It is a minor footnote in the story of Jane Austen that, despite writing so intimately and incisively about courtship and matters of the heart, she never married herself. And yet a recent Washington Post article, strangely scheduled to coincide with her birthday (December 16) and also the 200th anniversary of her death (July 1817), takes her “spinsterhood” (their term) as the defining dilemma of the author’s existence, weaving a demeaning biography full of lines like:
But what about Austen’s own flushed cheeks and charm out on a dance floor?
This scene suggests she was not frigid with men, as Virginia Woolf was.
Austen could either live the life of marching up to matrimony — or she could write about that life.
It is not a good look, as they say. What they did perhaps not expect is to get fucking dragged for the story on Twitter like it was a sports hot take. But then, anyone who’s familiar with Austen’s writing knows it sparkles with an acidic wit that apparently her fans in the contemporary literary community share.
Sci-fi and fantasy authors found a lot to skewer in the Post article’s premise:
Anyway, point being: Do not fuck with Jane Austen Twitter. They are mobilized, and they will come for you.