Many people wonder how life was for Jane Austen as she sat at her small writing table and created works during a time when women were limited. It was frowned upon for women to choose a career, such as writing novels, over motherhood. Although, one could argue that Jane gave birth to plenty of children, as gleaned in the voices of Elizabeth Bennet, Elinor Dashwood, Anne Elliot, Emma Woodhouse, Diana Parker, Mary Crawford, Lady Susan Vernon, Fitzwilliam Darcy, and more. With all those lives and stories she created at her writing desk, it makes a person wonder what Jane’s desk would say if it could talk.
(If Jane’s Desk Could Talk, by Gayvin Powers)
If Jane’s desk talked, I wonder how it transformed before her eyes as she journeyed to new lands, locations, and relationships. This is Jane’s desk (above) located in The Jane Austen House Museum in Chawton, where Jane wrote her last two novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.
This artistic piece, If Jane’s Desk Could Talk… is an expression of what I imagine Jane experienced while writing. When a writer invents literature, everything becomes magical; the writer’s creative space becomes vast jungles, adventures through time, and Roman cities from centuries past. The desk becomes the foundation of which grounds these epic journeys that come to life from the writer’s mind.
When I think of Jane sitting at her writing desk, I envision her lost in creativity, enraptured with colorful journeys to places near and far, telling of love and relationships where Jane’s keen observations and imagination took her beyond the limitations of being a woman during her time.
Art by Gayvin Powers