December 16th is Jane Austen's birthday. For the lucky Jane fans in Boston, WGBH is celebrating the event at their studios from 1-5 pm tomorrow (December 9th) by discussing the author’s legacy, trying out some period dancing, and previewing Masterpiece Theater’s The Complete Jane Austen. Click here for details.
A Critic Shows Off and Ms. Place Attempts to Put her in her Place
I replied to Julia Braun Kessler, author of Murdering Miss Austen. After reading Ms. Kessler's article, I could not sit still and remain quiet. While Austen.blog has already covered this topic, no one left a comment at the bottom of Ms. Kessler's article at the California Literary Review website. Well, I did, and here is what I wrote:
Wow! Such strong language from a writer seeking to distinguish herself from the hordes of other writers who have written banal and opinionated articles about Jane fans and Jane products. Sorry, but scores of us are actually interested in Jane as a literary person and as an historical figure. We are genuinely interested in acquiring as much accurate information about her as possible and disseminating it. As a group we rarely bicker, except with smart mouthed critics who attempt to demonstrate their wit and superior knowledge through Jane fan bashing, but who fall woefully short of the mark.
Ok, so there are Jane fan clubs, Jane icons, Jane videos, Jane conferences, Jane dances, Jane fashion recreations, and Jane paraphernalia out there. And yes many people have used her as their symbol for whatever cause, feminist or not, they would like to promote. So what? These events do not detract from the fact that Jane Austen's insights are still relevant, and that she wrote great literature that still speaks to so many readers today. In addition, the Regency Era was an exciting period, one that not only evokes Regency misses in muslin gowns; but the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and an era of social revolution. This was a time of war and turmoil, and important advances in scientific research. Jane Austen was a product of all these events, and many of us attempt to place her in context of that fascinating era.
Sign me a Vulgarizing, Sentimentalist, Moon Juner, and the author of Jane Austen's World blog. I spew forth bi-weekly posts about my goddess. Amend that. Sign me an admirer of Jane Austen who loves to share her historical research with others.