Deborah Yaffe

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Looking for love Down Under

By Deborah Yaffe, Jun 2 2014 01:00PM

And you thought Jane Austen was dead.


But no – she’s on the prowl for a mate, or at least a date. And she’s “an optimistic family orientated happy person who enjoys travel,” or so we learn from consulting the profile that one “JaneAusten” has posted on RSVP, which calls itself “Australia’s no. 1 dating site.”


How does the real Jane Austen stack up against the faux? Let’s see: like Aussie Jane, Real Jane was certainly family-oriented, and she liked reading about travel, even if she never made it much past Derbyshire herself. Happy and optimistic? Well, you could make a case for it, though you’d get plenty of argument.


Avid reader? Check. Likes many kinds of music? Probably check, although Bon Jovi and Il Divo were not among the choices two centuries ago.


Aussie Jane is 5'4" and athletic in build; Real Jane was supposedly “rather tall and slender,” according to her nephew’s Memoir of Jane Austen. AJ has green eyes and light brown hair; RJ was “a clear brunette with . . . bright hazel eyes.”


Ooh, this is kind of spooky. OK, Aussie Jane is probably shorter than Real Jane was, and hazel is only sort-of green, but still . . . could it be–?


Alas, no. AJ is an Aquarian (born between mid-January and mid-February), and RJ was a Sagittarian (born December 16). AJ is a single mother, a scandalous state for RJ's era, unless accompanied by widowhood. And the real deal-breaker, at least from the point of view of a nineteenth-century Church of England clergyman’s daughter: AJ is a Catholic.


Still, even if we must rule out reincarnation, let’s wish Aussie Jane well in her search for love, if only because her nom de RSVP suggests that she’s something of a Janeite herself. Australia’s a big country. Surely her Mr. Darcy is out there somewhere, wrangling kangaroos.


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