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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Jane Austen inside the lines

I was a dutiful, conscientious child who entirely lacked artistic ability. As such, I was rather a fan of the coloring book, which rewarded me for dutifully staying inside the lines drawn by someone else and conscientiously filling up every single white space.

So I’m delighted to announce that hard on the heels of the Jane Austen paper doll comes the Jane Austen coloring book – or, actually, the Pride and Prejudice coloring book. Curiously enough, four somewhat similar versions, three tied to P&P itself and one tied to a P&P fanfic sequel, have apparently been published in the last two months. (I’m still giggling over the description adopted by two of the creators: “Adult Coloring Book.” Relax: it’s not that kind of coloring book. . . )

Of these four – ahem – adult coloring books, two (here and here) feature the familiar pen-and-ink drawings of Austen’s Victorian/Edwardian illustrators, Hugh Thomson and C.E. Brock, and two (here and here) feature original art. (One of those includes scenes from P&P movies -- duly flagged, which I appreciate.)

Although many Janeites adore the Thomson and Brock illustrations, I’ve never been an enthusiast; I find their images a bit too pretty to capture the spiky Austen that I love. But I do still tend to stay inside the lines, both literally and metaphorically, so perhaps it’s time to break out my colored pencils and get back to filling in the white spaces.

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