Quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson
I am at a loss to understand why people hold Miss Austen's novels at so high a rate, which seem to me vulgar in tone, sterile in artistic invention, imprisoned in their wretched conventions of English society, without genius, wit, or knowledge of the world. Never was life so pinched and narrow. ... All that interests in any character [is this]: has he (or she) the money to marry with? ... Suicide is more respectable.
This quote is a critical opinion on Jane Austen's novels, expressing the perplexity and disdain the speaker feels towards their popularity. It suggests that they perceive Austen's works as crude in tone, lacking creativity and trapped within the limited social conventions of English society. The quote further indicates a belief that the characters' sole focus revolves around their monetary status and marriages, implying a shallow and uninteresting narrative. Ultimately, the speaker's extreme statement suggests they find the idea of suicide more dignified than engaging with Austen's novels.