Jane Austen & Thomas Aquinas in Dialogue on Life’s Ultimate Goal

March 2, 2015

On March 9, Br. Aquinas Beale, O.P. will deliver a talk entitled “Pursuing Happiness: Jane Austen & Thomas Aquinas in Dialogue on Life’s Ultimate Goal” to the Catholic and Dominican Institute at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY. “Is it a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen novels are full of silliness and romance? Not a few individuals consider them as the rightful property of young women fixated upon a bygone era of balls and dresses with hardly any serious merit to recommend them to the reader of more practical and serious taste. Confounding this view, these same works of Jane Austen have attracted the interest and attention of the likes of Lionel Trilling and Alasdair MacIntyre, along with many other readers of similar thoughtful and discerning character. “Perhaps the reason for the remarkable staying power of her works lies in Austen’s matchless ability to portray the various faces of human nature. In a manner strikingly similar to the teaching of Thomas Aquinas, Austen structures the lives of her characters according to the ends that they wish to achieve and the choices they make in achieving those ends. In the eyes of both Austen and Aquinas, the pursuit of happiness provides the basic shape for people’s lives. Consequently, one may not need only to search in scholastic textbooks and manuals in order to discover the secret to living a good and Christian life. One could also open the cover of Pride and Prejudice.” The talk will begin at 7:00pm on March 9.  For more information, click here.

Image:  William Hogarth, Assembly at Wanstead House, Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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