Curtis Sittenfeld on Austen and Feminism


Curtis Sittenfeld, author of the latest release from the Austen Project - Eligible, which is a modern take on Austen's well-loved Pride and Prejudice, said that she didn't set out to explore Austen's feminism or to write a feminist novel, yet that's what she thinks she has ended up doing.

"For women today marriage is no longer the only version of ‘happily ever after’," said Sittenfeld. "For most 19th-century women financial wellbeing – which was closely linked to, if not synonymous with, their overall wellbeing – relied on marrying well."

Sittenfeld made clear in the article which she wrote for The Guardian what she wanted to bring to her modern take on Austen's classic.

"As a novelist, I wanted to illustrate that there is no longer just one version of “happily ever after” A woman can marry a man and have children with him. She can also marry a woman, or no one – and she can eschew or embrace motherhood regardless of her romantic status."

Refusing Mr Collins in Pride and Prejudice was a bold, and some would say feminist move, for Lizzy Bennet. Not so much today, so we look forward to seeing what a modern-day feminist Lizzy Bennet gets up to in Sittenfeld's novel.


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