Among the Janeites Launch Party with Author Deborah Yaffe, & Giveaway!

Among the Janeites, by Deborah Yaffe 2013 It is a happy day when new books are born, especially when they come from Janeite lineage.

I am very pleased to celebrate the arrival of Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom which launches today from Mariner Books. Please help me welcome author Deborah Yaffe who has kindly contributed a guest blog sharing her inspiration to write about a topic very close to my heart – Jane Austen and her legion of fans. Enter a chance to win one of six copies available from her publisher by leaving a comment with this post. Details are included at the end of the blog. Good luck.

Welcome Deborah!

Like so many Jane Austen novels, the story of how I came to write Among the Janeites, my nonfiction chronicle of obsessive Austen-love, begins with the entail.

Or, rather, with a question about the entail, that hoary element of English inheritance law that is so crucial to the plot of Pride and Prejudice.  Months earlier, inspired by Karen Joy Fowler’s novel The Jane Austen Book Club, I’d roped several neighbors into re-reading Austen’s novels with me, and our P&P discussion had brought up an arcane legal point requiring further research.

Poking around online the next day, I decided to check out a website I vaguely recalled hearing about – the Republic of Pemberley, the Internet’s largest Jane Austen fan community.  And suddenly, there they were: my people.

See, the neighbors in my reading group were smart, insightful women who seemed to like Austen – but they didn’t like her quite the way I had liked her ever since my days as a preteen bookworm who spent every spare moment inhaling classic fiction.  They weren’t memorizing Captain Wentworth’s love letter to Anne Elliot, or worrying – really worrying! – whether Marianne Dashwood was going to be happy with Colonel Brandon. People like that didn’t live in my neighborhood; they lived on Pemberley.

Pretty soon, I was living on Pemberley, too, spending so much time there that I was embarrassed to let my husband catch me in the act, especially since I was supposed to be writing a book on a completely different subject. (“Pemberley-ing again?” he would sigh, glimpsing the familiar font on my laptop screen.)  One day, as I was telling him about this community – its quirky characters and minutely detailed arguments and delightful obsessiveness – he said, “You should write a book about that.”

When I finally buckled down to the project, I knew roughly what I wanted to cover – and not cover.  I didn’t want to write a book-length version of those news stories about Why Jane Austen Is Still So Popular, articles that seemed forever to rehash unconvincing theories about strong heroines, happy endings and Anglophile escapism.  Frankly, all that sociological stuff bored me. I wanted to know more about the people I encountered at Pemberley: what were their stories? How did they fall in love with Jane Austen? How could they all love her so much, and yet read her so differently?

Ideally, I wanted to find people whose stories would comment on aspects of the fandom that had become especially salient in recent years: the burgeoning of online networks, the explosion of Austen spinoff fiction, the popularity of Regency dress-up. Book research, with its accompanying tax writeoff, also provided the perfect opportunity to indulge my long-held desire to take the Jane Austen Society of North America’s annual tour of Austen sites in England.

Some of my subjects – Sandy Lerner, the Cisco multimillionaire who created the Chawton House Library, or JASNA’s trio of founders – were obvious choices, but others dropped into my lap fortuitously.  At JASNA’s 2009 conference in Philadelphia, Baronda Bradley sashayed into the whist room wearing the most beautiful Regency gown and feathered headdress I had ever seen. I secured her email address the next day. A year later, at the 2010 JASNA meeting in Portland, Oregon, I met Christine Shih, a nurse practitioner with an intriguing theory about Austen and borderline personality disorder; when Christine mentioned that she was about to start a therapy group using Austen novels as texts, I sent up a quiet prayer of thanks to the journalism gods. I sent up another one when Pamela Aidan, the author of the “Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman” trilogy, told me the moving story of how Jane Austen helped her escape from an abusive marriage.

