If you’re a fan of Shannon Hale, you probably know that Midnight in Austenland, her follow-up to adult novel Austenland, was recently released. Over at figment, Hale talks about what Jane Austen meant to her at various points in her life. On different readings, Pride and Prejudice could be a love story, social commentary, or a comic novel. Hale says:
“Many people ask me, why do you think Jane Austen is so enduring? Simple answer: she writes books people want to reread. Books mean different things to different people at different times.”
I entirely agree. A lot of people dismiss Austen as old-fashioned chick lit, but her writing is sharp and funny and she understands very grounded social concerns. Going to a ball isn’t just a fun night out; it means the possibility of meeting someone halfway decent so you’re not left homeless at age twenty. She writes about real family drama and social power struggles. I’d wager that more people can relate to that than they can to the subjects of many other classic novels. And I think this is another reason that Austen can appeal so much to the YA audience.
Make sure to check out Hale’s full post. And if you want more, she and other YA authors–Elizabeth Eulberg and E. Lockhart–are talking about Jane Austen’s continued popularity on Monday, February 13. How cool is that?