On Twitter, someone asked for book recommendations for Austen fans, and what came to mind was not a continuation, a sequel, or an inspired-by. It was JULIET, NAKED by Nick Hornby.
Nick Hornby is my idea of a contemporary Jane Austen. So is Zadie Smith, particularly her novel ON BEAUTY. Both authors make profound observations of human nature, give us romance without sentimentality, have a divine sense of humor, and are simply master storytellers. In my writing workshops I inevitably read passages from both Hornby and Smith.
For me, Hornby’s JULIET, NAKED brought to mind some of the online discussions that occur amongst Austen’s most devoted readers. A central premise of the book is that no matter how much the admirers of an artist’s work examine that work, study it, parse it for meaning, and become “experts,” they can never acquire irrefutable proof that the creator felt a certain way or had a particular type of experience at the time she created it. Bottom line is that it’s nothing more than speculation. And speculation is often wrong. (more…)
Ever wondered what the difference is between having read Jane Austen and being a full-on Janeite? Or where you are in the Jane Austen fan continuum? You might find your answer in this fun conversation. It’s all part of Austen in August, and if you’ve missed any of it; don’t worry, you can catch up at The Book Rat and join the party. There are lots of posts and still some giveaways going on.
Want to hear more about what Jane Austen fans have to say about their obsession with their favorite author? Check out our own signs of addiction, see what other readers have said about theirs, and you can even contribute your own!
[by Zoe B. Reprinted here with the kind permission of The Jane Austen Centre, celebrating Bath’s most famous resident]
It is a truth universally acknowledged that an English graduate with absolutely no fortune must be in want of a job.
Three weeks later…
And I landed myself with the most perfect role; dressing up in long, elegant dresses, talking about one of the most famous female authors of all time and not to mention the opportunity to see Mr. Darcy as much I want…. in the form of a mannequin. During July of this year I excitingly began working as a Tour Guide at the Jane Austen Centre, Bath and this was just the start of my Austen mania.
Three weeks previously…
I nervously stumbled up the stairs towards the Function Room of the Warminster Athenaeum Theatre, on a quiet Thursday summer evening. The room was filled with many “Janes”, “Lydias”, “Mr Bennets” and unfortunately even the odd “Mr Collins”, all anxiously awaiting their audition. However, Adela and Heather, the directors of the play, made us all feel completely at ease and it was probably one of the most laid back, enjoyable auditions I’ve ever attended.
Aaand three weeks later…
I received a phone call from Heather offering me the part of Miss Elizabeth Bennet – shocked and amazed that I wasn’t going to be playing another tree in chorus 3 again, I took it.
Conversing about Jane Austen, learning about her time in Bath, dressing up in regency costumes AND playing the part of perhaps her most famous protagonist, I really am living the English Grad’s dream and I feel incredibly lucky and excited about this very special opportunity.
Watch this space to follow the mishaps, mayhem and magic of my Austen journey.