Many Janeite stories later, my immersion in the fandom has left me with a deepened appreciation for Austen’s richness and complexity: everyone from devout Christians to secular feminists plausibly claims her as one of their own.  Talking with so many diverse Janeites also made me realize how often we find in her a reflection of our own preoccupations, a version of the people we want to be; I learned to recognize that same impulse in myself.  Most of all, I’ve been moved by the power of community, that very human drive to connect with others who love the same things we do.  It’s what drew me to this project all those years ago, when I first went Pemberley-ing, and it’s what continues to delight me every time I find myself back among the Janeites.

Author Deborah Yaffe (2013)Author Bio: Deborah Yaffe is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a newspaper reporter in New Jersey and California, covering education, the law, and state government. Her first book, Other People’s Children: The Battle for Justice and Equality in New Jersey’s Schools, is a narrative history of the state’s struggle to provide equal educational opportunities to rich and poor schoolchildren. Yaffe lives in central New Jersey with her husband, her two children, and her Jane Austen action figure. Visit her at her website and blog; on Facebook; and on Twitter.

A VERY GRAND GIVEAWAY

Enter a chance to win one of six copies available of Among the Janeites, by Deborah Yaffe by leaving a comment stating what prompted you to become a Janeite, or if you are not one, yet, what intrigues you about reading this book by 11:59 pm, Wednesday, August 14, 2013. Winners to be announced on Thursday, August 15, 2013. Shipped to US addresses only. GOOD LUCK!

Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom, by Deborah Yaffe
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2013)
Trade paperback (272) pages
ISBN: 9780547757735

Cover image courtesy Mariner Books © 2013; text Deborah Yaffe © 2013, Austenprose.com.

70 thoughts on “Among the Janeites Launch Party with Author Deborah Yaffe, & Giveaway!

  1. As a fellow Janeite, this book fascinates me. But more importantly, it’s always nice to read other Janeites’ stories. It amazes me that Austen manages to bring so many people into their profession – creating such an vibrant community.

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  2. The 95 S&S and 95 P&P. I went 3 times to S&S in the movie theater. I fell for Marianne Dashwood(Team Marianne! Even before meeting her, I was a fan of dead leaves) fairly quickly. Lol, upon rewatching and rereading, my regard for Elinor has grown. I read the books after seeing the adaptations. After reading the big 6, I read some fan fiction, such as the 3rd Sister. Sadly, I have not been to an AGM. However, I have been to Chawton, Winchester, and Box Hill! I’m the Adm. for a Jane Austen bookclub in Boston and maintain
    a FB and Twitter page(Austen in Boston. An Assistant Adm. maintains our WordPress acct.

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  3. I watched the 1995 P&P production while recovering from major surgery, and then searched online for more. When I found the JA fandom – and fanfiction – something inside me just clicked. Republic of Pemberley, Derbyshire Writers’ Guild, and other fandom sites were filled with women who all vibrated with love for all things Jane. I was home!

    I hope to win a copy of your book so I can read about Pamela Aidan’s story of how Jane Austen helped her escape from an abusive marriage. It sounds like a message of hope.

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  4. I first became a Janeite when first seeing the 1995 P&P. I saw the other production of the BBC and started reading the books. Since then I have joined the JASNA,

    WB I

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  5. I first came across Jane Austen at school in Britain at about the age of 14 – we had to study Pride and Prejudice for out O’level in English. The teacher would pick on someone to read aloud, I would be reading it at my own faster speed I had just fallen in love with the book. Later I read all of the others and watched the 1980 TV series of Pride and Prejudice, and seen then constantly re-read the books, and have watched all the TV/films that are made

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  6. I first read P&P for my high school english class in the 70′s. I devoured it in a weekend and went on to read all her other books in short order! A friend introduced me to JASNA in the 80′s and I became a life member although I have never been able to go to an AGM. My husband teases me that on our wedding trip we managed to “accidently” see Chawton and Winchester. Since then we have traveled to Lyme (where the lovely docents allowed my musician daughter to play the pianoforte), Chatsworth, and the Lake District! 2 of my daughters insisted on posing on the cliffs like Kiera Knightly! I have managed to have 2 of my 3 daughters love Austen. Alas, not the 3rd though we tried. We joke that the 6 hour P&P is a great stress reliever. My Kindle is full of fanfiction…I am seriously addicted! It would be comforting to read about others like me.

