For someone who’s been dead since 1817, Jane Austen had a pretty good year in 2013.
She was honored with a set of UK stamps, and her image was chosen for a forthcoming British bank note. A not-particularly-accurate portrait of her sold at auction for more than $270,000, and a turquoise ring she’d owned was acquired by her museum from an American singer. A popular novelist rewrote Sense and Sensibility, while a political scientist found elements of game theory in all her books. And holiday gift-buyers scarfed up Austenesque tattoos weeks before Britain’s Christmastime TV viewers enjoyed a mystery-themed visit to the Darcy family at Pemberley.
A wildly popular web series called The Lizzie Bennet Diaries finished its run and won an Emmy. The annual Austen festivals in Louisville, Kentucky, and Bath, England, attracted droves of fans, unlike the appalling film Austenland, which justly flopped. And all year long – including in September, at the Minneapolis meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America -- the world celebrated the two hundredth anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice.
Jane Austen was good to me this year, too: in August, my book, Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom, was published. Many thanks to all the interviewers, bloggers, and readers who’ve talked about the book – it’s been a great pleasure to see my work connect with fellow fans of our author.
Here’s to an equally good Janeite year in 2014! Hey, all you fans of Mansfield Park (published 1814) – this is your moment. . .