Thursday, September 13, 2012

For Real Toads: the most admirable Jane

a sense of humor
a sense of self
a lack of shyness
above all else
had my heroine Jane

she wrote early,
and well for her age,
volumes of story
and characters
with tongue, perhaps,
in cheek even then
Jane matured
and made the name Austen
a subject of some debate
in Englande Olde
“irony, realism and satire”
agreed critics years later
and the satire
was, I think, the best
decades later
another parson’s poet daughters
hid behind assumed names
and Acton Bell
but when their books came out
did their own names adorn them?
and Anne Bronte?
do you suppose they thought
even for a moment
of Jane Austen
who came before
to pave the way for women who wrote
instead of playing the pianoforte?
probably not, but I'd like to think they did

© Kay L. Davies, 2012

How fortunate we are that we needn't resort to subterfuge in order to get out written work out there. I can't imagine being a writer in the England of Jane Austen or, although it was a little later, the England of the Bronte sisters. It was extremely difficult for female writers to be taken seriously in the 1700s and early to mid 1800s.

This is posted in response to Isadora Gruye's challenge to members and contributors at the online writers' group, Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.
Thanks, Izy. It took me a while to get a handle on this, but I enjoyed trying. I'm the kind of Jane Austen fan who reads Pride and Prejudice every couple of years, just to laugh aloud, every time.
Pictures of books from Wikipedia


Joyful said...

I love Jane Austen and her novels.

Kay said...

Pride and Prejudice was the book that got me started reading classics from that time period. I couldn't get used to the old English language pattern until I finally got hooked with that book. Even though she was never married, she really understood people and romantic situations. said...

even in modern history, women have had to publish under male pseudonyms, or just use their initials to give the impression of being a man. J.K. Rowling's publishers didn't feel their target audience {little did they know} of adolescent boys would read the Harry Potter books if they knew a woman was the author. she didn't "come out" until after success was assured.

i enjoyed your take on the prompt!

Susan said...

We have this in common too. I also have all the DVDs, but Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility take first place in the re-reading category. So, your poem is truly focused from dear Jane to Austin to the three sisters. I especially liked being able to read these lines for either character or author:

" and characters
with tongue, perhaps,
in cheek even then"

Daydreamertoo said...

Yes, in those days they were expected to be empty air heads who should on;y be concerned with learning how to be a housewife, keep her husband happy and raise his children. Thank goodness some women wouldn't listen.
Lovely tribute to some great writers. :)

Daryl said...

well done!

Kerry O'Connor said...

You have captured the character of Miss Austen very well.

Helen said...

... and here I believed I was Jane Austen's number one, all time gushy fan! You do her proud with this lovely poem/tribute. I never tire of reading her work, watching film and TV interpretations of them.

Susie Clevenger said...

My daughters are huge fans of Jane Austen fans and are always quoting her works. So grateful for the women who went before us.

Isadora Gruye said...

I cannot play a pianoforte, and can not embroider. I too have admired Austen for her steadfast passion and refusal to give up on capturing the idiosyncratics of her time. This was a very relevant and enlightening piece, Kay! Thanks so much for posting

Margaret said...

and made the name Austen
a subject of some debate

And can you imagine what they would think of how they are held in such high esteem today? I'd LOVE to see their reaction. Wonderfully done!