Universally Civil by Julie Bozza We were recently sent this article by Julie Bozza who has been editing a new anthology of Jane Austen inspired stories. In her article Julie gives some great examples of people and events within Austen’s novels which illustrate that she was an incredible humanist (as well as an amazing author). We hope you enjoy reading her article as much as we did! *** Jane Austen’s novels appeal to a wide audience for many reasons. Her main characters are determined to make their own choices, and, although they conform to society’s gender roles, Austen treats the men and women as equally valuable. Vitally, her stories support the need to accept each other’s differences, and get along. I have recently had the honour of editing an anthology titled A Certain Persuasion: Modern LGBTQ+ fiction inspired by Jane Austen’s novels. It features a wide range of stories – from Harriet Smith (of Emma) daydreaming about how romantic it must be to be stolen away in the night by a lady dressed as a man, and to be galloped off with across the moors by moonlight – to a retelling of Pride and Prejudice, with a modern-day Darcy in a reality TV dance show trying to live up to wearing Colin Firth’s britches, and more interested in his former dance-partner’s brother than in her. The idea behind the anthology may seem odd, as Jane Austen’s novels are usually seen as celebrating marriage between a man and a woman,
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