This year we commemorate Jane Austen’s death. We certainly do not celebrate it. We feel a sense of unfairness about it, not only for our selfish sake–for being cheated out of, based on the lifespan of her parents and most of her siblings, thirty or forty years’ worth of Jane Austen novels–but naturally for Jane’s own sake. She died just before she would have reached real success–the success enjoyed by her contemporaries such as Burney, Radcliffe, and Edgeworth, all of whom she has utterly eclipsed in the intervening centuries. It is just horribly unfair. Jane gave the world such joy and never really had the opportunity to enjoy real fruits from her labor (by which we mean money. From what we can tell, Austen was never big on the whole adulation thing).
We also have great affection for time-travel stories, but within certain parameters. The method of time travel must make some kind of logical sense, and those who travel must acknowledge the butterfly effect: that even a small action in the past can change the future. Our favorite time travel novel is Time and Again by Jack Finney, which fulfills both requirements.
Thus we were naturally excited to hear about The Jane Austen Project, which not only used our beloved time-travel trope, but also included Jane Austen. Because what Janeite wouldn’t want to meet Jane Austen? That being said, this delightful premise could go horribly wrong, too; though in the able hands of Kathleen A. Flynn, we have nothing to fear. The Jane Austen Project fulfills the Editrix’s requirements: the method of time travel is not minutely described, but has rules and follows them, and isn’t completely silly; and the possibility of changing history is an important consideration to the plot.
By Jeff Kubina (Maryland Renaissance Festival) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
A couple of weeks ago we were having lunch, and had brought the book we were reading, Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld. A co-worker joined us, and asked what we were reading.
Editrix: It’s a modern-set retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Co-worker: Pride and Prejudice…which one is that?
Editrix, at a bit of a loss, not knowing how well she knew the novel: Er, well, it’s about Elizabeth, and Mr. Darcy, and, er, he’s proud, and she’s prejudiced…
Co-worker: Keira Knightley or Gwyneth Paltrow?
Editrix: Oh. Keira.
It’s good to get out of the Janeite bubble sometimes. Things become so simple.
P.S. Hey Internet! What’s up?
It’s Jane Austen’s 241st birthday today.
This is the birthday cake that JASNA’s Eastern Pennsylvania region, of which the Editrix is a member, enjoyed at our recent celebration of Jane’s birthday. The cake, from Bredenbeck’s bakery in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, was delicious as well as beautiful.
Please be upstanding and lift your beverage of choice in a toast to an authoress whose work has endured for two centuries after her death. That is an accomplishment indeed.
It is our custom for birthday posts to imagine a gift that we would like to give Jane for her birthday. It’s cold tonight at AustenBlog World Headquarters (though rather warmer in Winchester) so maybe we’ll crochet her some fuzzy slippers to keep off the chill. Our other gift is more ephemeral, and we hope it will work out. We’re going to promise to write more. More for AustenBlog, more for our personal blog, and more in general. It is rather a selfish gift, as we are doing it for ourself as well as for Jane, but somehow we don’t think she’ll mind. We have a couple of projects in the fire and hope to share them in the New Year with our Gentle Readers.
And speaking of stuff we’ve written, see the post below this one for a giveaway in honor of Herself’s natal day!
In honor of Jane Austen’s birthday, we are giving away five copies of the recently published essay collection The Joy of Jane. From the book’s website:
Although there were only six completed novels, Jane Austen left an enormous legacy when she died on July 18, 1817, at the age of only 41. The Joy of Jane brings together some of today’s leading writers and authorities on Jane Austen to offer their thoughts on her endearing appeal. They include:
MAGGIE LANE / DEIRDRE LE FAYE / SUSANNAH FULLERTON / RUTH WILLIAMSON / CARRIE BEBRIS / EMILY BRAND / PENELOPE FRIDAY / AMY PATTERSON / NIGEL STARCK / MARGARET SULLIVAN / KIM WILSON
Why yes, the Editrix has her share in the conversation, and we are honored to be included in this outstanding group of writers. Our essay is about Jane Austen as a professional author, and a little bit about what she might have thought about her current celebrity (and all the stuff that goes with it, she typed as she sipped tea from her brand-new “Janeite” mug). If you would like to purchase the book–it would make a tremendous holiday gift for any Janeite in our humble opinion–there are links at the bottom of the website linked above.
To enter the contest, post a comment below and be sure to leave a working email address in the email field. (If you are signed in to WordPress.com, that is sufficient.) U.S. and international readers are invited to enter this giveaway. Thanks to Landsdown Media for providing us with copies of the book.
ETA: to clarify how the giveaway will work, we’ll pick five random commenters below using the Random Integer Generator to match up with the comment number. Only one comment per person (the first one) will be counted as an entry. You can enter until 9 p.m. Eastern U.S. Time on Saturday, December 17. Check the email address you left in the comment on Sunday morning to see if you are a winner–you will have to send me your address to receive the book. The email will be from the AustenBlog email address.
Dutch Janeite, journalist, and photographer Karin Quint has put up a Kickstarter to have her travel guide, Jane Austen’s England, translated to English. If you pledge at least €20, you will receive a copy of the book (with an additional charge for shipping).
We know many Janeites are planning a pilgrimage to the UK to commemorate the bicentennial of Jane Austen’s death in 2017, so this book will come in handy.
They are very, very close to reaching their funding goal, and there’s a couple of days left to get in on it. We’ve backed this project–won’t you?
(And being from Philadelphia, we are on board with the Rocky references!)
UPDATE: The goal has been reached! But you can still get in on it, and get a book when it’s done.
The title says it all…the DVD and Blu-ray of Love & Friendship is available for pre-order on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. The discs will be available in the U.S. on September 6 and in the UK on September 26 (as promised by Whit Stillman).
If you do not live in the U.S. or UK, please be sure that the disc of your choice will work in your country before ordering.
DVD/Blu-ray at Amazon U.S.
DVD at Amazon UK
Blu-ray at Amazon UK