The Side Effects of Reading a Jane Austen Novel

Also titled: You Know You’ve Read Too Much Austen and Have a Serious Problem When…


We’ve grown since the days when watching Sense & Sensibility was the tantamount expression of our devotion to Jane Austen. It’s gotten much farther now. We dare say it’s a problem we should maybe address in the near future, but as of now what can these little side effects do to harm us?

Psssh, nothing.

But if you’re curious, you truly bleed lace and wit when:

1. You start talking like you popped out of Emma…or Pride and Prejudice…or whatever book it is.

  • “Indeed!” is your immediate exclamation.
  • You can’t make an observation without phrases like “to be sure” or “upon my word” or “I dare say” tacked on the end.
  • “I suppose” and “obliged” are major components of your vocabulary.

2. People are either amiable, agreeable, or insipidly dull. (And, in rare cases, very agreeable; which, we all know is the greatest compliment one can bestow.)

3. You start thinking in a British accent.

It’s happened, and it will continue to happen.

4. You wish you could go by Miss So-and-So and call everyone by Mr. or Mrs. Their-Last-Name.

5. You’re wondering too much what it would be like to go to a ball in the early 1800’s.

6. You’ve read Austenland and already booked your trip there.Β 

Okay, maybe not really. But you want to.

7. You use every opportunity to say “Make haste!”

(Because you’ve always wanted to do that.)

8. You can relate a little too much with Catherine Morland with book obsessions gone a little too far… But we deny this. (Jane Austen obsessions never go too far.)

9. You’ve isolated yourself in your room for hours and are curled up with Mansfield Park, wishing to be left alone with you and your sympathies for Fanny.

Um, has this happened? (You know, Marie, you know…)

10. You can no longer help comparing modern heroes to Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightley.

If only…

11. You have become well acquainted with your dictionary.

12. You have a new appreciation for the semicolon.

13. You now wear a bonnet.

It’s catching, I dare say. (No, not that much.)


It’s time for me to see a doctor and get a hard dose of reality.

Β