Who needs a 21st Century guru?
“I always deserve the best treatment because I never put up with any other.”
– Jane Austen in Emma
Bookstores are awash in self-help books, guides to the good life, volumes of advice, psuedo-philosophy/psychology and just plain pap. My friend Jone Bosworth reminded me that we used to glean that knowledge from literature.
As just one example, Jone points to English novelist Jane Austen (1775-1817). She wasn’t out flacking her advice on the streets of London; she rarely left the homes she shared with her mother and sister. Yet Austen’s books–including Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815)–are rife with still-valuable insights.
“You don’t have to be an Austen fan to appreciate the lessons on how we should expected to be treated, who we need to surround ourselves with, and who is really the best judge of our choices,” Jone said in a recent post, Austen Top Ten for 21st Century Women.
Here are just five Austen-isms, compiled by Jone, that I’m contemplating (leading a simplified life allows time for contemplation.)
- “My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” (Pride and Prejudice)
- “If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.” (Northanger Abbe)
- “Success supposes endeavor.” (Emma)
- “Pictures of perfection make me sick and wicked.” (Jane Austen, letter 1817)
- “It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.” (Sense and Sensibility)