Tag Archives: Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s Choose-Your-Own-Adventure

Thank you, Tom Gauld.

via Pensées sans ordre


“It is distressing for visitors to see mounds of human ash.”

A display called “The End?” looks at the way some admirers seek total communion, even in death. The curators quote a letter from the director of Jane Austen’s House Museum, who in 2008 implored Janeites not to direct their heirs to scatter their ashes on the grounds.

“It is distressing for visitors,” she noted, “to see mounds of human ash.”

But the Folger itself is a mausoleum. As the show notes, the ashes of Henry Clay Folger and Emily Folger, the library’s founders, are interred in the nearby reading room behind a plaque paying tribute to “the glory of William Shakespeare and the greater glory of God.”

“With that kind of idolatry, your first instinct may be to snicker,” Ms. Barchas said. “But then you have to stop and think seriously about what it is that you yourself love about literature.”

–Jennifer Schuessler, ‘Will and Jane’: Two Literary Superheroes, United in Pop Culture

Nothing but a rough hedgerow

“This is pretty—very pretty,” said Fanny, looking around her as they were thus sitting together one day: Every time I come into this shrubbery I am more struck with its growth and beauty. Three years ago, this was nothing but a rough hedgerow along the upper side of the field, never thought of as any thing, or capable of becoming any thing; and now it is converted into a walk, and it would be difficult to say whether most valuable as a convenience or an ornament; and perhaps in another three years we may be forgetting—almost forgetting what it was before. How wonderful, how very wonderful the operations of time, and the changes of the human mind!” And following the latter train of thought, she soon afterwards added: “If any one faculty of our nature may be called more wonderful than the rest, I do think it is memory. There seems something more speakingly incomprehensible in the powers, the failures, the inequalities of memory, than in any other of our intelligences. The memory is sometimes so retentive, so serviceable, so obedient—at other, so bewildered and so weak—and at others again, so tyrannic, so beyond controul!—We are to be sure a miracle every way—but our powers of recollecting and of forgetting, do seem peculiarly past finding out.”

—Jane Austen, Mansfield Park (1814)