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  7. When I was in my teens, I obtained a very beat up copy of Sense & Sensibility that I read over and over again. Ever since then I have been obsessed with Jane Austen and her writings. Jane Austen is one of those writers that speaks to your heart….and that is why I will forever be a Jane Austen fangirl :)

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  8. It was not until the ridiculous age of approximately 63 that I became a ‘Janeite’ and that was quite by accident. A life-long non-fiction reader, I ran out of books to read one evening and stumbled upon my daughter’s overlooked college text of Emma in our library. I read it and the rest is history. On my bucket list: To revisit England and, this time, visit Bath and Chawton.

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  9. “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel must be intolerably stupid”
    “Northanger Abbey” (1817) ~So I shall brew some tea and hope I win as I am intrigued by Austen’s world and would love to curl up with a good book.

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  10. Seeing P and P 1995 movie version. That was the starting point and it just grew from there since it got me into reading at a young age.

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  11. I dont know if I count as a Janeite just yet. I started off in high school. My junior year I ran across Pride and Prejudice in the school library. I had heard about it before but never paid a whole lot of attention to it. (Went on a vacation to DisneyWorld a couple summers before and during a conversation with a British guy at Epcot, he mentioned Sense and Sensibility and saying goodbye to Jane Austen because a lot of girls he knew in England werent very proper). I remembered this conversation and picked up Pride and Prejudice. While reading it in class, one girl asked me how it was and I was really enjoying it. She said she tried reading it but didnt understand the language and that she couldnt get beyond the first page. I was in shock because it seemed so natural to me when I was reading it. I finishe dit and absolutely adored it. It was one of the first and best romance stories Ive ever read. My senioryear, I did my senior project on Prideand Prejudice and adaptations of it. Bought several different books based on Pride and Prejudice and started my blog with those. My parents bought me the 6 main novels Austen wrote for Christmas and it was one of the best presents ever. I havent finished Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, or Persuasion and I havent even finished those adaptations I bought. Im still reading and watching what I can gvien the time I have left over from attending college now. Im going to keep reading Austen and adaptations because theyre some of the best books I’ve ever read. I would absolutely love to read Mrs. Yaffe’s book so I can see where others are coming from and what they think too. It’d be such agreat addition to my budding collection.

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  12. I “met” Jane Austen just after college graduation during a delightful two weeks of summer reading while waiting for a job to start. Oh my, I read ALL of her books—an entire life’s work, consumed like a box of bonbons! —in that short time.

    But the beauty and genius of Austen is discovered in the re-reading, isn’t it? And then there is the added fun of recognizing the modern versions of her characters in real life.

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  13. It all started with the reading of P & P. I was lost. I have read all her novels and tons of spin offs and can’t get enough.

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  14. I am a devoted Janeite from way back. I enjoyed the escape that the novels provided for me and then watching the P & P movie was wonderful. I an transported to another era and place which gives me pleasure and enjoyment.

