I missed all of these gems at the time, but have picked them up via Austen-tatious Blogspot
Originally from Litrix, some brilliant one line descriptions of novels eg Persuasion: "You're never too young to be an old maid."
There's an interesting article on fiction at Times Online, which talks about giving great works a happy ending, in line with popular preference for a happy ever after:
"Madame Bovary could also do with some cheering up. How about this: Emma marries Charles, a terrifically entertaining and virile country doctor, they have eight children, someone invents Prozac, Emma buys an Aga and wins first prize for home baking at Yonville agricultural fair."
And how to douse the cheer on others:
"And since we are making unhappy endings cheerier, for the gloomy 2 per cent there are ways of rendering happy endings a little darker, starting with Jane Eyre: The original “My Edward and I, then, are happy” needs another clause “. . . or we would be, if that bloody Bertha hadn’t found the fire escape.”"
The perspicaceous article then goes on to say:
"Even though Austen ended all her books with a definitive full stop, dozens of imitators have added sequels and prequels . . . Most are embarrassing pastiche . . ."
So he obviously hasn't read Darcy's Diary then :-))
But I really like this, explaining the huge amounts of fan fiction and embarrassing pastiche:
"Great fiction continues to run on in the imagination long after the last page."
It's about as good a definition of great fiction as I've ever come across.