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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

All the Janes

Janeites have a curious affinity for images of Our Author – even though, as I’ve noted before, we’ll never really know what she looked like. Perhaps that explains why Austen avatars keep popping up in my Google alert:

* Jane the Discreet: I’m not one of those people who feel compelled to hide spare rolls of toilet paper under adorably crocheted little covers. But if you are such a person, I suppose that crafting said cover in the image of your favorite classic English novelist . . . makes sense? Sort of?

* Jane the Artistic: Last year, donors to the North American fundraising arm of Chawton House, the English mansion once owned by Austen’s older brother Edward, were offered a limited-edition premium: “Celebrity Jane,” a bobblehead doll of Jane Austen as rock chick. The fundraiser was such a success that the North American Friends of Chawton House has created a new limited-edition bobblehead: “Creative Jane,” equipped with beret, paintbrush, and artist’s palette. She’s yours for a $250 donation, at least until supplies run out.

* Jane the Adorable: Oh, fine: It’s likely that the German shorthaired pointer recently offered for adoption by a dog-rescue organization near Austin, Texas, wasn’t named “Jane Austen” because of any actual resemblance to the great woman. But you must admit, the sad-eyed pooch is pretty appealing. (So much so, in fact, that in the days since the listing crossed my desk, she’s been adopted.) And she does apparently resemble her famously single namesake in at least one particular: According to the listing, the canine Jane prefers a home without children.

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