Dear Jane Austen:
Have I mentioned that I love you?
Yes, I love you. You are one of my role models. I am fond of your books, especially Mansfield Park. Pride and Prejudice comes in close second, then Emma. Your narratives are written with such an eye for detail that they come to life in the mind. Characters are fleshed out through word and deed with all their beauty and flaws preserved.
Maybe I shouldn’t judge your works yet, because I have not read Sense and Sensibility or Persuasion. To be sure, I was not fond of Northanger Abbey, but I judge that to be an expression of my temperament and the main character’s than a judgment of your writing style. She was foolish, and I couldn’t bear the stupidity.
If ever I was to invite three authors to a dinner party, you would be one of them. Ernest Hemingway would be another. I want to add Charlotte Bronte into the mix because you two need to work some things out, but I’m tempted to invite Jack Kerouac or Jon Krakauer. Jack might be irreverent, but you’d get used to him eventually if you don’t terribly mind being scandalized by Asian philosophies or questions like, “What is the Void?”.
I would question you relentlessly on your thoughts literature’s progression since your time. The technical skills you honed to write have all but disappeared, passion surpassing form in importance. I do not mean to say that your writing lacked heart, but books just ooze emotions – raw, dirty, uncensored emotions – these days.
If you could get over the change in style, my next question would be whether you could adjust to the subject matter. Nineteenth century courtship has been replaced by romance (I use the term loosely), vampires date teenage girls, fight werewolves and produce hybrid offspring. Wizards fling spells and ride broomsticks to the cheers of millions of fans across the globe. Detectives track serial killers through the streets, dwelling in a dark world of carnage and the macabre. Gunslingers trek through time, across multiple universes and thick tomes on a horrific quest. Entire cities are struck by plague or blindness, the world has succumbed to several zombie apocalypses and at least ten biological weapons have been thwarted. The world is much less polite a place than you are used to.
I suspect that you might not come back after that dinner party. I’ve read of your dinner parties, Ms. Austen, and they put all modern affairs to shame. Perhaps it is only the president and the Vanderbilt family who make their parties seem so lavish.
In any case, I do hope you can make dinner. The party will be on December 22, 2012 at my apartment. Please dress appropriately (we anticipate the climate to be hellish) and expect to meet Ernest and Jack; I think they’ll be happy to see you, too. You are, after all, a literary legend.