You like Jane Austen? You are probably wrong

Fran Lebowitz does an interview with the Morgan Library about why people like Jane Austen for the wrong reasons, and learn to read the wrong way. "A book," she says, "is not supposed to be a mirror. It's supposed to be a door."

She says Jane Austen shows us human nature in a true way, she's intelligent, and she uses class structure to her advantage, and that is why she's so successful, not because she's full of lovely romance. Thoughts?


  1. pshaa. I don't see why a book can't be a mirror AND a door? Who is she to put limits on literature?

    Anyway i like Jane Austen for the class structure AND the romance. I'm complicated like that...

  2. She can suck it. That's like saying if you like pizza for the cheese instead of the sauce then you aren't eating it correctly.

  3. Can't I like a book for whatever reasons I want?

  4. Laurel: heart.

    And psh, SarahAnn, no, you can only like books for the reasons I think they're good. It's science, can't be helped...

  5. The best books allow the reader to escape into another world. This is why women enjoy romance novels and men enjoy DYI novels,

  6. Oops I meant DIY not Do You Itself. My bad.

  7. I never got into Jane Austen because I thought she was writing romances for teenage girls, which I didn't even like when I was a teenage girl.

    Now that I hear she's "corrosive," I will have to check her out in a bad girlish sort of way.

    The mirror and the door idea appealed to me. I think it works both ways and it is rather obnoxious to just see the work as a mirror.

    Thanks for posting this.