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  15. I feel that i have “met” Jane Austen anew at different times in my life: as a college student interested in romance and solid literature; as a thirtysomething young professional and mother seeking irony and wit; and as a fiftysomething economist discovering that Austen was a game theorist* after all! (*See Michael Chwe’s new book Jane Austen: Game Theorist”)

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  16. My introduction to Jane Austen was the 1980 British TV movie of “Pride and Prejudice.” I just LOVED it, but that was before VCRs etc., and that was IT, for me. Didn’t even consider reading the book — Hey, I was younger; what did I know? :-(

    Around 1997, they showed the ’95 British movie on American TV, and I was delighted! A friend asked if I’d ever heard of Fan Fiction. I found the JA websites, and I was hooked. I began at Pemberley.com with Pamela Aiden, and Ann2, still my favorite FF authors. (And Laurel Ann, I can’t omit JAMMDI, can I? You’ve got all the best JA FF authors gathered into one book — Thank you!) :-)

    People at the sites kept mentioning how wonderful JA’s books are, so I finally read P&P. I was blown away! I had thought that the movies were wonderful, and the Fan Fiction was entertaining, but the BOOKS; I couldn’t believe they were SO MUCH BETTER than the movies! Every word, every sentence, every paragraph is a GEM; Jane Austen was a GENIUS! (She’s been called the PROSE equivalent of Shakespeare and Mozart! — not bad descriptions, in my opinion. Churchill said JA’s novels helped him get through WW2, and wasn’t it Rudyard Kipling who coined the term “Janeites?”)

    So now, here I am, a Janeite at “a certain age” ;-) with all six novels (more than one copy of some) and audiobooks (they are spectacular, when you consider that her novels were written in an age when reading aloud was one of THE best entertainments available!), overflowing Janeite bookshelves, AND a new Kindle so I can finally get MORE books — YAY!

    I expect that this is more than you ever wanted to know (sorry!). This newest addition to the JA field sounds great. Thanks for the opportunity.
    Cathy Allen

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  17. I came into the Janeite world through music. I was asked to sing at an English Regency event in the San Francisco Bay Area and got interested in the rest of the groups doing things around that historic time period, including JASNA

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  18. I always “liked” Jane. Ten years ago, I was looking for quotes on the net and found “the end of the rainbow” with my dear Jane!! She made me laugh, made me ponder and made me better. I quickly re-read all of her treasures and I will NEVER be the same. Why didn’t I see her worth long ago? She is mine and I don’t mind sharing her (as long as you LOVE her like I do). Thank you for writing about my Janeite family. Hope I win:))

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  19. Being a Janeite for many years is a benefit since the novels are exceptional and in my treasures. I continue to read them when I need a journey to a place where I belong.

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  20. I have been a Jane Austen fan since about 12 years old and have always lived in a rural area. I had thought myself unique in the admiration and closeness I feel to Jane and own books about her family, her letters, and anything Jane! Imagine how thrilling it is to know you have written a book about others like myself!! I can not wait to get my hands on your book, I know I will begin reading it and not put it down until I have read every page!! It would be extremely special to win a copy of Among the Janeites, but even if I don’t, thank you for writing a book about devoted Jane Austen fans.

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  21. For me, it was all about Lizzy Bennet. I read Pride and Prejudice and just loved Lizzy. I wanted to be just like her. That made me want to read the rest of Jane Austen’s novels and here I am, a very devoted Janeite!

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  22. Congratulations on this new publication. Love Jane and all of her characters especially Lizzy and Mr. Darcy. I have been noting so many authors that I never knew of creating all these pleasant reads.Thank you for all the Janeites.

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  23. What an interesting idea for a book! I confess that the Jane Austen films captured me first and led me to the books, for which I am eternally grateful. Thank you, Colin Firth!

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  24. I read Pride and Prejudice when I was quite young, and thought it was okay. A few years later, Persuasion fell into my hands and that was it. I am looking forward to reading this book.

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  25. My path to Jane Austen began with Persuasion,which I read before seeing the 1995 film version with Amanda Root(which is the best version,in my humble opinion) and then went on to discover the rest of the books and film adaptions.

    Also done my fair share of “Pemberley-ing” and was proud to join in on their AGM trip to England back in 2002,where we visit many Persuasion sites,including Lyme Regis(which has a dress shop named Persuasion, I have a picture to prove it!) and Bath. I have explored other Austen avenues since then but do agree that it is the people you meet along the way that enhances the Jane experience.

