In case you were wondering how high the bar for Janeite gift-giving could be set, wonder no longer: Josh Jordan, a twenty-nine-year-old graphic designer from the UK, has bested the competition so thoroughly that everyone else might as well go home.
Jordan’s girlfriend of two years, Sophie Jackson, is such a rabid Janeite that a few years ago, she and a friend hosted a podcast, The Bennet Edit, that featured discussion of virtually every screen adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.
What do you give someone like that for a second-anniversary gift? Jordan created a Jane Austen Monopoly set, featuring locations from the novels (Pemberley claims the Boardwalk spot, natch), stables subbing for railroads, 3-D-printed cottages and mansions in place of houses and hotels, and a host of other charming details. The whole set fits inside an old wooden writing box restored by Jordan’s father.
Jordan himself is not a Janeite – indeed, he hasn’t read any of the novels, he told a local reporter – so he relied on online research to figure out which locations to include and how to price them. He even managed to maintain the surprise while quarantining with Jackson in a single room at his grandparents’ home.
Needless to say, Jane Austen Twitter was overcome with admiration, not to mention covetousness, the moment Jackson posted pictures of her gift. In between urging her to marry the guy already, many commenters suggested that he patent his game and mass-produce it for sale.
Sadly, those pesky intellectual property laws likely make this impossible, since Hasbro owns and licenses Monopoly’s trademarks, and I suspect that Janeites, passionate though we are, don’t constitute a large enough market to make this project worth Hasbro’s while. But I can’t wait to see what Jordan comes up with for a third-anniversary gift.