‘Public discussion of Austen’s work tends to focus on heterosexual romantic relationships, but the female networks that surround her heroines deserve equal analysis and weight—because of what they tell us about Austen’s time, but also about our own. These networks have endured since the Regency era because they are still sadly necessary. A shitty man taking advantage of you can still ruin your reputation as thoroughly as in the Regency era, albeit in a different way than a Lydia Bennett or Maria Rushworth. But as Austen hints,the most important thing to learn, as a woman trapped within a patriarchal society, is how to befriend, trust, and above all talk, to other women.’
Elyse Martin discusses how Austen’s novels find echoes in modern day ‘whisper networks’, and discusses how her stories depend on the dynamics of her characters’ friendships with other women.