The advenure continues as intern Virginia Claire Tharrington reports in on her experience at The Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England.
Jane Austen goes abroad and comes back to Bath!
Last week was on mid-semester break so I was off to Amsterdam and Prague with my friends for the several days. But this week was not spent separated from Jane Austen. No, on the contrary I bring her where ever I go! So naturally I was not only reading Mansfield Park on my travels but also picking up copies of Pride and Prejudice in both Dutch and Czech. I am a collector of copies of Pride and Prejudice and though I have several copies in other languages I did not have one in Dutch or Czech. I thought it was very strange because it took me much longer to find a shop with P&P in it in Amsterdam than it did in Prague. Several of the book stores I went in Prague had the whole Austen set plus a biography while in Amsterdam it took me 3 days to find a store with just P&P. I thought it was remarkable that both copies had Keira Knightley on the cover. This was the only thing that bothered me because many people know how I dislike the newest version of P&P and that I hate that it gets referenced to the book. I guess little can be expected and that if someone sees the movies and then sees a book cover that makes them pick up and read the book then it may be ok but I cannot stand the movie taking the place of the book.
I think it is so amazing that Jane Austen is so international. She has been translated into countless languages and though I have several different languages, I know I am nowhere near the total number of translations. It is remarkable that so many people all over the world can be drawn to one English middle class woman writer who was writing about the English countryside and just a few families in it. But Jane is so much more than that I feel. She deals with timeless issues like love, family and money and I don’t know more significant themes for today’s world though we take them on very differently. Her wit is timeless as well as her irony. Though I cannot read Czech, I can tell you what, “Světem panuje skálopevné přesvědčení že svobodný muž který má slušné jmění, se neobejde bez ženušky“, means. It is one of the best lines in the literature, “It is a true universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” I guess it is universally acknowledge because this line has been translated to languages all over the world!
But now I am settled back in Bath with two new copies of Pride and Prejudice and very happy to be back at the Jane Austen Centre. I was home sick a little for the first time over break and I think that was because I was not at the Centre which feels so much like home while I am in Bath. I know it sounds cliché but the staff at the Centre is so wonderful and I enjoy being around them so much that it really feels like a little family. Being back has been wonderful though we have been very busy because of half term in the schools. Some of my housemates have started to come to the Centre to hear my talk and take the tour, though they have all heard my talk because I practiced on them before I started giving them at the Centre. The girls really enjoyed my talk and then we went up and had a lovely snack in the tea rooms before going down to the exhibition. All and all, it has been good to be home in Bath and back at the Jane Austen Centre, though when I go abroad Jane comes with me ; ).
Cheers until next week.
Virginia Claire Tharrington
Intern, The Jane Austen Centre, Bath, England
Read Virginia’s previous reports in the Austen Intern archives