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Like, Comment, Subscribe: Austen and the Brontës in the Age of Social Media


Hello, dear readers! Having lived in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it is difficult to picture Jane Austen scrutinizing followers on her anonymous Instagram author account or Charlotte Brontë tagging her sister Emily in a TikTok clip compiling aesthetic images of the English moors. And yet, two hundred years after these authors roamed the earth, that’s the world we live in—obsessed with likes and follows, always hungering for the latest celebrity gossip. This twenty-first century author imagines which corners of the internet Austen and the Brontë sisters might have inhabited if they’d had access to modern social media when they were alive. Of course, my guesses are pure speculation—and all in good fun—so if you happen to disagree, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!


 

Jane Austen



It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen would be an Instagram sensation, amassing thousands of followers on her author’s account. She’d post frequently—at least once a week—sharing pictures of her books (obviously), flowers and landscapes, her sister Cassandra, and anything else that sparked joy in her life. Though not a “Bookstagrammer,” per se, Jane would delight in sharing that small moments of happiness, beauty, and love that make life so worth living.

 

Anne Brontë



Anne is a Pinterest girl, hands down. The youngest of the Brontë sisters might have been a quiet, reserved individual, but she was also resilient, intelligent, and self-sufficient. Always looking for DIY projects, new outfits to style, and recipes to try, Anne would browse the brightly colored Pinterest grid all day long if you let her. In fact, I’m willing to speculate that the exciting content she encountered on the media-based platform would even inspire her to start a personal lifestyle blog, sharing tips on how to survive youngest-siblinghood, darn socks, and write non-toxic male love interests.

 

Emily Brontë



Emily would undoubtedly keep a secret poetry blog on Tumblr, anonymously publishing her polished drafts alongside aesthetic images that fit the mood. While the account would start out small—as I doubt Emily would intentionally seek any sort of internet glory—she would gradually become an internet poetry sensation, even receiving offers of publication from major publishing houses for her work.

 

Charlotte Brontë



There is no doubt in this author’s mind that Charlotte Brontë would take it upon herself to become the Brontë sisters’ official social media manager, monitoring content engagement across all major marketing platforms—Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, you name it. In real life, outliving both her younger sisters by several years, Charlotte remained concerned with Anne and Emily’s reputation and legacy long after their deaths. If she’d had access to social media, I am certain she would have used it to her advantage, generating content to promote Anne and Emily’s writings as well as her own.

2 Comments


Sarah, this post is so fun. I love your speculations!

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thank you, maizie!! it was a ton of fun to write, too :)

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