Mark Mitchell, writing at Front Porch Republic, has a great article on why we need to read Austen and how both ladies and gentlemen can benefit from diving into her novels. For example, here's what he has to say about how Austen can help guys to learn to be gentlemen:
Austen’s gentlemen (I’m thinking especially of Darcy here) understand the call of duty; they are committed to family, reputation, propriety, and self-control. To be sure, Darcy takes himself quite seriously, but aren’t these pursuits serious by nature? To neglect one’s duty, to be careless of one’s family and reputation, to ignore the bounds of propriety and to indulge the appetites without restraint are not the actions of a gentleman. They represent, conversely, the behavior of a boor. Or, perhaps equally fitting, they are the actions of a male who has no sense of what it means to be a man. Such characters may be Guys or Peter Pans but they are not men and surely not gentlemen.
Be sure to read the whole thing.
Hat tip: Joe Carter