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  26. I became a Janeite after I read P&P, which I only read because my husband wanted to go see the 2005 movie; and I was NOT about to go see a movie based on a book without reading the book first.

    So when he complains about how much time I spend on all things Austen, I tell him it’s really all his fault :)

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  27. I’ve heard such great things about this book I can’t wait to read it! My first foray into this world was seeing the 1995 version of Sense and Sensibility. I feel though that I officially became a Janeite when I bought the Complete Edition of Jane Austen.

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  28. Dear Deborah (and fellow readers),

    Because a happy denouement commonly soothes, I thought you might like an update on one of this book’s mysteries. I landed a dream job: I’m now the project manager for Wi-Fi on all the domestic American Airlines new aircraft. I spend my days planning for each new arrival of Airbus/Boeing equipment, and my children have *almost* given up pouting at me when I tell them, yes, today I do have to spend my day 10K feet above the ground, “playing” on the Internet (viewing YouTube, listening to Pandora, downloading files)… ;-)

    Thanks, Deborah, for your kind words and support that remind me to delight in my good fortune at having found Jane Austen and the many smart folks who read her. Thanks also to guiding muses Sharon Hamilton and Ute Bode for providing focus to my information mania that helped me discover my JA niche.

    –Baronda

    PS–And for your younger readers, let this book be a reminder that an advanced degree or two definitely helps in the “pin money” arena, in case you choose a hobby requiring monetary investment.

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    • Hi Baronda, it was pleasure to read about your discovery and venture into Jane Austen fandom in Deborah’ book. Thanks for visiting today and for your encouraging words to young readers. You do have a dream job!

      Best wishes, LA

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      • Hi, Baronda!

        So great to hear that you’re loving your job. For those who haven’t read the book, Baronda is a JASNA fashion maven, always appearing at AGM’s in beautiful Regency gowns. With great generosity, she gave me access to her life during a somewhat stressful period, chronicled in the book — and it’s wonderful to know that she’s arrived at a happy denouement. I’m incredibly grateful to Baronda — as well as to the other people I profile in Among the Janeites — for letting me tell their stories.

        Deborah

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  29. I don’t remember when I became a Janeite, but I love her hilariously snarky turn of phrase that makes you laugh out loud; especially when you realize that you know someone or have seen a situation _exactly_ like that! Austen understood and was able to brilliantly convey the truth of what people are really like.

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  30. I became a Janeite in college. It was natural because I love 19th century literature, especially women’s literature. At that time in the 1990s, many Jane Austen adaptations were released so I felt I had to read the books first. I spent a semester abroad in London my junior year and visited Bath and the National Portrait Gallery and the British Library in London. I’m a Janeite because her works speak to me. The older I get, the more my life resembles one of her novels! I’m attempting to turn influence my literature-hating sister into becoming an accidental Janeite by giving her daughter Jane Austen board books! This book sounds intriguing. I’d love to read other people’s stories.

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  31. Really enjoyed reading a synopsis of this new book about Jane Austen fans. I was at Jane Austen’s house in Chawton last week and saw first-hand how visitors spoke of her as a friend. :) Can’t wait to read the book! Now I have to go check out the Republic of Pemberley!

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  32. I am so excited to read this book! Thank you for hosting this awesome giveaway, Laurel Ann! I first was introduced to the wonderful world of Jane Austen watching the 2009 Emma, with Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller. I fell in love with the story and the time period. After that, I devoured all her books and searched for anything I could find about Jane Austen.

