What Jane Austen Could do with Technology

Jane-Austen-Book-Cover-iPhone-CaseIf you’re anything like me, you have grown up with the classical romance stories written by Jane Austen. Over a century later, her novels are still so popular that there is a market for books that are spin–offs from her original stories. So, with these timeless romances in mind, one wouldn’t generally think of texting or emailing during a rocky courtship to be romantic.

I remember when one of my boyfriends from high school broke up with me. At the time, I felt like it came out of nowhere and was hurt by the sudden separation. But what made it infinitely worse, was that he broke up with me through email! (I know, I know – but he’s a cool guy now. I promise!:)) So when I think of someone trying to ask a girl out through technology instead of in person, or even over the phone, it seems like a cop-out and entirely unromantic.

However, we are in a technological age, right? I mean, I know a lot of couples who have met over the internet and have been able to make a great, long-lasting relationship from that “unromantic” meeting. I’ll bet some of you could tell me great stories about people getting together through online chats, texting, etc. So, I was trying to open my mind to this idea and wondered what Jane Austen would do with her characters if she were living in today’s world.

I thought about some of my favorite stories and I’ve decided that Jane Austen would probably have loved to take advantage of technology. After all, in Pride and Prejudice, Lizzy rips into Mr. Darcy about his character when he tried to propose. What did Mr. Darcy do? He penned Lizzy a note to clarify the misunderstandings she had of him and his history. What do you think would have happened if they’d been set in modern times? Would Mr. Darcy have sent ten really long texts to explain himself? I personally doubt that would have been his style, but I’m sure he would have sent her an email to explain everything. (I’m thinking he would have found messaging through Facebook too tacky for this circumstance, as well.)

In Persuasion, Mr. Wentworth hears a conversation between Anne and another character about women being more loyal than men. While in the same room, Wentworth writes a letter to Anne to tell her that he’s hurt by her declaration and that he still has feelings for her. He also wrote that he prayed for them to still have chance for their relationship to work out. It was practically a proposal.¬†So if Austen had written those stories today, don’t you think she would have had Mr. Wentworth sending Anne a text explaining that men are just as devoted as women and that the conversation she’s currently having is killing him because he still has feelings for her? I think that would work pretty well.

Of course, part of what makes Jane Austen’s stories so great is the time period in which they are set. It’s great for women to read the books and get swept off their feet by men who were raised to hold ladies in high esteem and treat them accordingly. But I still think it’s fun to think of what Austen would do if she’d had access to the technology we have today! What are your thoughts on the matter?