By KATHY STUTZMAN
Warsaw Community Public Library
It’s Jane-uary! It’s a time to celebrate Jane Austen’s influence in our world today. Her ideas transcend time and she continues to inspire today. Did you know all her works were self-published except for Pride and Prejudice?
I became a Jane Austen fan (a Janeite) two years ago after reading some of the contemporary versions of her work at Warsaw Library and viewing several movies based on her books. This led to reading books written by Jane Austen herself.
I began devouring the books we had on our library shelves and became immersed in her world. So much so that I attended a Jane Austen festival in Louisville, Ky., last year and even made three dresses to wear during the event … a day dress for strolling among the vendors and attending informative classes, a tea dress for a Regency period tea party, and a ball room gown for the evening ball.
From the seminars, I learned that all her works except for Pride and Prejudice were self-published, what current researchers now believe killed her, and I heard about some newly discovered letters written by Jane in England (which haven’t been released yet). I was fascinated by a fashion show of both men’s and women’s fashion styles from the Regency period. (Did you know that men’s shirts were typically knee length and were used for both sleeping and wearing during the day? AND all that material had to be stuffed into their pants!)
For those unable to attend an event of this type and want to learn more about Jane Austen, consider reading from the large number of our Jane Austen-related library resources. Warsaw Library has contemporary versions of her writings, several Jane Austen biographies, and a vampire-hunting Jane Austen series. This is in addition to both contemporary and BBC movies based on her books and books written personally by Jane Austin.
Here are some resources to make your Jane Austen journey one of fun and discovery:
Jane Austen in Boca/Paula Cohen: A twist on Pride and Prejudice featuring a nice Jewish widower who needs a wife. The Bennett daughters are recast as elderly Jewish widows in this kvetchy take.
The Jane Austen Companion to Life: Read quotes about the real life, memorable characters, and charming wit of Austen.
The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen/Syrie James. What if, hidden in an old attic chest, Jane Austen’s memoirs were discovered after hundreds of years? What if those pages revealed the untold story of a life-changing love affair?
The Jane Austen Book Club/Karen Joy Fowler: DVD. Six wonderful, flawed people meet once a month to discuss Jane Austen’s novels. Each chapter focuses on an Austen book and the life of the book club member hosting the meeting that month.
The Dashwood Sisters Tell All/Beth Pattillo: Inspired by Sense and Sensibility, it follows two modern-day sisters as they tour Jane Austen’s England and uncover what might actually be Jane’s long-lost diary.
Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict/Laurie Rigler: Has a 19th Century Jane Mansfield switching bodies and milieus with contemporary L.A. girl Courtney Stone. As Jane grasps the idea that she’s a different person in an unimaginable world, and grapples with the radically liberal social mores, dress and language, she leans on Jane Austen’s novels as touchstones to reality.
What Jane Austen taught me about love and romance / Debra White Smith. Explores the lessons about love and romance revealed through Austen’s beloved stories—Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility, and others.
My Jane Austen Summer/Cindy Jones: Jane Austen fan Lily jumps at the opportunity to travel to England to re-enact Mansfield Park. While there Lily thinks she may finally realize her dream of living in a novel. But even in England, where she is immersed in a literary festival so rich it seems Jane Austen is present, her problems find her.
Becoming Jane. DVD. The young Jane Austen wishes to be a writer. Her mother thinks otherwise. Although she is offered many marriage proposals she accepts none until the mischievous Thomas Lefroy shows up and turns her world around. At first she finds him ignorant and self centered but as she gets to know him, they start to flirt and eventually fall in love. Eventually, the affair ends and Jane begins to write some of her greatest works of all time.
Jane Austen Ruined My Life/Beth Patillio. Professor Emma Grant has always had faith in the happily-ever-after depicted by her favorite author, Jane Austen. But where’s Emma’s happy ending when she discovers that, instead of a Darcy, she’s married a Wickham who both breaks her heart and destroys her career? Emma sets off for England on a quest to reestablish her academic credibility by tracking down the lost letters of Jane Austen and finds a romantic adventure of her own.
Warsaw Library has an amazing 180 resources related to Jane Austen, making it difficult to choose which to list. So, I attempted to list some that you might not be familiar with. Unlisted resources include Jane Austen’s writings: Mansfield Park, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and others. I encourage you to read these original writings. Think of them as an adventure in reading and compare the new modern stories to her original writings as you read along.
Rediscover your library! For people of all ages, the WCPL is the place to go. Visit us and find out for yourself! For more details on these programs, call 267-6011 or go online to www.warsawlibrary.org. Get the latest news on our Facebook page (warsawpubliclibary) and visit our Pinterest account (warsawlibrary) for craft ideas, educational info, recipes, and more.