July 14, 2014

Jane Austen's sister Cassandra painted a portrait of the author that was said to be "hideously unlike" her.



But it was nevertheless used as the basis for a waxwork that, we're told, gets to the real Jane Austen, who was reportedly "very lively, very great fun to be with and a mischievous and witty person." Click here to see the corrected/sweetened version of Jane.

10 comments:

rhhardin said...

So nobody believed Cassandra.

Ann Althouse said...

We were just talking yesterday about the prophet who is not believed, Cassandra. It was an elaborate fantasy about the future...

Funny you should bring that up...

The Godfather said...

I'm not a big fan of Austin, but there's no doubt she was witty, and Cassandra's drawing doesn't capture that. I bet Jane, if she were alive today, would agree with me that she looked like Anne Hathaway (the actress, not the Bard's wife). She'd be a fool not to, and Jane was no fool.

Saint Croix said...

I tried reading Jane Austen and I hated it. Could not read those damn books!

And yet the movies based on her books are awesome. (With the exception of Ang Lee's version). I particularly like Pride and Prejudice, one of the most romantic movies I've ever seen..

See also this and this and this.

It's particularly brilliant setting Austen in high school because the class consciousness is so strong there. I think Clueless is criminally underrated.

(Stacey Dash, by the way, got in trouble for publicly supporting Mitt Romney, after voting for Obama in 2008).

mccullough said...

Sweet Jane

sojerofgod said...

Perhaps the niece was just being nice to Jane who most likely was appalled by the picture even if the portrait was a near-photographic representation.
Our impression of ourselves has less to do with reality than it does with hope.

William said...

A female writer's looks are inversely proportional to her talent as a writer. Great female writers tend to look like George Eliot or Flannery O'Connor. There are a number of second tier writers who are legitimately hot--see Anais Nin or Edna St. Vincent Millay or Collette--but none of the greats were hot...... Perhaps it's just the reverse among male writers. Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, even Tolstoy were all good looking. Hemingway was the grandfather of super models. Does sexism subtly influence our judgement of great male writers and is it strangely absent in our evaluation of great female writers?......In any event, I think the revised portrait is more the way we want to see Jane Austen than the way she really looked.

sydney said...

Poor Jane Austen. She couldn't afford a good portrait painter in her lifetime, so had to make due with her sister's efforts. The opposite of George Eliot, who benefited from a good portraitist but suffered at the hands of the cruelly neutral camera.

Crazy Jane said...

So why are we looking at this? Austen's social criticism has lasted for 200 years and seems likely to go the distance. I don't care how her less talented relative saw her. Same goes for George Eliot and Flannery O'Connor; the works speak for themselves. Are there any non-comely male writers who are subjected to such trivial examination?

Ann Althouse said...

We're looking at this because of the waxwork which is very interestingly different from the painting it was based on.