• Deborah Yaffe

AustenTok

If you’ve ever wondered whether the shortening of our collective attention span spells doom for the appreciation of Jane Austen's complicated novels, you’ve apparently worried needlessly: According to an article that ran last month in the London Times, the sixth most popular book on TikTok is Persuasion.


The full list of twenty titles is a curious mishmash of literary fiction, genre fiction, YA, and a smattering of poetry, non-fiction, and classics. And I must admit that it’s unclear how – or, indeed, whether -- the newspaper calculated relative levels of popularity on the platform known for its micro-videos. Hashtag views? Intensity of enthusiasm? Something else? They don’t say.


But I’m not complaining! Anything that brings new readers to Our Jane is a good thing. And check out the link to BookTok-er Nick Fry’s controversial ranking of Austen’s novels. (Spoiler alert: Not an Emma fan.)


The really heartwarming thing about Fry’s TikTok is not so much his choice of Persuasion as the best Austen novel (although: right on); it’s the passionate conversation in the comments section below:


--“Wentworth’s letter is the most romantic thing in the world”

--"justice for Northanger Abbey”

--"P&P will always be my first love”

-- “We can all argue what her best is but we can agree the worst was Mansfield park”

--“I LOVE EMMA”

--“WAIT WHAT i loved mansfield park”

--“idk sense and sensibility still has a special place in my heart”


And then a sentiment that I remember feeling vividly on the day I first ventured onto the much-mourned discussion boards at the Republic of Pemberley: “I HAVE FOUND MY PEOPLE.”


Kids these days! I love ‘em! There’s hope for the human race after all.

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