literature class: “Jane Austen books are just love stories.” No.  Jane Austen books are about powerless women, in utterly sexist, hideous times, trying to negotiate their way around class politics and hopefully ending up married to a man they, actually, you know, LOVE.

“It is only a novel… or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language.” -Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey