Wednesday, February 22, 2012

All things Austen

Watercolor portrait, 1816 ed. of Emma
Miss Austen of Hampshire has always been well-loved, respected, and celebrated by critics and readers alike, but interest in her life and works has exploded in recent times, with Austen societies, film adaptations, book clubs, films about the book clubs, sequels to finished novels and endings to her unfinished ones, "fan fiction," bestselling mashups like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies—you name it. People discuss what books she read; blog about what clothes she wore, food she ate, places she went, and music she listened to; supply background on Regency mores and morals; and gossip about the people she liked and those she loathed. (Among the best of the many blogs on Austen are janeaustensworld, austenblog, austenprose, and janeaustenaddict.)
One hopes Austen would be amused and gratified (if not a tad dumbfounded) at her posthumous celebrity. Obviously she is a writer who continues to bring much joy and value to people's lives.
Do drop by our Austen page, where we have a goodly cache of novels, notecards, a daybook of witticisms, and more (no zombies though).
The first sentence of P&P in the "Jane Austen" font, which can be downloaded here.

Example of fan art, by Sabrina Vincent
Marvel Comics' version of Sense and Sensibility
Example of monthly desktop "wallpaper"  created by an Austenite
Now in her 90s, detective novelist P.D. James combined her two great loves—mysteries and JA—into 2011's Death Comes to Pemberly, a suspenseful sequel to P&P which garnered rave reviews. In its enthusiasm to tout the novel, NPR apparently did a "spoiler," which prompted one Austen devotee to bemoan the gaffe:
Just in case I was the only mystery or JA fan listening on Thurs. morning, Dec. 8th, I must in good conscience utter one ladylike bleat! As other listeners have by now hopefully reminded you, it is a truth universally acknowledged that interviewers of mystery novelists do NOT during the interview reveal the name of the murderer in the book described! I felt for PD. James, and for myself, as reading the book is still a future pleasure for me, now reduced somewhat by the lack of mystery!
A sample excerpt of Pemberly is available here. I am looking forward to reading it—how about you? (Luckily I didn't hear that particular NPR program!)
Footnote: For audiobook fans, professional reader Nikelle Doolin has made a free version of the complete Persuasion available on itunes and on her website.


  1. I am a huge Jane Austen fan and I really love your blog today. I had no idea that there are Jane Austen Comic Books (although I'm not surprised). Thanks for sharing all your findings.

  2. Wow I had no idea that Death Comes to Pemberly was a sequel to Pride and Prejudice. Sounds like a great read.!!!

  3. Just as Penny for Thoughts I was amazed that Pemberly was a sequel to Pride and Prejudice. I remember reading Pride and Prejudice while in high school and I was actually the only person in my class that enjoyed reading it HAHA

  4. Marvel Comics?! Wow, who knew? Also, the "zombie" mashups (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, etc) seem to have no reverence for the original text. Seems like cashing in... Alas, just a fan venting! Thoughts, anyone?