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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Meme-ing of Jane

Janeite creativity, while most obvious in the groaning shelves of fanfiction based on Austen’s novels, isn’t confined to any one medium: we’ve got YouTube videos set to pop songs, handmade jewelry and at least one amazing cake.

And we have memes -- stills from Austen movies adorned with more-or-less clever captions, the best of which allude wittily to Austen lines. The good people of, a web site that covers arts, entertainment, food, travel – just about everything you might do in your spare time, in fact – recently scoured the farthest reaches of the internet and compiled what they seem to think are forty-nine Austen-related memes.

I really did enjoy these, especially #6 -- Colin Firth as a melting and smitten Mr. Darcy, captioned, “Hey Girl, I love that you have improved your mind through extensive reading.” (Is there a bookish girl out there who hasn’t dreamed of hearing that from someone who, well, looks like Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy?)

So I hate to spoil the fun by insisting on accuracy. But pedantic party-pooper – designated driver of cyberspace, if you will -- is my role. And so I must point out that three of these supposed Jane Austen memes have nothing to do with Jane Austen.

#32 alludes to Jane Eyre, which, despite the fiendishly tricky coincidence of first names, is still a book by Charlotte Bronte. #35 and #37 refer to Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, which, while sometimes compared to Pride and Prejudice because of its first-she-hates-him-then-she-loves-him plot, is not, in fact, an Austen novel.

But hey! Enjoy your memes, kids! Just label them correctly, OK?

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