Deborah Yaffe


By Deborah Yaffe, Jun 13 2019 01:00PM

Two years ago, Dutch journalist Karin Quint ran an admirably efficient Kickstarter campaign that ultimately raised more than $17,000 to fund an English translation of her illustrated Dutch-language guidebook to Jane Austen’s England. (Read about it here and here.)

I contributed my small mite and received a copy of Quint’s beautiful and well-organized book during the summer of 2017, when we were all busy commemorating the bicentenary of Austen’s untimely death. Alas, I have not been back to England since, so thus far I’ve used the book for armchair travels only. But perhaps one day I too will be clutching my copy as I follow Quint’s directions to the pond on the Lyme Park estate where Colin Firth shot his famed wet-shirt scene.

Now comes welcome word that the English version of Quint’s book will soon be available worldwide to all those Janeites who missed out on the Kickstarter appeal. A British company, ACC Art Books, plans to publish Jane Austen’s England: A Travel Guide by summer’s end and retail it in all the usual places for £15 (about $19).

Quint’s guidebook includes background on Austen’s life and times and covers places throughout England that are important in Austen’s life and work, as well as locations used in filmed adaptations of her novels. I’m not aware of a more comprehensive guide to Austen sites, so it’s great news that the book will soon be widely distributed.

“I am convinced we would not have found a publisher without this Kickstarter campaign,” Quint wrote last fall in a message to her backers. “Your support has been invaluable.”

That’s the thing about social media: It fosters the construction of fake personae, facilitates invasions of privacy, turns regular folks into drooling zombie phone-addicts, and sucks up every spare morsel of our time. But it also helps small-ish communities of kindred spirits organize for collective action. And now we Janeites have a guidebook to prove it.

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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