Deborah Yaffe

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Secret drinking with Jane Austen

By Deborah Yaffe, May 19 2014 01:00PM

The Jane Austen Action Figure is old hat. The Jane Austen coffee mugs and fridge magnets are routine. By now, we’re even accustomed to the Jane Austen air freshener, bandages and temporary tattoos.


But this one strikes me as irredeemably goofy. It’s not just the shock value of the cover – Jane Austen wrote seven novels only if the sixty-odd pages of “Lady Susan” get a major upgrade from novella.


No, it’s the weirdness of the whole concept that gets me.


If you’re the kind of person who carries around an emergency alcohol supply, do you carry it in a glass flask imported from Italy? (I mean, isn’t that sort of breakable? And wouldn’t a frequent tippler be exactly the kind of person likely to break it?)


And if you’ve bothered to invest in an imported glass flask, do you really want to conceal your fabulous taste inside a (hideous) faux book cover? And if you’re importing flasks and hiding them in books, is Jane Austen the author you’re going to choose for camouflage? I’m having trouble imagining the audience for this product.


And yet it’s out of stock – so presumably some secret drinker with a Janeite fetish must have bought it. I won’t be joining the club, though.



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