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12 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Jane Austen (PHOTOS)

04/29/2011 08:51 am ET | Updated Jun 29, 2011

Sometimes I feel like everything I know about life I learned by reading Jane Austen. The funny thing is, I never wanted to read her in the first place. I was 26, a pompous young graduate student who preferred to associate himself with the big, masculine modernist heroes: James Joyce, Joseph Conrad, Ernest Hemingway, Vladimir Nabokov. Jane Austen? She was for girls. But when I had to read her for a course, I found out what an idiot I had been. Not just about her, I mean, but about everything. In other words, how much I had to learn about life. So I let her teach me. In A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter, I talk about the lessons I learned and how I learned them. Here's a sample of her wisdom: