Twitter Is Not Letting The Washington Post Get Away with Mocking Jane Austen
An article in the paper expressed shock that the author wrote about marriage despite being a ‘spinster’
Twitter exploded in laughter and scoffs this weekend after The Washington Post chose to celebrate Jane Austen with a headline that seemed bemused at her perpetual singleness — even though she wrote about marriage.
Jane Austen was the master of the marriage plot. But she remained single. https://t.co/BwBp51el8U
What? A writer just… making things up? In fiction???
Mind you, “marriage plot” books aren’t even about marriage — they’re about dating. But that’s beside the point. The point is, it’s pretty common for fiction written by women to be treated as if it must be memoir — and then dismissed as unserious because it’s not an epic triumph of the imagination. We saw it most recently with the viral short story “Cat Person,” but even Jane Austen isn’t immune. Two hundred years after the author’s death, she’s still being called a “spinster” in The Washington Post — and people are still expressing shock that she somehow managed to write about marriage without having lived through it. (The article also says Virginia Woolf was “frigid with men”! It’s a triumph on many levels.)
But 2017 has one thing over 1817: Twitter does not suffer such foolishness gladly.
Shirley Jackson was the mid-century master of disquieting tales. But she was never stoned to death in a mob ritual. https://t.co/o5PNFVkGzC
Mary Shelley invented science fiction. But she never made a human out of dead body parts." https://t.co/0M6gLsHI8S
Karl Marx wrote the book on capitalism. But he remained a communist. https://t.co/g6xiQk1N05
I wrote about a 439 year old man. And yet I am 42. Fiction is weird. https://t.co/ZysWN1pWTZ
Herman Melville wrote Moby Dick, but he wasn't a whale! https://t.co/ASMvzYHljz
you'd be amazed at how many crime writers have never even murdered ONE person. https://t.co/pYwW3f6qZg
Even Neil Gaiman weighed in, in a weird oblique third-person way:
Neil Gaiman won the Newbery Medal for a book set in a graveyard. But he remains alive and unboxed. https://t.co/AlHT4j2lwq
But this tweet got the last word, or whatever that is:
James Joyce wrote Finnegans Wake. But he never bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronntuonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthurnuk. https://t.co/dpBbWVWBpl
We are not the authors of The Giving Tree, but we’re still enjoying the shade.