Deborah Yaffe

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Another Austen anniversary

By Deborah Yaffe, Dec 14 2017 02:00PM

The year marking the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s death is almost over, but one more major Austen anniversary lies ahead of us: 2018 is the two hundredth year since the posthumous joint publication of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.*


Writer, critic, and blogger Sarah Emsley, who has already curated eclectic and insightful blog series for the bicentenaries of Mansfield Park and Emma, will launch a new one on Saturday, Austen’s 242nd birthday. Running over the next six months, “Youth and Experience: Northanger Abbey and Persuasion” will include posts from dozens of Austen readers, some academic and some not, analyzing different aspects of these two very different novels.


My contribution is running at the very end, in June, since I’m writing about Captain Wentworth’s letter, perhaps my single favorite passage in all of Jane Austen. Don’t ask me how I snagged this prize; Sarah didn’t even make me arm-wrestle for it.


Emsley has a star-studded Janeite Rolodex; the contributors to her past series have exposed me to new information and ideas about everything from Austen’s religious beliefs to Regency cooking. I’m looking forward to learning more about the novels that bookended Austen’s writing career.



* “What? I’m confused! I thought those books were published in December of 1817!”

Yes, Virginia, they were, but the title page says 1818, so we’re allowed to keep celebrating all next year.


2 comments
Dec 22 2017 09:28PM by A. Marie

Huzzahs on snagging Capt. Wentworth's letter as a contribution topic (no matter how it happened)! Janeites everywhere are envying you.

And the publication date/copyright date conundrum is still popping up to this day. A lot of books (those published by the small house that employs me, among others) still get a copyright date in the year following if they come out late in the year. If I had a nickel for every time I've had to point this out to folks compiling bibliographies who keep using the Amazon publication dates instead of the Library of Congress copyright dates, I'd be flying over the Bahamas by now.

Best wishes for a better 2018 than the current U.S. political situation would give us reason to expect.

Dec 22 2017 09:56PM by dyaffe

Interesting -- I never knew this still went on, or that Amazon and LofC differed! You learn something new every day. . .

And a good 2018 to you, too!

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