It's been really fun to read Ta-Nehisi Coates discovering what a great writer Jane Austen was. It reminds me when I first discovered her; my school didn't have AP courses, but I heard Pride and Prejudice was on the summer reading list, and so I read it one summer during high school. Coates is right about her knotty, twisty prose and its ability to skewer and uplift in equal measure.
It's always been hard to be an Austen acolyte in America. I think, in college, many people discover that Austen was a feminist social satirist. Before that, most people probably dismiss her as a romance writer who is obsessed with women, their beaus, and so, so many walks. There's always an undercurrent of misogyny in dismissing her books as lady fare. But there aren't many people who know what a fantastic stylist she was, and I'm not sure forcing high school students to read Pride and Prejudice will ever solve that problem.
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