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  33. I discovered my dear Jane many years ago in our small town library where I spent many hours to delay going home until I absolutely had to. She took me away to gentler, sensitive places where I was enchanted by those characters that inhabited them and introduced me to my favorites…Lizzy, Mr. Darcy, Emma, and Anne,

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  34. I am thrilled to know this book is coming soon! I will certainly want to read it so please enter my name. I first discovered Jane Austen after being diagnosed with Lupus (20 years later to have it diagnosed as Chronic Lyme Disease) and I was the definition of fatigue. A friend from church, that I sang with on many Sundays, decided she had the answer. The 1995 version of videos must have reached our fair shores. At first I wanted to quit watching because Colin Firth’s character, Mr. Darcy, made me so mad. He was rude and so above everyone else, which I guess means that I was an early Lizzie lover. My friend told me to hang in there, that things would get better. I’m so glad I listened to her because I became devoted to all things Austen. I’ve read almost all of the books that came out in hardback or paperback until my husband bought me a Kindle. I wanted to have paper copies so I told him that I would every book, other than JA’s books on the Kindle. I have caved and bought fan fiction on my Kindle because it was less expensive than getting the paper ones. I’m still firm on any nonfiction Austen books, including the annotated, page of text on left with page of annotations on the right, versions. I have 2 different ones for P & P, the one I haven’t read to be started soon because of the 200th anniversary. I am definitely a Janeite!

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  35. I am excited about this new book. I am a Janeite as long as I can remember. Pride and prejudice was the first book I read and loved it instantly. From then on my love grows deeper and deeper.

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  36. I “discovered” Jane Austen when I saw the 1995 version of P & P, which is how many of you were introduced. I was flat out hooked; I read P & P every year and enjoy every moment of it; my husband and I watch the 1995 movie every year as well.
    I stumbled onto the Austenpose website when I was looking for a replica of the cross that Jennifer Ehle was wearing in the P & P movie; I discovered a whole new world out there that I now feel part of! (Oh, I did actually find a cross that was similar.)

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  37. I would like to be all scholarly and erudite, but I cannot tell a lie. It was the Colin Firth “Pride and Prejudice” – I saw it and was hooked. It looked like a town and a place where I should be living. I swear I was born in the wrong century. From there I read the book, and it exploded into my own always growing library of JA books, then JA movies, then JA fan fiction and spinoffs, then JA critiques and commentary. I joined the Jane Austen Society….well, you get the idea.

    There’s a space on my shelf for “Among the Janeites” – thanks so much for the opportunity!

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  38. This sounds like a really interesting book. I became a Janeite in college after reading Sense and Sensibility and Emma in high school. I got my first computer all my own and started searching for more Austen information. I found the Republic of Pemberley and haven’t looked back!

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  39. I’ve been a Janeite since I could read. I didn’t get all the nuances of the stories until I got older but you don’t have to be a genius to see how appealing and wonderful her stories are. I just recently got into JAFF but have found many wonderful books (because of your book, Jane Austen Made Me Do It). I can’t wait to read “Among the Janeites” and learn more about my fellow “peeps.” 

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  40. I read a lot of Jane Austen in college (English major!), but I have to admit, it was the 1995 Pride and Prejudice mini-series, and Colin Firth, that really turned me into a Janeite. Since then I’ve read all the books multiple times and watched every adaptation. I’ve been dying to read “Among the Janeites” since I first read about it on this blog!

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  41. I became a Janeite with 2005 P&P, then S&S with Emma Thompson, and Emma with Gweneth Paltrow. Then I bought all the books and am still buying JAFF and getting the movies. I subscribed to the catalogs of JASNA and I am always dreaming of everything I want. Thru the catalog I found out about the 200th Anniversary of P&P and found Austenprose. I now know I was only begining. I am hooked on Austenprose. I love reading everyone’s views. I wish I could give a review as well as Laurel Ann. You all make me want to read everything. I love buying books but I am willing to move all off my shelves for Jane Austen and everything pertaining to her. I can’t wait to read Among the Janeites. It would be nice if I was chosen but I am glad to be among my new found friends.

