Once again the calendar rolls to December 16, also known as Jane Austen Day. We celebrate every year with our fellow Janeites, remembering the author who has given us so much joy.
We have a few links to share with our Gentle Readers. Firstly, an article in the TLS from Devoney Looser about how we imagine Jane Austen, both in images nad in our minds. Also, Looser made a very interesting discovery of an early piece by an obvious Jane Austen fan; indeed, it is fan fiction, featuring Jane Austen herself!
One particularly interesting tidbit (to us, anyway) is maybe-Mitford’s glimpse of Jane Austen’s working habits.
Fisher learns more of Austen’s writing habits. She used to write not only in the morning but at night. Kitty’s friend “had been credibly informed that it was a custom with Miss A. to sit up an hour or two, after she had retired to her room for the night, at which time she generally found her mind best disposed for those happy inventions with which she had favoured the age”.
And Looser has some interesting ideas about the true identity of the pseudonymous author.
And the likelihood is that this alternative pen portrait is by a writer who had direct contact with those who knew Jane Austen personally.
The identification of Jane Fisher as the fictional creation of the novelist Mary Russell Mitford is not air-tight, but it’s close.
What a delightful Jane Austen Day treat!
The TLS is Austen-focused in this, her birthday week, with reviews from Paula Byrne and Gillian Dow. We are unable to read them online, having apparently run into a paywall limit, so we will look for this issue in a bookstore.
And here’s another treat, with which Devoney Looser is also involved. The latest issue of Texas Studies in Literature and Language, edited by Looser and Janine Barchas, is all-Jane Austen; and in honor of Jane Austen Day, it is free for everyone to read. We encourage our Gentle Readers to take advantage of this access as soon as possible, as we’re not sure how long it will be available. Many recognizable names appear in the table of contents. Do check it out!
Please raise your glasses and join us in a toast to Jane Austen on her birthday. Let us thank her for being a ray of light, not only in this dark time of year, but all year around. Thank you, Jane, for everything you’ve given us, and happy birthday!