Affiliation with UVic English: Undergraduate Student, B.A. Hons 2009; Graduate Student, M.A. 2011
Special Book: Persuasion, Jane Austen
When did you first read this book: I cannot recall, possibly because any part of life in which I was unaware of this novel is not worth remembering.
Which sentence from this book has special significance for you?
“Yes, yes, if you please, no reference to examples in books. Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything.”
What does the sentence mean to you?
This is the moment in which Austen brings her literary agenda to the fore: to place the pen in women’s hands and give their stories value regardless of how misguided or foolish or inconsequential they seem.
It is also one of the most polite yet absolute shut-downs ever. I have always been secretly disappointed that Anne didn’t run off to start an all-ladies debate team in the end.