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  42. About five years ago I was sick. Had been sick for about two weeks, and was completely miserable. My good humor was nowhere in sight. A cousin, trying to cheer me up, brought over a few movies he knew I’d never seen. Among them, the 2005 Pride and Prejudice.
    I watched it on a constant stream until I got better.
    I followed up with all of Jane Austen’s novels. Starting with, of course, my cure, Pride and Prejudice.
    I’ve never looked back.
    :-)

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  43. I don’t remember when I became a Janeite; I feel like I’ve always been one.
    But the first Austen I read was S & S when I was about 16, it was probably then.

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  44. In English Lit class in college I had to write a comparative essay on the heroines of three Austen novels. I chose Emma, Persuasion, and Mansfield Park. As I delved into the characteristics and nuances that comprised Emma, Anne, and Fanny I was captivated by these three distinct characters. It was a fascinating comparison and contrast. Over my next break I read the remaining three novels and was completely and irrevocably hooked. I have definite preferences and tend not to stray to far from Austen’s original character portrayals, but I love everything Austen from biographies to critical essays to fan fiction.

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  45. I remember discovering the Republic of Pemberley back in college–HOW excited I was! I remember also spending so many hours on the amazing website! Remember their Bits of Ivory short story section? That and the Derbyshire Writers Guild introduced me to JAFF! I got especially lucky too because I went to school in Madison, where there was a big JA festival when I was there and I got to attend and hear so many famous people! Can’t wait to read this book!

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  46. I fell for P&P, loved the progression of the romance and all the subtle details. Over time, I’ve read her other books and love them all for different reasons.

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  47. I became a Janite in graduate school after a friend gave me Persuasion for my birthday. I enjoy reading Austen’s original stories plus several of the modern spinoff mystery series by Tracy Kiely, Carrie Bebris, and Stephanie Barron.

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  48. I stumbled upon the 1995 P&P movie as it was being aired on PBS and was instantly intrigued. In one of those weird twists of fate, so had several of my friends around the same time. We were all hooked and had to rewatch the movie, over and over again; seperate or together. This was in college. I think that was when I went looking for Jane Austen and all of her glorious works! I couldn’t believe how delightful the story was; until intrigued so much by the movie, I later purchased my own first copy of P&P (It was at the then outlets in Martinsburg?, WV for $1.99). I was on vacation and read the book from cover to cover. I’ve been a Janeite ever since (and my two girls were raised to love Ms. Austen as well!).

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  49. I come from a family of “great readers”–during most of my childhood we didn’t have a TV, so I did read a lot and came to the classics early. When I was about 11, I decided to read “grownup” books and asked an older brother for a recommendation. He pulled down a copy of Jane Eyre and I was hooked. After I finished with JE, I asked my mother for a recommendation, and she said that she thought I would like Jane Austen. Though our house was filled with books, my parents weren’t fond of Austen and so didn’t own any of the novels. My mom and I went to Walden Books at the Citadel shopping center in C Springs and she bought me a copy of P&P. I read it straight through, and then read it a second time straight through. Charlotte Bronte never had a chance after that!

    After reading P&P twice, I asked my mom for another recommendation and she got me a copy of S&S, from the same bookstore. There was a used bookstore in downtown C Springs, Henry Clausen’s. I used to go there with my dad on Sat afternoons when I was a kid. I found a two-volume set of Austen’s complete works, and put it on lay-away. It was $13 and it took me 13 weeks to save up my allowance for it.

    I then read the rest of Austen’s novels, repeatedly, through high school and college. When VCRs finally were invented, I got to watch the BBC adaptations (by then I had a TV) and the horrifically wonderful Olivier/Garson movie.

    After I graduated from college, my dad sent me a NYT clipping about the first AGM of the newly formed JASNA. He thought I might like to congregate with others who loved Austen too. I joined and 20 years later, Colorado finally got not just one regional chapter of JASNA but two!

    There are few constants in life, but my love of Austen is one of them.

