Plain Jane

jane austen sketchPlain Jane: “It is only a novel… 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.”

-Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey 

This year I’m heading back to the books. It’s been too long since novels have occupied my brain-space and I’m looking forward to giving them their niche back.

Plain Jane

jane austen sketchPlain Jane: “If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.”

-Jane Austen in Emma 

Sort of a strange truth, but one I believe very much in: the feelings that are most true, sincere, pure, and heartfelt are usually those least spoken of. The best lovers are often the quiet ones; the best friends usually listen; the best parents show their care in quiet, simple ways, and Jane knew, despite her incredible abilities to compose a sentence, that the greatest love cannot be put into words.

Plain Jane

jane austen sketchPlain Jane: “. . . it was not in her nature to question the veracity of a young man of such amiable appearance as Wickham.”

-Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice

A little superficial judgment is nothing new, even in the nineteenth century looks were overcoming bad behavior left and right. If only Jane could see celebrity culture now, I think she would see quite a number of beauties-behaving-badly that would make Wickham look like quite the innocent.

Plain Jane

pride and prejudice sketchPlain Jane: ““For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”

-Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice

…or, to laugh at Christmas Lifetime movies as I did on my Monday night. I think Jane would have been quite the critic of modern entertainment…either that, or so horrified she would, for the first time ever, have been stunned into silence.

Plain Jane

jane austen sketchPlain Jane: “I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.”

-Jane Austen in her letters

That’s a Monday-saying if I ever heard one. I think Jane was much like Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, once her good opinion was lost, it was lost forever.

Plain Jane

jane austen illustration mollands.netPlain Jane: “I am a very good housekeeper, which I have no reluctance in doing, because I really think it is my peculiar excellence, and for this reason, I always take care to provide such things as please my own appetite, which I consider as the chief merit in housekeeping.”


-Jane Austen in her letters

I would very much like to see Jane at her house. I think she would have had nothing in her home that she didn’t absolutely love and that is something to be respected. I don’t even think Martha Stewart could have convinced her to add a drape where Jane didn’t desire it.

Plain Jane

Jane Austen illustrationsPlain Jane: “God bless you. I hope you continue beautiful and brush your hair, but not all off.”

-Jane Austen in a letter to her brother

I couldn’t help myself but share this one; I actually laughed out loud at it. I like to imagine Jane at her writing desk smirking at these little one-liners she pops into her letters and novels. Out of all the writers and artists of her time, she seems to not take herself quite so seriously. Her bad days don’t turn into dark, troubling musings, her good days don’t force her into bloated prose about abstract concepts. She seems to always be, just plain Jane.