Well, here it is at long last – the final book I read for this year’s Austen in August readathon. Let’s forget for a moment that it’s already December, shall we?
In the first chapter of Searching for Jane Austen, entitled ‘Dear Aunt Jane: Putting Her Down and Touching Her Up’, Emily Auerbach wonders:
Why … do readers of The Ancient Mariner, A Christmas Carol, and Moby-Dick give little thought to the marital status of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charles Dickens, and Herman Melville (or should we call them Samuel, Charles, and Herman)? When we think of Milton’s Paradise Lost, do we wonder about John’s marriages (he had three)? Was there a Mrs Chaucer?
Rudyard Kipling (did he marry? do we care?) felt moved to write a verse tribute in 1926 called not “Austen’s Writing” but “Jane’s Marriage,” beginning with the writer ascending into heaven … Finally “Jane” finds every woman’s true reward: not immortality or pride in her own craft, but Mr. Right.