Thursday, May 07, 2009

The World Jane Built

I reckon I enjoy a good laugh as much as anyone, and according to the reviews I've read of the above book, some Austen fans think this is really funny, while others are not amused one bit. Maybe even a little huffy.

Jane Austen has had a definite influence on fiction, and the number of modern day novels she's inspired is impressive. I've already mentioned Stephanie Barron's
Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor: Being the First Jane Austen Mystery, and I believe I wrote a review of Karen Joy Fowler's The Jane Austen Book Club, and perhaps one on Bridget Jones's Diary, by Helen Fielding, but these examples are just lone cobs in an immense silo, stored up and ready to be devoured. The latest kernel is Mr. Darcy's Diary, by Amanda Grange.

Of course, not all of these Austen-inspired tomes are about Pride and Prejudice--Joan Aiken has written a sequel to Sense and Sensibility, called Eliza's Daughter, and also The Youngest Miss Ward, which takes off from Mansfield Park, one of Austen's lesser-known stories.

I was pondering this subject after coming across, in that old used bookstore in Chicago, an old collection of Jane Austen's juvenilia, or the stuff she wrote as a kid. They were asking way too much for it and it wasn't in good condition, so I left it behind. But just think: she's so famous, popular, and speculated-about, that her childhood and teen aged experiments have been published and studied.

Jane Austen died early, at 41, and rather poor. So much talent, so little attention, in her time. During her lifetime, all of her novels were written "by a lady," not Jane Austen (Persuasion and Northanger Abbey were published posthumously).

When I'm feeling that life is dull and a little depressing, it helps to think about how I define dull and depressing. I am certainly living better on less work than my counterparts in the early 1800s, and I can't complain that I've been sitting around a parsonage all day with very little to read. Good thing Jane had her imagination.

So. Happy Friday, everyone! Have a glorious weekend.


And just one more thing: What is with all the zombie books? Do they plan to take over the fantasy genre?

And, I can't resist:


Tom & Icy said...

We love zombies!

cooper said...

I don't think I cold stomach the book. I do enjoy Austen and have kept all her books. Zombies and Jane Austen will have to stay seperate on my bookshelves.

What a life she'd have now. I supposed she be making the publicity circuit and we'd get quite tired of seeing her.

Happy Friday to you as well.

Nessa said...

Zombies never die.

I could never live as Jane and her counterparts did. I'd end up on the streets just to have some fun and relieve boredom.

Doug said...

I love the ending of that Monte Python.


TLP said...

I love the video!

I do love Jane, and most of the stuff written on her behalf too. But I understand there would be no Zombies.

The Lazy Iguana said...

Everything is better with zombies. It is a fact.

Just think of how boring "Night Of The Living Dead" would be without the zombies. It would just be "Night Of the Regular Dead" and nothing would happen. The sun goes down, everyone goes to sleep, then they wake up the next morning and go to work.


Scarlet W. Blue said...

Jane's juvenile work "Love and Freindship" [sic] is in the anthology of women's lit I use. It's really funny.

Buffy said...

I wonder how different she would have been regarded were she a man. And when I wonder that...I get annoyed.

Can't wait to read the Zombie book.