• Deborah Yaffe

Raising Jane(ites)

Long ago, I danced at a JASNA ball with a twelve-year-old girl who, when I asked if she was a Janeite, told me that she had “been raised a Janeite.” (Her mother was Austen scholar Janine Barchas, of the University of Texas at Austin.)


Now, another of those Janeites-from-the-cradle is making her mark, with an entertaining online book exhibit that traces approaches to Pride and Prejudice through multiple editions and appropriations of the novel.


Emma Brodey – a Yale University senior whose mother, Inger Brodey, is an Austen scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – curated the exhibition, “Publication & Prejudice,” for Yale’s library system, which gives two students per year the opportunity to turn a course-related research project into a library exhibit.


Brodey’s exhibit uses more than twenty books in the Yale library collection, including an 1813 first edition of P&P, an 1832 edition published in Philadelphia, and a slew of more recent appropriations, from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to fanfiction, a graphic novel, and a children’s board book.


“This exhibition tells a visual story of how a book can be changed by its publishers, and by its readers,” the online text explains. “We’re told not to judge a book by its cover, but the way a book looks tells us how to understand what we’re reading.”


Accompanying the exhibit, which went up in April and will run through January, is a six-minute video interview in which Brodey, an English major, talks about the genesis and development of the project. All in all, it’s a testament to exemplary Janeite parenting.


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