Memo to Truman Capote


From a 1974 article about Elizabeth Taylor, discussing her relationship with Richard Burton:

Gradually, one became aware of an excessive tension between the two: constant contradictions in dialogue, a repartee reminiscent of the husband and wife in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Yet it was the tension of romance, of two people who had made a physical, psychological commitment to one another. Jane Austen once said that all literature revolved around two themes: love and money.

Reading that, we remarked aloud, “Jane Austen never said any such thing, Charles Baker Harris.” (We refrained from adding a DOOOOOOOOO JESUS, since we like to think of ourself as being more Miss Maudie and much less Miss Rachel.) We are willing to be corrected if wrong, however. Has anyone ever heard or read of Jane Austen saying any such thing? We hope the Jane Austen of South Alabama had the opportunity to correct her old friend.

(The Church of Austenology will be holding services this Sunday.)

2 thoughts on “Memo to Truman Capote

  1. A. Marie

    There’s no such line in any of the letters or the fiction that I know of. To the best of my knowledge and belief, the closest JA ever got to talking about literary topics was the famous “3 or 4 Families in a Country Village is the very thing to work on” advice to niece Anna. So I’ll be happy to play Miss Rachel and add the “Do-o-o Jee-sus!” to your censure. (“Gamblin’ by my fishpool on a statement like that? I’ll strip-poker you, sir!”)


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