Writing about Austen in 1850, the author Charlotte Brontë said
She ruffles her reader by nothing vehement, disturbs him by nothing profound. The passions are perfectly unknown to her …
Mark Twain was weirdly aggressive in his criticism:
… her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy … Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.
Notwithstanding the judgement of her peers, Pride and Prejudice has sold over 20 million copies, spawned multiple film adaptations, and made its way onto many a high school reading list.
Emma is #9 on The Guardian’s 100 greatest novels of all time.