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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Trekkies in bonnets

Are Janeites just Trekkies in bonnets?

We Austen fans are used to the Trekkie comparison, which often serves as a shorthand way to disparage any enthusiastic fandom. Sometimes we embrace the analogy, sometimes we disdain it – I guess it all depends on how you feel about Trekkies.

Once again, our two fandoms have been yoked, this time in a cute item (subscription required) from the heart of Indiana: the student orchestra of Indiana Wesleyan University, an evangelical Christian school in the town of Marion, will present a concert of music from the Star Trek and Star Wars movies and from Pride and Prejudice (presumably the 2005 Keira Knightley version).

Beethoven, despite his total lack of sci-fi credentials, has also been smuggled onto the program, perhaps because he and Austen shared a birthday (Ludwig was five years older than Jane), perhaps because she owned the sheet music for some compositions he arranged, or perhaps just because the IWU piano professor wanted to play the extraordinary “Emperor” concerto. Whatever the reason, it’s all good.

Although the concert is scheduled for a week after Halloween, attendees are encouraged to come in any costume relevant to the occasion. The pointy ears of Mr. Spock, the cinnamon-bun hairstyle of Princess Leia, the Empire waist of Elizabeth Bennet – they’re all welcome, apparently.

Freshman violinist Lauren McDowell is quoted as saying that working on the concert has made her “interested in learning more about Jane Austen, though she said she was ‘raised on Star Wars.’ ”

Lauren, college is all about learning new things. Your next homework assignment: Pride and Prejudice before Christmas vacation.

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