Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!

Birthday Cake for Jane Austen
You can’t forget the cake!
From the birthday party for Jane Austen held by JASNA Eastern Pennsylvania Region on December 8.

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!

2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!

  1. I am all admiration for that person who decorated your cake. The roses are nice, but especially impressive is how the frosting letters fill the space beautifully without running up against each other. Jane Austen, whose letters in manuscript show a similar regard for the aesthetics of the written word, would have been very pleased, I think. (Also with the fact that people were baking cakes in her honor more than 200 years after her death!)

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  2. Happy birthday to Jane Austen!

    And thank you so much for the link to the academic journal, I was despairing that I would not be able to read the articles. Now I have downloaded all of them.

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