Positive Thoughts on Romance & Novels

 

Continuing with the theme I cannot release from my mind, today I am sharing more Darcy Saga fan quotes, in between the written words of Jane Austen. She loved novels, and despite claiming “…I could no more write a romance than an epic poem. I could not sit seriously down to write a serious romance under any other motive than to save my life…” Austen is considered the unwitting originator of Regency romance and certainly knew how to contrive amazing happily-ever-afters for her heroes and heroines!

A defense of novels by Jane Austen, member of a family of “great novel readers and not ashamed of being so” found in Northanger Abbey ~~

“Yes, novels; — for I will not adopt that ungenerous and impolitic custom so common with novel-writers, of degrading by their contemptuous censure the very performances, to the number of which they are themselves adding — joining with their greatest enemies in bestowing the harshest epithets on such works, and scarcely ever permitting them to be read by their own heroine, who, if she accidentally take up a novel, is sure to turn over its insipid pages with disgust. Alas! if the heroine of one novel be not patronized by the heroine of another, from whom can she expect protection and regard? I cannot approve of it. Let us leave it to the Reviewers to abuse such effusions of fancy at their leisure, and over every new novel to talk in threadbare strains of the trash with which the press now groans. Let us not desert one another; we are an injured body. Although our productions have afforded more extensive and unaffected pleasure than those of any other literary corporation in the world, no species of composition has been so much decried. From pride, ignorance, or fashion, our foes are almost as many as our readers. And while the abilities of the nine-hundredth abridger of the History of England, or of the man who collects and publishes in a volume some dozen lines of Milton, Pope, and Prior, with a paper from the Spectator, and a chapter from Sterne, are eulogized by a thousand pens, — there seems almost a general wish of decrying the capacity and undervaluing the labour of the novelist, and of slighting the performances which have only genius, wit, and taste to recommend them. “I am no novel-reader — I seldom look into novels — Do not imagine that I often read novels — It is really very well for a novel.” — Such is the common cant. — “And what are you reading, Miss –?” “Oh! it is only a novel!” replies the young lady, while she lays down her book with affected indifference, or momentary shame. “It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda“; 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.”

When I happened upon your book I was going through the worst time of my life so far. I was unable to smile or laugh, or even feel happiness. Your book, bought out of mild interest, helped me pull myself together and to believe in love and happy endings.

A lot of people are very critical of romance novels, but I really like them. I understand their role for readers. Your book was mature, but not gratuitous… just the kind of relationship you would hope for Darcy and Elizabeth. As an English teacher (AP Literature & World Literature), I so appreciate all that writers do.

Pride and Prejudice ~ “He [Darcy] expressed himself on the occasion as sensibly and as warmly as a man violently in love can be supposed to do.” How might that be? I can imagine!

I found your book the most thoughtfully planned as well as the best book that highlights the love of William and Lizzy. I enjoyed your book for its worth and reality. Unlike some of the books I have read, yours centers on the aspect of two people learning how to love and truly come together as one rather than some books where overuse of drama is the main plot.

I’m a chronically single woman and I find myself wondering sometimes if I will EVER find the right man for me. I also read and write romance novels. Sometimes I wonder if my expectations are completely unrealistic – until I read stories like yours.

And does romance honestly get any better than this–

“I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in F. W. I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening or never.” Captain Frederick Wentworth’s letter to Anne Elliot in Persuasion

 

One Comment for Positive Thoughts on Romance & Novels

  1. Those lines from Persuasion always make my stomach clench. It’s a man so in love, so desperate to be understood, and only able to try and relate those feelings on paper and having it seem inadequate. How could she resist? I can’t!

    Roz

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