[ . portrait, by Ozias Humphry (circa 1790)]
there’s fresh debate over whether this portrait is really of jane austen.
it matters of course, but does it really?
it’s not occurred to me to be troubled by her faceless persona. i think of her through the wit and spirit of her books. i see many visages of jane austen filtered through them, both characters and context: the stubborn individuality of elizabeth bassett, the idealisations of darcy, wretchful heartbreaks, and regrets. regrets both accidentally and circumstantial-
and the many many conflicting strands of expectations and dreams that surround us.
from jane austen:
Business, you know, may bring you money, but friendship hardly ever does.
The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.
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