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Happy 200th Birthday, Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen was a rockstar and today is the 200th birthday of her best known book: Pride and Prejudice. I’ve read it at least once a year since I was foetal; have you read it yet, even ONCE? WHY NOT, MOTHER FLIPPER?

Here are five reasons why you should, WITH QUOTES:

• The first line is a master class in irony: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

• Its heroine, Elizabeth, is bitchy, and judgmental, and prejudiced (ooh)

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and its hero, Mr Darcy, is stubborn, socially awkward, and proud (DOUBLE OOH) which makes them JUST LIKE ME AND MY FRIENDS: “We are each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole room.”

• In spite of the fact that, as a woman, whose brain-room is taken up by uterus and needlepoint, she has no capacity for supporting herself, Lizzie still thinks you shouldn’t get married without like, love and stuff: “Your plan is a good one,” replied Elizabeth, “where nothing is in question but the desire of being well married, and if I were determined to get a rich husband, or any husband, I dare say I should adopt it.” (And then she DOESN’T, so…)

• It is essentially a book about a girl who likes to make fun of people as much as she can. She is my HERO: “Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies, do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can.”

• Lady Catherine de Bourgh, bitch supreme: “I take no leave of you, Miss Bennet. I send no compliments to your mother. You deserve no such attention. I am most seriously displeased.”

Jane was a girl who lived when women of her class did not work and she said, “Screw you all, fuck the patriarchy, I’mma hella WRITE, bitches, and there ain’t no thang you can do to stop me.” And she didn’t just follow the accepted popular formula of winsome nymphets, noble-to-the-point-of-boredom “heroes” and dangerously seductive villains, she wrote PEOPLE. Men who tried really hard but were super flaky and women who knew they should be accomplished but just couldn’t be bothered practicing the piano.

If you don’t believe me about how kick-ass this woman was, trip over to All Quiet On The Wench Front, with pictures by our own Florence Vincent, for more impassioned Austentation.

Additional reading: Northanger Abbey, which includes the line “Mrs. Allen was one of that numerous class of females, whose society can raise no other emotion than surprise at there being any men in the world who could like them well enough to marry them.”

AWESOME WORK, JANE, WE LOVE YOU.

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Work in Prowess is the ravings of a mad king left to rot in a besieged palace

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