I first wrote about My Jane Austen Craze with a blog post on May 30 of this year, 2016. I recounted my misunderstanding of Jane’s work and writing – and that I had just read Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible (a modern re-telling of Pride and Prejudice) straight through – twice. And had then gone to the library to pick up the P.D. James mystery based on P & P, Death Comes to Pemberley. Little did I know at that time what I was in for!
I had also not read a word of Jane’s actual writing. I had seen two plays at the Cincinnati Shakespeare based on two of her books – Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility, over the last several seasons. I have a vague recollection of seeing a movie some years back called Mansfield Park, which I’ve only discovered is a Jane book. Also, since one of my great pleasures at the holidays is just to read mysteries of the particular season (be it Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s, Thanksgiving or Halloween), I had read Stephanie Barron’s Jane and The Twelve Days of Christmas. Which I then gave away the following year as a present. That likely wouldn’t happen now. Unless and until this condition has abated.
Since May 30, my extremely busy self, also coping with family tragedy, delight, and more tragedy, has managed to read a book (also made into a movie, which I have not seen) called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies; read Jane Austen Made Me Do It – Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress; read eleven more of Stephanie Barron’s mysteries with Jane Austen as the detective (the most recent and currently last one is on my bedside table); and three of Jane’s six books (just finished Persuasion last night).
And now, I am facing the end of this journey. Jane and the Waterloo Map was just published, with a lapse of several years since the last one – and Stephanie Barron has wandered off to write a mystery about Queen Victoria, among other work – besides which, her series, which mirrors Jane’s life and travels, is running out of available time, since the most recent book is set in November of 1815, and Jane left the planet in July of 1817. Only a year and a half to go.
And I have a mere 3 of Jane’s books left – Mansfield Park, Emma (which I’ve read an Alexander McCall Smith re-telling of) and Sense and Sensibility.
I have no idea how this addiction ends, but somehow I don’t see myself reading all the pastiches and parodies, short stories, science fiction, books about Vampire Jane and other works based on hers. I may just have to go cold turkey.
Wish me luck!