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      • Waldenbooks at the Citadel! Henry Clausen’s! I grew up in Colorado Springs, too, so these are landmarks of my childhood (though we usually shopped at the Chinook, a wonderful independent bookstore that, alas, no longer exists.)

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        • Did you used to climb around in the monkey house in Chinook? I loved that when I was a kid. Yes, I had already moved away when Chinook finally closed, but Chinook book marks still surface from time to time in my house. I did buy my first Austen lit crit there–Bicentenary Essays, edited by John Halperin and published in 1975–it was my go-to book on Austen for years. BTW, you must be James Yaffe’s daughter–I went to CC, majored in English, but never had a class with him, somehow!

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          • Of course I played in the Chinook monkey house — didn’t everybody? And I too run across their bookmarks from time to time. (As you may have heard, Judy Noyes, Chinook co-owner, just died — very sad.) And yes, I’m Jim Yaffe’s daughter — he’ll get a kick out of hearing about this funny online encounter.

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  50. Janite-hoodness caught me by surprise. Yes, I’ve rerun the BBC’s 1995 P&P so many times that I’ve memorized the dialogue, clothing, and how many times Darcy’s horse swishes its tail after the pond “event.” Yes, my huge, gilt-edged volume of 8 of Her works has kept me company for years. And yes, I found the era intriguing. But that’s about as far as my relationship with Jane Austen went.

    Until recently. Now it’s as if I can’t get enough. I’m hand-sewing Regency garments, have joined JASNA, spend quality time fiddling with bonnet trimmings, snubbing “Regency” shoes because the toe point isn’t right…I’m a goner.

    So, when I saw this book was coming out, I pre-ordered it sight unseen. And I love it! I don’t know if I qualify as a full-fledged Janite (still have the training wheels on, you know) but I’m looking forward to meeting this diverse, interesting and sometimes downright quirky lot.

    Thank you, Deborah, for showing me the many sides of the Janites. Next year: 2014 AGM and Bath!

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  51. Pingback: Fun with the Janeites | Paul R. Waibel Official Home Page

  52. Being a lover of all things English, Jane Austens novels were no exception. But how did this fondness for an English novelist turn into , I dare say, an obcession? I am now a life member of JASNA and have travelled to England to exclusively follow her path in life there. How exactly did I turn into a Janite? And why are there so many of us out there?

    Thanks for the book giveaway!

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  53. I’ve just finished reading Among the Janeites, and I greatly enjoyed Deborah’s balanced and sympathetic portraits of a wide cross-section of us (and I do mean wide!). In fact, I enjoyed the book so much that I’ve passed my copy on to Edith Lank (who is quoted in it several times), and she can’t wait to get started on it. So now I need another copy to keep for myself!

    I was particularly glad to read the update from Baronda in the comments above, indicating that her job hunt has had a successful outcome. Whatever would an AGM be without Baronda and her wardrobe?? Looking forward to seeing her and everybody else in Minneapolis!

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  54. For me, it all started with Pride and Prejudice. I loved the book so much I wanted to read more of Austen, so I did. After that I was hooked.

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  55. I discovered Jane Austen in my early 20s (in my late 20s nowe so I am a late Janeite bloomer. I honestly can’t remember what prompted me to become a Janeite. It might’ve been the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice (I’m also certain it was) while I was looking at Kiera Knightley’s filmography. I didn’t read P&P in HS like most people do and most of my friends back then weren’t very literary so I hadn’t heard of Jane Austen until I was in my early 20s. After I watched the movie, I look at more Jane Austen adaptations, which leads to read the books and thus my love affair with all things Jane began. I joined JASNA and the rest is Janeite history.

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  56. Got into Jane’s books/movies when P.B.S. had an “Austen Fest” back in 2008 and showed lots of new Austen movies. Before that I had a few Austen books and some of Stephanie Barron’s Jane Austen mysteries.

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  57. Pingback: Jane Austen Reviews » Blog Archive » Among the Janeites – Deborah Yaffe

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