Rational Creatures is a collection of stories about Jane Austen's female characters. As our editor explains:
Jane Austen’s novels evoke romantic imaginings of fastidious gentlemen and gently-bred ladies … Yet through her veiled wit, honest social commentary, and cleverly constructed prose in a style ahead of her day, Austen’s heroines manage to thwart strict mores—and even the debauchery of Regency England—to reach their fairytale endings. But have you never wondered about her other colorful characters like Mary Crawford, Hetty Bates, Elinor Tilney, Louisa Musgrove, et al.—and how they came to be?
In Persuasion, Mrs. Croft says, “But I hate to hear you talking so, like a fine gentleman, and as if women were all fine ladies, instead of rational creatures. We none of us expect to be in smooth water all our days.” Those words have always struck me as terribly modern and I have wondered what Mrs. Croft might have been thinking of when she said those very words to her brother Captain Frederick Wentworth. I believe several of Jane Austen’s characters might have had feminist sensibilities, even if they yielded to the expectations of their sphere. It is our intent that in this collection of backstories or parallel tales off-stage of canon to remain true to the ladies we recognize in Austen’s great works—whilst stirring feminism in the hearts of some of these beloved characters. Thus, our title was born. Rational Creatures.
I always wanted to know more about Penelope Clay's story -- why was her marriage "unprosperous"? What was she talking about with Mr. Elliot when Mary and Anne saw her from the window of the White Hart Inn? In my short story, all will be revealed!
Watch for the release of Rational Creatures in October of 2018!