I spent my teenage years hating Jane Austen, rolling my eyes at the pomp-and-circumstance tea-party romance of it all, at the whole culture of “female” oriented book clubs discussing Mr. Darcy and dreaming of petticoats and weekends in the country. And then late in college, I had to take a 19th-century lit class last-minute to fulfill a requirement. My professor introduced good ole’ Jane by telling us to imagine the voice of all of her novels as that of a very intelligent and bitterly sarcastic wealthy British woman trapped in her society and enraged by inequality but feeling absolutely powerless, writing biting satire because it was her only option, and finding ways to make the dull, repressive monotony of female society life complex and intriguing, and finding ways to write downright raunchy novels about sex and power with the most elaborate of euphemisms, enabling conversations about patriarchy and femininity and heteronormativity and exchange for, oh, you know, the next few centuries. And suddenly - whether it was intentional or not - her novels were about an awful lot more than just tea parties.
At which point Jane Austen became fucking awesome. Which is why I deem this brand-spanking new cover by Ruben Toledo totally worth blogging about. (And while I’m less than enthused about the Bronte sisters, the Wuthering Heights cover there is still pretty rad as well.) [via Refinery29]