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Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom Paperback – August 6, 2013
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From the Back Cover
For anyone who has ever loved a Jane Austen novel, a warm and witty look at the passionate, thriving world of Austen fandom
They walk among us in their bonnets and Empire-waist gowns, clutching their souvenir tote bags and battered paperbacks: the Janeites, Jane Austen s legion of devoted fans. Who are these obsessed admirers, whose passion has transformed Austen from classic novelist to pop-culture phenomenon? Deborah Yaffe, journalist and Janeite, sets out to answer this question, exploring the remarkable endurance of Austen s stories, the unusual zeal that their author inspires, and the striking cross-section of lives she has touched.
Along the way, Yaffe meets a Florida lawyer with a byzantine theory about hidden subtexts in the novels, a writer of Austen fan fiction who found her own Mr. Darcy while reimagining "Pride and Prejudice," and a lit professor whose roller-derby nom de skate is Stone Cold Jane Austen. Yaffe goes where Janeites gather, joining a pilgrimage to historic sites in Britain, chatting online with fellow fans, and attending the annual ball of the Jane Austen Society of North America in period costume. Part chronicle of a vibrant literary community, part memoir of a lifelong love, "Among the Janeites" is a funny, touching meditation on the nature of fandom.
About the Author
DEBORAH YAFFE worked as a newspaper reporter in New Jersey and California for more than thirteen years covering education, the law and state government. She lives in central New Jersey with her husband, her two children, and her Jane Austen Action Figure.
Top customer reviews
Deborah Yaffe offers a fun and fascinating look at Jane Austen fandom that took hold `across the pond'. The book is broken down into three parts and walks the reader through the mob of obsessed Janeites and the various levels of `zeal' they radiate. There are the purists who avoid the remakes and updates, the quiet devotees who keep their adoration to themselves, and those who go all out by dressing up and completely immersing themselves in all things Austen! As someone who fits into all three of these categories )I belong to JASNA but have never dressed up) I appreciated hearing stories about others who share my passion. Yaffe writes about the founders of JASNA, what it is like to attend a JA conference, and includes numerous backstories on authors of well known remakes and 'Happily Ever After' stories.
I found this to be fun and enjoyable! It helped me to realize I am not alone in my admiration of all things Austen and my devotion could be a lot worse! Great book for true Austen fans!
No, I don't dress up for JASNA meetings (I am a member, however), but since I do happen to wear baseball, football and hockey jerseys to sporting events, I see no problem with people dressing up in Regency clothing for JASNA events. Empire waist dresses are not my thing, but if it makes them happy, then so be it. But being a Janeite is not about who can wear the most authentic frock to a Regency ball. It's about the love one has for the characters and stories created by Jane Austen. They are timeless. The very fact that Amy Heckerling's "Clueless" is one of the best adaptations of Austen's "Emma" out there shows just how timeless Austen is. Austen is a brilliant observer of human nature, and we haven't changed quite as much in 200 years as people would like to think. Austen's work has been translated into different languages, different cultures and different centuries, and the stories are still relevant.
As for the book itself, it was a lot of fun. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves Austen. It's a quick read, and a very enjoyable one.
Luckily for Deborah Jaffe, many have. Ms. Jaffe explores the feverish devotion Jane Austen inspires in those who love her. There are many websites where you can share your writing inspired by the Regency author, as well as societies (clubs) where you can meet up with fellow devotees and even dress the part. And I have read quite a few continuations of her books. I personally think that Elizabeth Aston does a great job of continuing the lives of Elizabeth and Darcy and any progeny. I didn't care for The Bar Sinister, written by fan Linda Berdoll.
This book is mostly a fun romp through the exploration of why Jane Austen continues to find new fans everyday, what hidden meanings may be found in her writing, and whether or not Ms. Austen was the maiden lady history paints her as. At times, it does plod underneath the weight of information that the author was able to gather. But for true Janeites, it's an enjoyable read. I look forward to exploring some of the reference material Ms. Jaffe used in her research.