Like Larba (ooo, bad nickname), Persuasion is my favorite Austen. The passion, man, the passion. It’s gorgeous. And the older, more mature characters. Larba describes the main character perfectly: “if I ever write a romantic heroine as strong and principled and honourable yet not boring or annoying as Anne Elliot then I will die a very happy writer.” AUGH! I am not capable of talking about this book intelligently, because it is amazing. And I haven’t read it in a long time.
I do have a soft spot for Northanger Abbey, but I can’t argue with Larba’s point that the romantic pairing is pretty unequal, as much of it as I remember, anyway. Of course, that says something about our culture that we prize the virtues of Mr. Tilney more than we prize what we see as the non-virtues of Catherine. Normally I’m the one arguing against purity, innocence, and naivety as ideals for young women, but I think that it’s maybe a bit extreme to say that she has nothing to teach Mr. Tilney. But I haven’t read this one in a long while either, and unlike Persuasion, I’ve only read it once.
A quick recap on the others: P&P probably clocks in in second place (what is with the cultural obsession to rate things? bizarre, I tell you) and, it being the most well known Austen, I don’t think I have to say anything about why it’s amazing. NA probably comes in third, because while the romantic pairing is unequal, it is laugh-out-loud funny, Mr. Tilney is amazing (he’s my second favorite hero after Captain Wentworth from Persuasion), and it is a rather wonderful parody/response to the Gothic romance novels of the day. Emma in fourth, because I am squicked by the romance (I fell for it while I was reading it, but then squicked out again as soon as I set it down) and because I think here the unequal pairing bothers me more than in NA (possibly because I have read it more recently). Mr. Tilney is amused by Catherine, but Mr. Knightley acts like Emma’s father which is far more disturbing to me. MP in fifth, because I cannot stand Fanny or Edmund. And I have never read Sense and Sensibility. I should get on that. *runs off to Daily Lit*