Deborah Yaffe

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By Deborah Yaffe, Dec 12 2016 02:00PM

Miss Bates has an optimistic outlook on life (“It is such a happiness when good people get together -- and they always do”) but not necessarily an accurate one. Alas, sometimes good people don’t get together.


But score one for Miss Bates! Remember that Kickstarter appeal I wrote about last month, the one aimed at funding an English translation of Dutch journalist and Janeite Karin Quint's guide to Jane Austen sites in England? Last week came word that the campaign succeeded in raising more than $17,000, enough to pay for the book.


The book won't be sold in stores, but those of us who ponied up our money on Kickstarter are assured of our own copies – the planned drop date is July, coinciding with the bicentenary of Austen’s death. And now comes word that Karin Quint has also taken pity on those of you good people who didn’t get your act together in time: for the next few months, you can get your own copy here.


By Deborah Yaffe, Nov 17 2016 02:00PM

Jane Austen’s novels are filled with tourism: think Catherine Morland in Bath, Elizabeth Bennet in Derbyshire, the Dashwood sisters in London, or Anne Elliot in Lyme Regis.


Perhaps it’s no wonder, then, that Janeites themselves are indefatigable Austen tourists, making pilgrimages to the writing desk at Chawton cottage, the Cassandra sketch in the National Portrait Gallery, or the various stately homes alleged to have inspired Pemberley.


Unsurprisingly, all this Austen tourism has given rise to a niche genre: the Austen travel guide. A quick search on Amazon reveals at least a half-dozen: Austen-themed guides to Bath, London and England as a whole; walking tours and motor tours; traditionally published, lavishly illustrated hardbacks and slender, self-published ebooks.


Nevertheless, I was intrigued by the recent announcement of a Kickstarter campaign aimed at financing an English translation of yet another Austen guide -- this one originally published two years ago in the Netherlands.


At three hundred-plus pages, Jane Austen’s England, by Dutch journalist and Janeite Karin Quint (read an interview with her here), appears to be more comprehensive than other Austen guides I’ve seen: it covers places across England that are important in Austen’s life and work, as well as locations used in filmed adaptations of her books. Quint even offers four- and five-day Pride and Prejudice-focused tours.


Judging from the online photos and samples, the book seems to be nicely written and illustrated, and the table of contents is a mouth-watering reminder of just how many wonderful places in England can legitimately be included on an Austen tour. Even if you’re just an armchair traveler, the book looks like a useful reference tool, as well. (That’s my story, at least, and I’m sticking to it.)


Plans call for making the translation available only to Kickstarter backers, so if you’re interested, you have to pony up your €28 (about $30 – covers the book and postage to the United States) before December 7.


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