Sunday, March 02, 2014

Among the Janeites

by Deborah Yaffe

Confession #1: I own a Jane Austen bobble head.

Confession #2: I own two versions of Pride and Prejudice on DVD.

Confession #3: I do not consider myself a Janeite.

What is a Janeite? A Janeite is a loyal devotee of the late, great Miss Austen and her novels. But a Janeite does not stop there. A Janeite writes fan fiction (yuck). A Janeite owns and wears gowns from the Regency era. A Janeite enjoys over-analyzing Miss Austen’s novels. I am not a Janeite.

Ms. Yaffe is a Janeite and sets out to meet other such folks. And write about them.

Honestly, I would characterize most of these people as kooks. I do not know what Miss Austen would call them. Odd. Strange. I do not know.

As an avid reader, I don’t feel so strongly about any one author. I enjoy the works of many authors. As such, I have a difficult time understanding the whole Janeite phenomenon. Mostly, I was disappointed by this book. To me, these so-called Janeites are just plain weird.

Who wants a closet full of empire-waisted gowns? And don’t get me started on those esteemed authors of fan fic. Ms. Yaffe cites two specific authors of such drivel, both of whose work I have read and strongly disliked.

As I was reading, I kept thinking, “Give it up, people! Get a life!” This just was not the fun read that I had hoped it would be.


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