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What would Jane do?

I read to the end of this interesting piece before realizing that the writer taking moral instruction from Jane Austen was a man. Describing what attracts him to Jane in the Wall Street Journal, James Collins may find himself attracting marriage proposals from women similarly drawn to -

self- knowledge, generosity, humility; elegance, propriety, cheerful orderliness; good understanding, correct opinion, knowledge of the world, a warm heart, steady, observant, moderate, candid, sensibility to what is amiable and lovely.

But I think James may have omitted two qualities essential to Jane, the inmost being of the men she admires in her novel Persuasion - courage and self-sacrifice in a cause greater than themselves.

Comments (2)


I liked that list of adjectives, too...I imagined it as a pre-flight checklist before a Sticky Situation.


Pre-flight checklist before a Sticky Situation. Indeed.

And to that checklist I'd add two that struck me very forcefully in a recent rereading of Mansfield Park - honesty and duty.

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