It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen has millions of fans for whom she hasn’t grown a year older. That said, it has been 200 years since her most famous novel, Pride and Prejudice, was published, on 28 January 1813, and the rowdy literary celebrations are just kicking off.
So before someone calls the cops and spoils the fun, here are a few Austen tidbits for all you unruly fans out there:
Why? For Germaine Greer, who re-reads the novel every five years, the answer is simple: “Pride and Prejudice is the matrix on which all Harlequin romances are built. It’s the best-selling plot-line in literature.”
Here’s a link to the rest at the Independent, which offers an excellent article on Pride and Prejudice in its myriad forms.
To avoid anachronisms in her own historical works, Mary Robinette Kowal, author of Shades of Milk and Honey and Glamour in Glass has created (and shared!) a dictionary of all the words used in Jane Austen’s collected works. You can find it on her website.
A Jane Austen Bicentennial Moleskine mini-journal is available here as a tangible souvenir of the bicentennial. I’ve ordered mine!
The Jane Austen Centre, at 40 Gay Street, Bath (Jane lived there for a while, but disliked the place intensely) will host a 24-hour celebrity-packed readathon on 28 January.
Googling Jane Austen Bicentennial will yield myriad tasty tidbits for Janeophiles, but possibly the most exciting, up-to-the-minute, and downright audacious find is this: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: an Online Adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Lizzie Bennet and her friends post a twice-weekly video diary on several platforms that by all accounts does a wonderful job of bringing Jane’s most celebrated literary child to the 21st Century.
So happy birthday, Pride and Prejudice. And well done, Jane.
Posted by Bridget McKenna