Jane Austen was “light, and bright, and sparkling.” [1]

Jane Huang is light, and bright, and sarcastic.

The title of this blog is taken from a couplet written by James Falen, a Russian professor who wrote the best English translation of the Russian poem Eugene Onegin. The couplet is,

Strictures, structures, though they bind
Strangely liberate the mind.

If you’re wondering what the meaning of the quote, “If only we stopped trying to be happy, we could have a pretty good time” is, it’s something like this–all the bad things in the world have been the result of people trying too hard. Imagine what peace the world could have if every would-be king, tyrant, slavemaster, boss, and abuser said to themselves, nah man, oppressing people is too much like work. Imagine what our family lives would be like if collectively, we said, you know what? We have enough stuff now. Let’s work less. Imagine if we stopped trying to look as beautiful as an Instagram model, or as ripped as an action star. Imagine if we stopped worrying about living up to an impossible, abstract ideal of the good life. Imagine if we could stop trying so hard to find a life better than what we have now, and just be.

[1] Jane Austen, on describing her masterpiece Pride and Prejudice: “Upon the whole… I am well satisfied enough. The work is rather too light, and bright, and sparkling; it wants [i.e. needs] shade; it wants to be stretched out here and there with a long chapter of sense, if it could be had; if not, of solemn specious nonsense, about something unconnected with the story: an essay on writing, a critique on Walter Scott, or the history of Buonaparté, or anything that would form a contrast and bring the reader with increased delight to the playfulness and general epigrammatism of the general style.”

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