Guest Post & Giveaway: Among the Janeites! (#AustenInAugustRBR)

JASNAbanner.

Last fall, the Jane Austen Society of North America staged its annual conference, a yearly blend of the high and the low, the seriously academic and the gleefully pop. As I strolled past the tables of hopeful authors assembled for a mass book-signing, one accidental pairing seemed to encapsulate everything I’d learned about Janeites while researching and writing Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom.  Sharing a table were Lori Smith, a devout Christian whose memoir, A Walk with Jane Austen, explores how her own commitment to premarital chastity resonates with Austen’s lifelong virginity; and Linda Berdoll, the author of three bodice-ripping Pride and Prejudice sequels featuring explicit descriptions of Elizabeth and Darcy’s energetic sex life.

It’s tough to pigeonhole Jane Austen enthusiasts.  For my book, a non-fiction report from the trenches of fandom, I interviewed – among others – a Texan with a closetful of Regency gowns, a speech pathologist who believes Austen wrote about autism, and an English professor whose roller derby nom de skate is Stone Cold Jane Austen.  They all find something different in the pages of Austen’s six great novels.

pride_and_prejudice_largeMy own Austen-love goes back to childhood: a voracious reader of classic fiction, I cracked open Pride and Prejudice the summer I was ten.  Although I attended my first JASNA conference as a college freshman, it wasn’t until the early 2000s – some twenty years later – that I discovered the Republic of Pemberley, the largest online Jane Austen community, and realized how differently Jane Austen could be understood by people who all professed to love her.  Her ironic, deceptively simple stories seem to license a wide variety of interpretations; she’s been plausibly described as everything from complacent Tory to rebellious feminist. 

Although every Austen movie release or notable anniversary inspires a spate of articles laying out The Exact Eight Reasons Jane Austen Is Still So Popular, the truth is that Austen appreciation can seem like a literary Rorschach test: we Janeites find in her a reflection of our own preoccupations, a version of our ideal selves. (I see her as a cool, detached observer with a sharp edge. Draw your own conclusions.)  Ultimately, however, I think the kaleidoscope of interpretations does reflect something real about Austen – the richness and depth of her work.  We all find ourselves in her because, in a sense, she contains us all.

Post contributed by Deborah Yaffe, author of Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom (releasing August 6, 2013).    


About the Author:

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Deborah Yaffe is an award-winning journalist and author, as well as a lifelong Jane Austen fan.  She lives with her family in central New Jersey, USA.

Follow her on Twitter (@DeborahYaffe) and drop by the Among the Janeites Facebook page.

Read more about Deborah Yaffe here.

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About the Book:

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“Visit the world of rabid Jane Austen fans – the people who wear Regency costumes to Jane Austen festivals, spend hours online arguing about Mr. Darcy’s love life, and pore over dozens of modern sequels to Pride and Prejudice. Deborah Yaffe’s Among the Janeites is an entertaining, affectionate non-fiction look at this quirky subculture, by a writer who is both an experienced journalist and a lifelong Janeite.” 

Giveaway: Congratulations to the winners of our giveaway of Among the Janeites: Jackie of jackiemania and Shannon of River City Reading !  And thanks again to Deborah and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for their participation and generosity!


A Walk with Jane Austen by Lori Smith

Books by Linda Berdoll

Among the Janeites by Deborah Yaffe

The Republic of Pemberley


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24 thoughts on “Guest Post & Giveaway: Among the Janeites! (#AustenInAugustRBR)

  1. The Janeite subculture fascinates me — I would love to read your take on it in your upcoming book! 🙂 I am particularly intrigued by all the spinoff books. It’s a downright phenomenon.

    jmanni AT uarts DOT edu for the drawing!

  2. I have always been amazed by how everyone takes Jane Austen’s novels in a different way. It is so true that we each read books with our own character and preconceived ideas that are different from everyone else’s. I love Jane Austen for her emphasis on family and friendship. I also love the subtle lessons to be learned that she puts in her different characters.

    I would love to read “Among the Janeites”. Will have to add it to my list!

    kdholley88@gmail.com

  3. This sounds like a really fun book to read! Before I started actually reading Jane Austin’s work, I loved the movies inspired by her novels, and that is what drew me into to her world. I can’t think of another author who has inspired so many movies, plays and books. T\hank you for posting! Sign me up for the giveaway. Denise@antarcticempire.com

  4. I really don’t know anything about the fandom, but it sounds fascinating how there are so many different kinds of people fastening on to the Janeite tag. Sounds like a neat book. jean at roadq dot com

  5. I was offered a copy by Shelf Awareness, an online newsletter, and immediately snapped it up ago I could read it for this event. I’ll try my luck in the giveaway, add it would make a great gift, or even a giveaway on my blog. Lauratfrey at gmail.com

  6. I had two moments really close together when I realized that all walks of life like Jane Austen…when I learned that my male, athletic, and very non-Austen English professor was the head of the local Jane Austen Club chapter…and then I saw the spin off of Pride and Prejudice with zombies and vampires that I can’t think of the title of. Your post was very eye opening as well…and I’m sure your book is too! kimberlyhawks808 at gmail.com

  7. It sounds so interesting. I would really enjoy reading it. Thanks for having this giveaway.
    ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

  8. I would love to win and read this book–I plan to read it regardless of whether I win it, but winning is always nice! Not only that, the cover absolutely cracks me up. janetgs-at-gmail-dot-com

  9. I am so looking forward to reading this book. I can’t wait to peel back the layers and read more about ‘my people’. If anything, having the book on my shelf will prove to my husband that I am by no means the only crazy Janeite out there 🙂

    • hmoll (at) nycap (dot) rr (dot) com
      apparently reading and following simple instructions is beyond this Janeite

  10. Pingback: Fun with the Janeites | Paul R. Waibel Official Home Page

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