|Image via The Philosopher's Beard|
Jane Austen wrote romantic comedies about middle-class girls looking for a good husband among the landed gentry. If that were all there was to it we wouldn't take her any more seriously now than the genre hacks published by Mills and Boon. But Austen was also a brilliant moral philosopher who analysed and taught a virtue ethics for middle-class life that is surprisingly contemporary. Appreciating this can help us understand why she wrote the way she did and how we should read her today.