Thursday, January 2, 2014

How to Be a Minor Jane Austen Heroine

"All were contented to pass quietly and carefully down the steep flight, excepting Louisa; she must be jumped down them by Captain Wentworth. In all their walks, he had had to jump her from the stiles; the sensation was delightful to her. The hardness of the pavement for her feet, made him less willing upon the present occasion; he did it, however. She was safely down, and instantly, to show her enjoyment, ran up the steps to be jumped down again. He advised her against it, thought the jar too great; but no, he reasoned and talked in vain, she smiled and said, "I am determined I will": he put out his hands; she was too precipitate by half a second, she fell on the pavement on the Lower Cobb."
—Jane Austen, Persuasion, ch. 12
This is by way of saying that yesterday, as I was jumping around on a concrete barrier at the beach at Pacifica, I slipped and fell and banged up my leg pretty bad. As I lay on the sofa with an ice pack on my swelling leg, I tried to make the best of it by thinking of myself as a 21st-century Austen character — because it was all very much like the scene where Louisa Musgrove slips and falls while jumping around on the seawall at Lyme Regis.

If only I'd had some Jane Austen bandages at my disposal, huh? (I saw these in a gift shop when I was in Oregon over Christmas.)

So, this clearly shows that I'm someone who thinks too much about literary heroines and how I may or may not resemble them. That's why I'm eager to read the new book by my friend Samantha Ellis, How to Be a Heroine, which was published in the U.K. today! (Will it find a U.S. publisher or should I just order it from, I wonder?) It's billed as "a funny, touching, inspiring exploration of the role of heroines, and our favourite books, in all our lives – and how they change over time, for better or worse, just as we do." In other words, it sounds like the kind of friendly, feminist, literary-nerd book that I've always wanted to read. Congratulations, Sam!

Sam's publisher has also put out a "which literary heroine are you?" quiz to promote the book; according to it, I'm Anne of Green Gables.

Bonus link to one of my blog posts from 2007: Am I a Jane Austen Heroine

No comments: