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Signs of Addiction
Hello, my name is Laurie, and I am a Jane Austen addict.
I make no apologies; my feelings are natural and just. My goal is to help you—not to break the cycle of your addiction, but to acknowledge and surrender to it.
If you recognize yourself in any of the following scenarios, it is time you got out of denial and into an empire-waisted muslin.
The Top Ten Signs of Austen Addiction
1. You have a tendency to forget things like your friend’s birthday and picking up the dry cleaning, but you can recite, by heart, Captain Wentworth’s letter to Anne Elliot.
And why shouldn’t you? After all, you have read Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, and Jane Austen’s four other major works no less than five times each (let’s be honest, you have probably read one or more of them as many as ten or even twenty times.) Which is why you generally lie when a friend asks you what you are reading, having tired of the odd looks you get when you are honest.
2. Your appetite for Austen grows insatiable, no matter how many times you read her six novels. And so you begin to branch out, devouring scores of books about Austen and her world, plus follow-on’s, inspired-by’s, and even the monster mash-ups.
3. Reading Austen and those inspired by her works is not enough. And so you turn to a veritable universe of Austen sites online, a Janeiverse, if you will. Consequently, you find yourself feigning work at your computer while actually reading no less than three Austen blogs and playing games such as Regency dress-up dolls or Which Jane Austen heroine are you (and hoping this time you will be Lizzy Bennet). The days begin to fly.
4. You are now behind in your work, homework, or housework because you spend half your day (and a good part of the night) on Austen forums arguing about whether Fanny Price is a prude, the admirable moral center of Mansfield Park, or the most tiresome creepmouse in literary history.
5. You spend the other half of your workday online arguing over whether Colin Firth or Matthew MacFadyen is the hottest Mr. Darcy on film. You are in serious danger of losing your job.
6. Your friends’ idea of exercise is a game of squash or a Pilates session. Yours is English country dance lessons. That is, if you could find a dance partner to go with you. Your best friend thinks you’re joking. Your boyfriend informs you that he would rather locate your preferred brand of long, thin, medium-flow, no-wings maxi pads in your local shop (his idea of a no-win, failure-is-the-only-option errand) than engage in such a fundamentally uncool activity.
7. You find a dance class where partners are not required, but no one tells you that English country dance lessons are a gateway drug. As a result of learning how to shake your groove thang like Lizzy and Darcy do, you are using the money with which you were to pay down your credit card debt for a trip to the Jane Austen Festival in Bath. There you will get to dance at a real ball. In costume. Which you’re having made. Before you know it, you’re also buying a handmade bonnet, a fan, and…well, a girl can’t get by on only one outfit, can she?
8. Your friends, family, and significant other stage an intervention in which they confront you about your addiction. After enduring their nonsensical accusations, you proudly look them in the eye and say, ‘You have insulted me in every possible method. I must beg to return to my laptop’. Where you promptly log on to your favorite Austen forum and report this outrage to your cyber-friends.
9. You give in to the pressure of non-Austen-addict friends who have been after you for weeks to go with them to a new dance club. When you arrive, your senses are assailed by the crowded, maddeningly loud venue full of hoi polloi. When someone asks you to dance, you say, ‘At an assembly such as this, it would be insupportable’.
10. It isn’t long before only your fellow Austen addicts can understand your hopes, your dreams, and your involuntary spouting of quotes, frequently mangled, from the novels and films (see #8 and #9 above). Which is why your social life now consists solely of Austen society meetings, Jane Austen book clubs, English country dance lessons, Austen movie marathons with friends from the aforementioned groups, and cyber-friendships on Austen forums. When you are alone, you re-read Austen’s six novels, her letters, and her minor works, and you have begun writing your own fan fiction.
At last, you have found perfect happiness. Until, that is, someone invents a time machine.
