Why read Jane Austen?

Portrait of the writer Jane Austen


Pedro Pallares, author of the book published by Ediciones Universidad de Navarra (EUNSA), outlines the structure of implicit veracity in the writer’s books

must read to Jane Austen To enjoy unique characters. Without stereotypes, with a huge variety of nuances, made inside and out. Austen wrote her novels to entertain her readers: ‘Sense and Sensibility’ (1811), ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (1813), ‘Mansfield Park’ (1814), ‘Emma’ (1816); and after her death, ‘Northanger Abbey and Persuasion’ (1818). She received the education that was offered to any woman of her status. The literary references to her in her letters, books, and early drafts of hers show a voracious reader which, added to the intellectual background of his family and his natural talent for observation, contributed to his a particular literary style.

Despite not being a philosopher, nor trying to debate positions of this type, she structured her stories around the veracity or consistency of her characters. That is, from those qualities that not only made them credible but true, in the sense of live authenticallywith a mature personality, with a true character. In ‘Why Read Jane Austen? Authenticity, identity and harmony’, recently published by EUNSA, Pedro Pallares seeks to show the traits of that personality and through maturation process with which Jane Austen delineated her heroines and villains: Who is she really? Who deceives others? Why could she get away with it? How to recognize falsehood? How to wake up from an alienated life? What arouses the desire for authenticity? How to achieve it? What does he who manages to be real receive?

So his novels were written with a effort to reflect reality, laugh at it and recognize oneself in its story. In this sense, he would have to know how to ‘see’ temperaments, gauge intentions, and imagine the coherent narrative line of a person who lives from what ‘is’. For this reason, Pallares tells us that «Jane Austen’s novels only narrate the lives of characters who belong to the social classes that she really knew: no taller than Mr. Darcy or the Woodhouses –never belonging to royalty, for example– ; no more modest than the Misses. Steele, or Harriet Smith –never servants, for example–». Although it is true that she never tried to elaborate a philosophy, teach history or promote a political movement in her readers, “it is true that from Jane Austen we can learn something about history or politics. Such a penetrating and intelligent work, especially with such wisdom and human sense, surely tells us more than an extensive manual that covers many subjects, but is superficial.

If this intention, almost ‘obsession’, guided your novels, what traits give consistency to a person to make them ‘real’? What disintegrates it and makes it unrecognizable? What kind of life does he lead? What relationships does it build? What is the appropriate plot in which that type of person manifests? How does a person destroy himself when he hides in his fantasy? How does someone immature behave who deceives who he really is? In this book, Pedro Pallares tries to delineate that structure of implicit truth in his books. The one that would make a character believable and give consistency to the story.

Cover of the book ‘Why read Jane Austen?’

Image - Cover of the book 'Why read Jane Austen?'


Title: ‘Why read Jane Austen?’

Caption: Authenticity, identity and harmony

Author: Pedro Pallares Yabur

Year of the edition: 2022

Editorial: University of Navarra Editions (EUNSA)

– Paper

– Digital

– Unebook