Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, heroes, and monsters

mcsweeneys_imageMy latest McSweeney’s column, Cage Match: Victorian Novelist Edition, addresses the important question of how to choose the best 19th-century writer for your side in a gang war:

Authors of marriage-plot novels might not be the first place you’d look for fighting prowess, but I see them as a deep talent pool. Seriously, go read Middlemarch and then tell me with a straight face that George Eliot wasn’t capable of terrible things. Or pick up any of Madame de Staël’s novels (go on, I dare you). Hell, Harriet Beecher Stowe started a war. These ladies knew some shit about conflict, even if they did bury it under calling cards and teacups.