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Jane Austen in the crowd

 Jane Austen (1775-1817) is immortal. This English country woman who has only written 6 novels in her life and has no legendary experience has never been eliminated by readers in the cruel literary world and the revolutionary fun revolution. For more than two hundred years, everywhere and in any corner of the world, there have been people reading and discussing her in different languages ​​and different moods. Generations of readers have found comfort and empathy in her "small pattern" family story. , Even creative inspiration.


But such a writer who can be called "starlight" in any case is almost invisible in his family, and his sense of existence is extremely weak. Jane's brother said that her life was "not vigorous, nothing to tell", and her niece even regarded it as a "poor relative with depravity." This contrast must make Jane Austen’s fans and researchers very painful, so British biographer Claire Tomalin started with the huge Austin family network, using Jane’s family, neighbors, and even various social relationships. Radiate extensively for the origin, look for clues about her from other people’s letters, diaries, family accounts, and memoirs. By restoring the details of life in the era and the social picture, let the Jane Austen models hidden in the crowd come out. Show its true, rich and extraordinary life.


Man without portrait

Jane Austen was born among a large, energetic, and adventurous noble family. Jane's parents have 7 children. Except for her disabled brother George, she is the only person in the family who does not have an official portrait.


The most common portrait of Jane Austen that people see now is based on a rough watercolor sketch of Jane’s sister Cassandra, which has been made with a considerable degree of beautification.


It’s easy to imagine Jane as the Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice: with dignified, sedate and intelligent eyes, she always looks at a neighbor’s "who must marry a wife" with a slightly sly and mischievous look. "Wealthy bachelor", she lives in a quiet country. The major event of her life is to live in the city or go outing with friends and neighbors. The changes in the era seem to be in another dimension far away from her. She is open-minded and easy-going, most of the reasons. It is because of having a dad who upholds the wisdom of life, "Life is nothing more than making others laugh, and then laugh at others".


She doesn't have any autobiographical texts. The women in her family seem to have the habit of keeping diaries, but there are no words from Jane Austen in these diaries. Most of Jane's letters were burned. Perhaps her family subconsciously wanted to protect her privacy. The more reason might be that in this big family, she has never been taken seriously, just like her absence in the family portrait.


Indeed, the Austin family has no shortage of brilliant and talented men. Most of the male relatives have achieved success in the secular sense, while the female relatives have gained attention from the real world. Some of Jane’s elder brothers studied at prestigious schools, some inherited large fortunes from their adoptive parents, some became admiral of the navy, and some became popular in the business world; Jane’s aunt once went to India alone at a young age, and Jane’s cousin became After the French Countess, she became the widow of the victim on the guillotine during the Revolution.




At first glance, Jane Austen’s life is indeed very ordinary. Her world seems to be confined to the "three or four families" in her writing. The big and small things and the ups and downs she has experienced are not worthwhile in any era. She is as smart and sensitive as simple, but she possesses the supernatural power of translating memory into the macrocosm. She is good at observing and possesses a “real sense of humor based on a frank mentality” that is rare for women at the time. She can perceive everything in a small world. Thousands of weather, finally use novels to show the edge of humanity. Jane was unmarried all his life, and she was only 42 years old when she passed away. But today, people still read her and love to read her. This is a kind of same-frequency resonance on the spiritual level between human beings in fragile and difficult to continue emotional relationships. The beautiful tacit understanding.


Claire Tomalin, the author of "The Biography of Jane Austen," said: "It's not a person, but a book; it's not marriage, but art, which became her adventure."


"Eloquent blood and gentle cheeks"

In the Austin era, it was against the genre for women to write books, and novels were a literary genre that was underestimated. Jane probably never thought of going down in history. She was engaged in writing and shared housework, without the vanity and pride of a writer.


Jane's male relatives and friends rarely affirmed or encouraged her writing. When her brother wrote a nostalgic article about Jane, he was full of praise for her personality and personality, but rarely talked about the quality and content of her writing. Women's evaluation of her is more complicated. Although they admit that Jane has a "good smile and light walk", they also look at her sharply. Tomalin concluded that this was the trouble caused by Jane's "stingling wisdom". When Jane's cousin commented on her, she was not very friendly, saying that she was "willful and pretentious, not pretty at all", which did not fit the traditional image of a girl.


How could she meet it? Among the people she knows well, she is apostate. As the daughter of a pastor, no one prays in her novels, no one goes to church, and rarely seeks strength from God or the pastor. But in the eyes of another female writer, Charlotte Bronte, who was a little later than her, Jane Austen was hopelessly conservative: "She has no idea about passion... ("Pride and Prejudice") It's just an accurate and stereotyped depiction of an ordinary face, a well-fenced, highly cultivated garden, but no bright and vivid landscape...I don't want to live with her lady and gentleman in those elegant but cramped houses. "


Although Charlotte Bronte's evaluation is harsh and unfair, it is not difficult to imagine why she criticized Jane Austen from the style of the works of the two writers. "Jane Eyre" is an unrestrained romance that whizzes through the wasteland, and Jane Austen's works do lack strong sensory stimulation.


Bronte would not have thought that the first novel in life written by Jane Austen, who "did not understand passion" at the age of 14, was actually a black comedy, "denying family virtues and ethics with passion and authority" , And has a sense of humor of "from beginning to end, majestic and never exhausted". It is difficult for the world to imagine that Jane Austen’s two most prestigious books "Sense and Emotion" and "Pride and Prejudice" were written in the most bleak period of her and her sister Cassandra: then, Cassandra Ra’s fiancé died in a foreign land, while Jane Austen experienced a painful loss of love due to no property. Jane Austen is restrained. After understanding the fragility of eros, experiencing the painful cringe and the unattainable taste after the blood boiled, her work is no longer the absurd frenzy of her youth, and her tension exists in Under the long flowing still water, between the corners of the eyes and eyebrows of pouring tea, pacing and Zhanxin.


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