In honor of Veterans Day and Armistice Day, a link to the text of Rudyard Kipling’s story “The Janeites,” about a group of British World War I soldiers who loved Jane Austen. Thanks to all the men and women of the armed services of the U.S., the UK, Canada, Australia, and all our allies for their service. And thanks to Alert Janeite DeeDee for posting a link on Facebook and making us think of it!
‘Well, as pore Macklin said, it’s a very select Society, an’ you’ve got to be a Janeite in your ’eart, or you won’t have any success. An’ yet he made me a Janeite! I read all her six books now for pleasure ’tween times in the shop; an’ it brings it all back—down to the smell of the glue-paint on the screens. You take it from me, Brethren, there’s no one to touch Jane when you’re in a tight place. Gawd bless ’er, whoever she was.’
Edited because the U.S. is not the only country commemorating this day.
3 thoughts on ““There’s no one to touch Jane when you’re in a tight place.””
Her books were even ‘prescribed’ in the military hospitals as a way of helping shell shocked victims. Wonderful.
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I wonder if that’s where Kipling got the idea for the story. He was certainly a Janeite.
Last year, as it was the centenary of the outbreak of World War I for Canadians, our November JASNA meeting was themed “War and Remembrance”. We performed a dramatic reading of Kipling’s story – very simple props, no costumes, just plan black clothing. It was both funny and poignant, if not a little challenging as it is very long piece to read out loud. It was not something most of us would have read on our own. We book-ended the meeting with poems about the Napoleonic war from Austen’s time and then a couple of published poems about World War one written by Elaine Bander after she toured the war graves in France and Belgium. (Elaine was until last year, RC of the Montreal JASNA Region.) Your article reminded me of what a moving piece Kipling had fashioned for us.
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