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Saturday, August 22, 2015

WORDS TO LIVE BY: a colorful conversation

It's time for another colorful conversation with some of my favorite Janeites! You guys already know I love these (and I'm loving your feedback on our most recent convo!), so let's get down to it!
This time I asked:

Wise Austen: Best piece of advice or words to live by, from Austen's works (or letters)?

MISTY: I think I'd be bound to pick something smart-assy (and Austen was a magnificent smartass), so I'm going to try to exercise my own wisdom, and let someone else start. . .
LAURIE: One cannot help but return, again and again, to these immortal words from a 1799 letter to Cassandra Austen:
“I cannot help thinking that it is more natural to have flowers grow out of the head than fruit.”
MISTY: Oh, good, I'm not the only one who goes immediately to smartass. . .
LAURIE: *laughs* Nevertheless, my favorite is still Elizabeth Bennet’s moment of truth in Pride and Prejudice:
 “Had I been in love, I could not have been more wretchedly blind. But vanity, not love, has been my folly. -- Pleased with the preference of one, and offended by the neglect of the other, on the very beginning of our acquaintance, I have courted prepossession and ignorance, and driven reason away, where either were concerned. Till this moment, I never knew myself.”
Four sentences packed with life lessons. Which one should ponder, of course, with flowers growing out of one’s head instead of fruit.
MISTY:  "'Til this moment, I never knew myself" is excellent. (But smartass that I am, I'd apply it to ridiculous situations. None so meaningful as that.) *winks. Remembers what she looks like when she winks, and then gives a VERY exaggerated wink for good measure.*
LISA: “We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.” —from Mansfield Park
MISTY: Ahh, yes. I wondered how long it'd take that one to crop up. I think it should just be emblazoned on every yearbook, ever.  *resists the urge to wink. . . barely*
MARIA: Jane Austen has so many good words of advice. A couple I really like are: Respect for right conduct is felt by everybody and There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart. (Both from Emma by the way.)
MISTY: On theme, even!
CECILIA: Emma: I always deserve the best treatment, because I never put up with any others.
MISTY: Gahhhd, yes! Yes, yes!
CECILIA: In addition to being a saucy, Beyonce-loving Independent Woman quote, the timing is perfect.
MISTY: And people wonder why I love Emma-the-character.
CECILIA: It's something Emma could have believably said at any point, but is reserved for after she corrects her bad treatment of Knightley, Harriet and Robert. My big takeaway: When you treat others well, you expect others to treat you well, and they sense this and treat you better. Circle of life pay it forward, respect-style.
MARGARET: There is one line in Northanger Abbey that I quote to myself all the time, mostly in regard to business-related communications.
MISTY: Knew I could count on you to bring some Northanger!
MARGARET: *winks, far less awkwardly than Misty* It's from Volume II, Chapter XIV (29). Catherine Morland has arrived home after her dismissal from the Abbey, and is writing to Eleanor Tilney to return the money she had borrowed for her journey.
"To compose a letter which might once do justice to her sentiments and her situation, convey gratitude without servile regret, be guarded without coldness, and honest without resentment -- a letter which Eleanor might not be pained by the perusal of -- and, above all, which she might not blush herself, if Henry should chance to see, was an undertaking to frighten away all her powers of performance; and, after long thought and much perplexity, to be very brief was all that she could determine on with any confidence of safety."
In other words--don't overexplain. It will only get you in trouble. Anyone working in a professional position should embroider that--"to be very brief was all she could determine on with any confidence of safety"--and hang it in her cubicle.
MARGARET: Career advice from Jane Austen and Catherine Morland! Who knew?
MISTY: And people think Catherine's nothing but a bit of fluff! pfft! How about the rest of you? Favorite Austen quotes? Phrases you want on a mug or embroidered & hanging in your office? *nudges Maggie* Judging by my reaction to Mrs. Elton in yesterday's Fave Emma Moments, I should maaaaybe go with:
“I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.”
*one last awkward wink, for good measure*

Big thanks to:
Maria Grace, author of Mistaking Her Character, et al.
Cecilia Gray, author of The Jane Austen Academy series
Lisa Pliscou, author of Young Jane Austen
Margaret C. Sullivan, author of Jane Austen Cover to Cover, et al.
Laurie Viera Rigler, author of the Jane Austen Addict series

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  1. "Angry people are not always wise." from P&P and I can't remember the exact words, but something about 'if a book is well written, its usually short.' I totally relate to the book one. I feel like I just fly through reading a book when I really love it.

  2. "Men of good sense do not want silly wives" is one of my favorites. As is, of course, "The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid."

  3. I like this quote. "Nobody minds having what is too good for them." It's taken from Mansfield Park

  4. I can't pick just one! "I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires or anything than a book." "My good opinion once lost, is lost forever."

  5. I can't pick just one! "I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires or anything than a book." "My good opinion once lost, is lost forever."


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