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Monday, January 14

AUSTEN MANIACS: Prepare to Vex

Austenpalooza Preview

Here’s an advance peek at a sparkling epitome on Jane Austen’s media and film attraction in that bastion of urban erudite discourse, The New Yorker magazine, entitled Everybody Loves Jane, by Nancy Franklin.

Here are some the choice bits.

You remember Jane Austen—she was one of People’s “25 Most Intriguing People of 1995.” That honor, which is not handed out to every early-nineteenth-century writer—the magazine is not Regency People, after all.

Aaa ... yes we do remember her.
Reading her makes us rate: just mentioning her, just saying her name, makes us feel more clever, more discerning, more observant, and more keenly fit to understand and endure life’s wounds, including the ones that we inflict ourselves.

Ok, so I rate by mentioning her name. Jane Austen, Jane Austen, Jane Austen. I am not alone. Do I get even smarter by wearing a bonnet and muslin frock?

It’s a wonder that all parents don’t name their daughters Jane (or, hewing to the naming habits of our day, Austen), as a way of thrusting greatness by association upon them.

Jane is a good name. I can’t say that I know anyone who named their children Jane, but I do know a few dogs named Darcy.
PBS has insured that 2008 will be a big year for Austen, too. On January 13th, it began a four-month Austenpalooza, in which it will present adaptations of the six Austen novels, and a new kinda-sorta biopic—another stab at Austen’s love life, also based on letters—called “Miss Austen Regrets.”

Austenpalooza! Had to add that one to my Word dictionary. Great portmanteau

Still, the Austen logjam has many pleasing aspects—as well as aspects that will vex Austen maniacs, but, as far as I can tell from the various Web sites devoted to the author, being vexed is part of the joy of being an Austen maniac.

La! Newsflash … Austen maniacs find joy in being vexed. News at 11:00! LOL

You can read more about Nancy Franklin's hilarious observations on Jane fandom, adaptations and media mania here.

And if you would like to know where other Austen maniacs rhapsodically vex, check out these great discussion boards:

*Illustration of that sex pot Jane Austen on a computer monitor by Gerald Scarfe, New Yorker Magazine, 21 January 2008

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