So for anyone to be described as the “forgotten Jane Austen” it’s high praise indeed. Move on, Susan Ferrier, a near-contemporary of Austen, whose books were well received during her lifetime but who largely got lost in the mists of time.
Today, a celebration of her work is taking place at an Edinburgh hotel, The George, once the townhouse where Ferrier and her family lived, as part of Women’s History Month.
At the time, society somehow thought it was inappropriate for women to have a public role, so Ferrier wrote anonymously, although it became widely known that she was the author. .
Similarly, Austen’s first novel Sense and Sensibility was published with the words “By a lady” replacing its name, while his 1813 book Pride and Prejudice was attributed to “the author of Sense and Sensibility”.
Celebrating Scotland’s ‘forgotten Jane Austen’ at the Edinburgh Hotel where she…
The opening line of this last book – “It is a universally recognized truth, that a single man in possession of good fortune must need a wife” – is so famous that it has become a meme. literary.
And it seems that Ferrier was one of the first to adopt it, beginning her 1824 book, L’Héritage: “It is a universally recognized truth, that there is no passion so deeply rooted in human nature than that of pride.”
We tend to think of memes as a modern creation, born out of the internet, so perhaps Ferrier, like Austen, was also ahead of his time and worth rediscovering.