LETTERS TO ALICE on first reading Jane Austen by Fay Weldon

DSC_0003How to explain Jane Austen’s world to a young woman of eighteen? We spend our whole lives thinking that we know everything and that no one can teach us anything. This happens not only to teenagers but all of us. We realise, usually too late how little we did know about some subjects and how partial we were about some events.

I like Jane Austen, my Jane Austen, the one who wrote about ironic females who understood that they needed to get married (in the past, fortunately not nowadays). These females who tried until the last moment to look around and see how faulty the world is, with such injustices, social classes distinction, opportunities and geder differences.

Fay Weldon through some letters to her niece, explains to her what was around in Jane Austen’s world. Sickness, marriage market, fears, sex, and all of those things that affected their lives, that they lived as normal things, even if we can not understand now how they could be living like this.

After reading this book, Mrs Bennett is not so ridiculous, Charlotte is not a poor spinster wishing to change her situation, and Emma shows us at the end how her class thinks about her surrounding.

I liked a lot the example of people receivingd their letters faster than nowadays. Weldon once again shows us how different life was and how it was real to be poor in the 18th century.

“… letters could be posted in London one evening and be delivered in Hereford the next morning. Because people were so poor – most people – they would run, and toil, and sweat all day and all night to save themselves and their children from starvation.”

Or this other one that seems enlightening to me: ” ‘Instinct’ usually just means our conditioning to believe this or believe that, without thinking to investigate.”

Faydownload Weldon, Novelist, playwright and screenwriter Fay Weldon was born on 22 September 1931.

Fay Weldon has been for several decades one of Britain’s most popular novelists. Prolific and indefatigable in chronicling the turbulent lives and loves of her characters (especially women), her books are characterised by their wittily barbed dialogue, satirical scenarios and dystopian visions.

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