Monday, September 2, 2013

The Janeiac Brainiac

[Click to see the details—they're hilarious. Illustrations by Peter and Maria Hoey; game by Mary Jo Murphy and Jennifer Schuessler; all copyrighted by The New York Times.]

The NYT came up with the game to join in the wave of Janeophilia that's been going on in America, the UK, and elsewhere in the world on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the first publication of Pride & Prejudice.

I would like to confess right away that I succumbed, too. I'm the recent owner of a Pride & Prejudice board book—the story in 12 words.

Over the past two decades, prequels, sequels, retellings, fan fiction, switching point-of-view characters around, changing period setting around, zombiefying and vampiring of the stories, and so on have kept numerous writers very busy. The consumption rate of the reading public has been voracious and this year, more and more writers are joining the Janeites.

These two interesting nonfiction books take a look at the phenomenon: Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom by Deborah Yaffe and Global Jane Austen: Pleasure, Passion, and Possessiveness in the Jane Austen Community by Laurence Raw and Robert G. Dryden.

Other than a publishing cottage industry, there have been a spate of other related Jane activities. The most notable among these was Kelly Clarkson's quarter of a million dollars at an auction for a gold and turquoise ring owned by Austen. Unfortunately, the British culture minister refused to allow the ring to leave the country, because he says it's a national treasure. The other notable event was the issuing of the 10 pound banknote with Austen's face on it that I mentioned on August 28.

You can even get Austen-themed teas from Bingley’s Teas by Julia Matson. Wicked Wickham and Mr. Knightley's Reserve are especially popular. And for those of you suffering from borderline personality disorder, Christine Shih uses Austen's works in her counseling practice. More such fan extensions can be discovered HERE.