What Would Jane Do?

September 7th, 2005 · 3 Comments
by Booksquare

While we wait in vain for a decent production of Northanger Abbey, we like to contemplate Jane Austen’s reactions to her increasing popularity. One would have thought her star would fall (or shoot or whatever it is that stars on the wane do) about the time Hugh Grant donned a cravat. Instead, Pride and Prejudice is being made into a motion picture event for like the thousandth time.

Not that we’re complaining, but it does feel a bit strange. Shouldn’t we do a bit of Edith Wharton worshipping as well? C’mon, it’s time to spread the love. After all, shouldn’t more dead authors be entitled to Austen-like success? Though on further consideration, there’s something a bit terrifying about the whole thing:

The UK’s multi-million pound Austen industry is gearing itself up for a busy autumn.

Mr Baldock said the centre was unashamedly commercial. An Austen festival it is organising later this month will include events such as Taste and Tasteability (already sold out), at which visitors will sample the sort of foods enjoyed by the writer, and “Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating” – a chance to find out which Austen character would be your ideal romantic match.

And then most of them were tempted into the Jane Austen Centre’s gift shop, where they could choose souvenirs ranging from Austen fridge magnets to tea towels, from Austen cross-stitch kits to goat’s-milk soap.

In practically unrelated news, we’d like to bring your attention to a new book by some very smart women:

CHICK-LIT MASTERPIECE, published by BenBella Books, edited by bestselling author Jennifer Crusie and including original essays and stories from an eclectic bunch of writers, has just been released. Contributors include: Beth Kendrick, Jennifer O’Connell, Laura Caldwell, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Jo Beverley, Elisabeth Fairchild, Adam Roberts, Shanna Swendson, Lauren Baratz-Logsted, Jennifer Coburn, Laura Resnick, Sarah Zeitel, Teresa Medeiros, Lani Diane Rich, Mercedes Lackey, Jane Espenson, Melissa Senate, Jill Winters, Cheryl Sawyer,
Michele Cunnah, Erin Dailey, Joyce Millman, Alesia Holliday, and Karen Joy Fowler.

File Under: Square Pegs

3 responses so far ↓

  • mapletree7 // Sep 8, 2005 at 7:15 am

    Apparently, Colin Firth’s title as sexiest Austen hero is not in jeopardy.

  • Caro // Sep 8, 2005 at 7:29 am

    I’ve seen a preview screening of the P&P. The film was still being edited when I saw it, but there are some definite problems (most especially Donald Southerland as Mr. Bennett, who felt like he was phoning in his performance). It’s two-thirds of a good film, but I’m not at all certain it’s going to have the success Emma or Sense & Sensibility did.

  • Booksquare // Sep 8, 2005 at 7:35 am

    Well, considering most of what Hollywood has released recently, 2/3 isn’t a bad thing. However, I’m going to reiterate my plea for Northanger Abbey…it’s got screwball comedy written all over it.

    How come I only get invited to screenings for old lady film (g)…

    And Colin Firth remains Austen’s sexiest hero…on screen anyway.