Jane Austen visits the Old South
In Cocktails with Miss Austen, Alabama-born author Luisa Kay Reyes talks about learning to speak with Jane Austen's eloquence in the hall-ways of her middle school in the vanishing Amish farmlands of Northeast Ohio.
We sat down with her to find out what might happen if Jane visited her in the Old South.
I would love to introduce Jane to Southern culture. Of course, in the Southern part of the US, we've had many fine novelists writing about Old South culture - Margaret Mitchell, for example. But I just have this feeling Jane Austen would be able to write something incredibly insightful about Southern culture and American society, as a whole.
If Jane visited the US, I think she would be intrigued by the opportunities we women have today. But, also, she’d be astute enough to see through some of the facade. I’m sure she’d think many sorority girls are still as obsessed with finding a rich husband as many of the women in her novels were.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife" – I can hear her saying that today too.
I don’t have a favorite Jane Austen quote. It would be impossible to choose just one! But the following rings very true for me:
"My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company."
If I could meet her I would love to ask her how she developed her piercing insight into human nature. Her characters are so timeless, even though centuries have passed since she took her pen in hand. That, to me, is an incredible achievement. More than anything, I would like to thank her for being such an inspiration to so many over the years, for showing us how beautiful the English language can be. And for revealing to us, via her characters, so much about ourselves and our world, as a whole.
Read more about Cocktails with Miss Austen here.
Luisa Kay Reyes was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She has had pieces featured in the Fire In Machines, Hofstra University's The Windmill, Halcyon Days, Fellowship of the King, Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine and other literary magazines.
Her piece, Thank You, is the winner of the April 2017 memoir contest of The Dead Mule School Of Southern Literature.
And her Christmas poem was a first place winner in the 16th Annual Stark County District Library Poetry Contest.