The New York Times

Jane Austen Wasn't Shy

SHE WAS PROUD OF HER BOOKS. SO WHY DO WE KEEP INSISTING OTHERWISE?

It is a fiction that should be universally acknowledged: The old yarn that Jane Austen hid her writing, and was reluctant to claim credit for it, is an improbable story based on flimsy evidence. “Private,” “secret,” “mysterious” and “hidden” stick to her legacy like a wet white shirt on Colin Firth’s torso. In this, the bicentennial of her death, it’s time we tossed them out.

Interest in Austen is once again waxing, with devotees organizing celebrations of her fiction, life and legacy on almost every continent as the 200th anniversary of her death on July 18 approaches. It’s no wonder. She’s one of the best (and for some, the best — period) of our classic novelists. She’s among the most revered authors writing in English who

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