Those of you who follow me, likely know that I live about a quarter of the year in Bath, United Kingdom. And of course literary buffs know that Bath is the home of the renowned author Jane Austen. I’ve consulted the work of William Deresiewicz’s book A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter on the following key lessons:
- Austen teaches us through the character Emma that moral responsibility means taking responsibility for the little world (what’s in our immediate control) not the big world. It means taking responsibility for ourselves!
- Pride and Prejudice, though the character Elizabeth, reinforces that growing up is about the character and conduct we embrace when learning from our mistakes. We are born with a whole novel of mistakes in front of us. How we are self-accountable and learn from them is most important.
- In the novel Mansfield Park, Jane Austen teaches us that love is a verb not a noun. Her story weaves and reinforces the concept of usefulness and value to other. In conclusion she reinforces that people’s stories are the most thing people have. Subsequently paying attention and listening to people’s stories is one of the most important things we can do for them.
- The world’s best literature, from Austen to Shakespeare, has wonderful lessons for us. Let’s give ourselves time to read and learn from them. This is almost counterintuitive to the fast paced world of the web and other media.
- Jane Austen’s conveyance of the importance of applying self-accountability, respect, and abundance flows through all of her novels and their rich characters. Recognize that there is something powerful to learn from the characters in novels and other media that passes the test of time.
Yesterday I walked past Jane Austen’s former home and through Sydney gardens where she famously walked daily. It made the sense of her work, which I once dismissed as “fluff,” now feel authentically very meaningful.
Love is a verb in Jane Austen’s Character Triangle,