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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Calling all Austen nerds

Given the attention lavished on filmed Jane Austen adaptations in the past twenty years, it was probably inevitable that, amid this decade’s celebration of the publication bicentennials of Austen’s novels, we’d begin to see celebrations of the much more recent anniversaries of Austen movies.

And so it is that Toronto Janeites will gather today to mark the twentieth anniversary of the big kahuna of Austen adaptations: the BBC’s famed Pride and Prejudice, starring Jennifer Ehle and. . . what’s-his-name. . . the guy in the wet shirt. (Forester? Firbanks? Something like that.)

The gala event will begin bright and early with a viewing of all five-plus hours of the esteemed mini-series, interspersed with “dancing, eating, sewing, drinking tea, socializing, playing historical games, and general Regency fun!” promises the event sponsor, JaneAustenDancing.

“Bring your quill pen, your embroidery, your deck of cards, or just yourself, and prepare to spend the day with fellow Austen nerds!” they add. (I might bristle at the term “Austen nerd,” except that I cannot deny its aptness.)

The celebration “will be an all-day Jane Austen-a-thon,” adds a newspaper report.

In my experience, among Janeites, opinions about Austen adaptations run the gamut, from “Nothing but the books, please” to “Anything with pretty costumes works for me.” But I think we can all agree that a day spent at a “Jane Austen-a-thon” pretty much can’t be improved upon. Enjoy yourself, Toronto -- the rest of us will think of you enviously as we sip lukewarm coffee in our cubicles.

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