Two years ago, Dutch journalist Karin Quint ran an admirably efficient Kickstarter campaign that ultimately raised more than $17,000 to fund an English translation of her illustrated Dutch-language guidebook to Jane Austen’s England. (Read about it here and here.)
I contributed my small mite and received a copy of Quint’s beautiful and well-organized book during the summer of 2017, when we were all busy commemorating the bicentenary of Austen’s untimely death. Alas, I have not been back to England since, so thus far I’ve used the book for armchair travels only. But perhaps one day I too will be clutching my copy as I follow Quint’s directions to the pond on the Lyme Park estate where Colin Firth shot his famed wet-shirt scene.
Now comes welcome word that the English version of Quint’s book will soon be available worldwide to all those Janeites who missed out on the Kickstarter appeal. A British company, ACC Art Books, plans to publish Jane Austen’s England: A Travel Guide by summer’s end and retail it in all the usual places for £15 (about $19).
Quint’s guidebook includes background on Austen’s life and times and covers places throughout England that are important in Austen’s life and work, as well as locations used in filmed adaptations of her novels. I’m not aware of a more comprehensive guide to Austen sites, so it’s great news that the book will soon be widely distributed.
“I am convinced we would not have found a publisher without this Kickstarter campaign,” Quint wrote last fall in a message to her backers. “Your support has been invaluable.”
That’s the thing about social media: It fosters the construction of fake personae, facilitates invasions of privacy, turns regular folks into drooling zombie phone-addicts, and sucks up every spare morsel of our time. But it also helps small-ish communities of kindred spirits organize for collective action. And now we Janeites have a guidebook to prove it.