P.D.James on the mothers in Jane Austen’s novels

February 7, 2010

In the latest edition of the Spectator, P D James reveals she has been “indulging in my annual re-reading of Jane Austen and it has struck me – strangely for the first time – that not one of her five heroines has a satisfactory mother”. I think she’s excluding Emma because her mother doesn’t appear.

She then expands on each of the mothers before concluding that “each of the novels has the same basic plot, the story of a virtuous and attractive woman who overcomes difficulties, including the lack of a mother, to win the husband of her choice. In other words, Mills and Boon written by a genius”.

I’ll photocopy the full article and bring to the next meeting. It could form the basis for a future discussion.