Deborah Yaffe is available to speak to book clubs about Among the Janeites,
either in person, when feasible, or via Skype. Please contact her for
If your book club is located in Manhattan or Brooklyn, you'll need to work
4. Among the Janeites portrays a range of responses to Jane Austen, with different readers seeing her as conservative, progressive, feminist, colonialist, etc. What accounts for this wide range of interpretations? Which comes closest to your view?
7. Arnie Perlstein (Chapter 6) thinks Austen’s books contain hidden subtexts and puzzles. Do you think great literature should be understood as coded and cryptic? How much does Arnie’s mode of interpreting Austen differ from the academic approaches discussed in Chapter 5?
8. Christine Shih and Phyllis Ferguson Bottomer (Chapter 7) diagnose Austen’s characters using modern-day psychological and neurological categories. Do you think this is a valid way to look at literature?
9. In Chapter 9, Yaffe writes, “There were Jane Austen fans before there was an Internet, but Jane Austen fandom – an international community of people bound together by a shared love for Austen’s books and their filmed adaptations – is a creation of the digital age.” Do you agree? How has the rise of the Internet affected Austen fandom?
11. The “tension between the desire for community and the desire for exclusivity probably lies at the heart of any fandom,” Yaffe writes. How does this tension play out in Among the Janeites? Do you agree that it’s a tension inherent in fandom?