Deborah Yaffe


By Deborah Yaffe, Feb 25 2016 02:00PM

Toronto, it seems, is a really great place to be a Janeite.

Last year, the local Jane Austen re-enactment community -- as best I can tell, a collaboration between JaneAustenDancing and the York Regency Society -- hosted an all-day gala celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the BBC’s much-loved 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. (Let us pause for a moment to remark upon how cool it must be to live in a place where you can use the phrase “local Jane Austen re-enactment community.”)

This Saturday, the same community is hosting a Jane Austen Midwinter Supper, featuring “a thoroughly researched, beautifully presented and delicious meal reconstructed from Georgian-era recipes.” Dishes include cold poached salmon, fried onions and mince pies. I can’t vouch for the research, but – yum.

Not surprisingly, the event is already sold out, even at a not-inconsiderable $55 per person. So no need to move to Toronto this week. But it’s something to keep in mind.

By Deborah Yaffe, Feb 15 2016 02:00PM

Just in case yesterday’s festivities didn’t give you enough of that Valentine’s Day spirit, Biltmore House, the palatial Asheville, N.C., estate of the Vanderbilt family, has the perfect solution: “Fashionable Romance,” an exhibit of wedding gowns worn in the movies.

Included in the exhibit, which runs through July 4, are gowns from the Ang Lee/Emma Thompson Sense and Sensibility, the Gwyneth Paltrow Emma, and the Jennifer Ehle/Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice. Judging from the web site pictures, the display – which includes a total of forty costumes from nineteen films -- will be a feast for costume-mad Janeites.

I’ve never been to Biltmore, but from here it looks kind of like Pemberley on steroids. If you go sometime this spring or summer, please report back!

By Deborah Yaffe, Aug 28 2014 01:00PM

Like so many of us, I retain fond, rose-colored memories of my college years, when I had nothing to do but read great books and discuss The Meaning of Life over bad coffee. (It may have been more complicated than that – I have dim memories of stressful exam periods and heartbreaking romantic disappointments – but I’ll stick to the rosy glow.)

In any case, imagine my glee at discovering that two enterprising juniors at my alma mater have founded Yale’s first Undergraduate Jane Austen Society. Google reveals that, last October, the group screened a film of Pride and Prejudice – no word on which one, although my money is on the 2005 Keira Knightley version – but I can’t find evidence of other events so far.

No matter: we all have to start small. No doubt if the founders pour themselves some bad coffee and sit down to talk, the ideas will soon materialize. Perhaps they’d like to invite me back for a speaking gig amid the rose-colored, ivy-encrusted halls. Yes, that was a hint.

By Deborah Yaffe, Sep 9 2013 06:02PM

If Jane Austen were a kitten, I'm pretty sure she wouldn't write like this. But even so, this Adopt-a-Pet ad for an adorable tortoiseshell Manx in Nashville, TN -- clearly placed by a Janeite pet-rescuer -- is pretty irresistible.

By Deborah Yaffe, Aug 27 2013 03:08AM

Now why didn't they do this kind of thing when I was in college?

Students at Monmouth College, a small, private liberal-arts school in Monmouth, IL, are planning a Jane Austen ball to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice. (This is part of the delightfully named "Summer Opportunities for Intellectual Activities" program. AKA summer school, perhaps?)

I'm most curious to hear what the "Regency-era finger food" and "Austen-themed meals" will consist of. . .

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