The preceding appeared in the fabulous blog For Romance Readers and generated the following additional Signs of Austen Addiction from readers of the blog and from Jenna Dawlish and Georgia Hill, two of the bloggers of For Romance Readers:
"I’m afraid I once got far too excited when standing outside The Red Lion in Lacock, which stood in for the Meryton Assembly in P&P ‘95, thinking ‘Mr. Darcy got out of his carriage right here!’ If only I’d thought it and not said it out loud :( Once my non AA friends had got over their laughter, I seem to remember we had a lovely meal in the pub. Not a Regency hero or heaving bosom to be seen though … And then there was the time my long-suffering hubby took me on a P&P inspired tour to Derbyshire :) …"
"I’d just love a time machine please – preferably with Mr Darcy at the controls!"
"A time machine would be great with Colin Firth at the helm!"
"On my Google favorites toolbar I have “Jane A Only”…only Austen blogs are allowed in that folder for faster browsing."
"You never pulled an all-nighter in college in order to finish homework… but you did pull an all-nighter to finish that long fabulous fanfic you were reading at the Derbyshire Writers Guild…"
"You actually know which adaptations P&P0, P&P1, P&P2, and P&P3 refer to. In addition, you have the problem of constantly wanting to refer to the 1995 miniseries as P&P2 to people WHO DO NOT KNOW THIS..."
"each time I start Mansfield Park I truly hope and wish that Henry Crawford will turn into a good guy."
"I told my husband I wanted to go to the festival in Bath and he thought I was insane. My 10-year-old daughter is an Austen addict in the making and thinks it would be a lot of fun!"
"My poor house hasn’t had a real cleaning since I found Jane."
"You know you are a JA Addict when:
Your screensaver displays one of the following:
1. Matthew MacFadyen
2. Colin Firth
3. Keira Knightley
4. Jennifer E.
5. Or Chatsworth House:)"
"JA Addicts are easily recognized…
Most people lovingly carry around photos of their spouses/significant others/Kids/Pets.
A JA addict on the other hand, will lovingly carry around photos of Matthew MacFadyen or Colin Firth:)"
"I have triplets (2 boys and 1 girl)…My daughter’s name is Emma, Colin is my first son and my second son is named after my husband…Our dog is named Mr. Darcy Dog….shall I go on?"
"I may not be an Austen addict YET, but that’s only due to lack of exposure to the “drug”. I’m absolutely Austen-curious and fully intend to turn my curiosity into a habit, my habit into an obsession and my obsession into an addiction. Can’t wait!"
And here are more signs of addiction sent to janeaustenaddict.com:
"you are addicted to JA if you started to be like elizabeth (being outgoing and lively when you're really shy...) just because you want to have a mr. darcy.."
"You have worn out your 10th copy of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE."
"You selected your spouse on the basis of his asking you to dance, his knowledge of muslin, his wit, and his kindness to his sister."
--Miriam Rheingold Fuller
"You are NOT obsessed with Jane Austen; you are simply utterly and completely devoted to her. Which is as it should be."
--Miriam Rheingold Fuller
"You arranged a research trip to England with the (secret) primary goal of visiting as many Jane sites as possible."
--Miriam Rheingold Fuller
"When you stepped over the doorway at Chawton House, you began to weep."
--Miriam Rheingold Fuller
"You have all six of Jane Austen's major works on your iPod. In fact, they were the first things you downloaded, way before you started filling it with music."
"You might even find yourself painting images of characters from the novels (or the movies) on Easter eggs. The head of Mr. Collins (David Bamber from the 1995 miniseries) makes a fine decoration."
"Apart from all six JA Novels on your iPod, you also download the soundtrack of the 1995 version or other preferred version AND as many country dances, as you can find."
--Annette from Germany
DO YOU HAVE YOUR OWN SIGNS OF AUSTEN ADDICTION TO ADD? SEND THEM TO US AT AUSTEN ADDICT CENTRAL (CLICK "CONTACT" AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE), AND WE'LL POST OUR FAVORITES HERE AND/OR ON THE BLOG. BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE...
Did you know that someone actually conducted a survey of Austen addicts and published the results? Click here to see if we really do fit the stereotype of teacher/librarian/cat-lover/tea-drinker.