Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday Intro: Among the Janeites by Deborah Yaffe


Chapter 1
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DRESSING THE PART
The bottom drawers of Baronda Bradley's dresser are filled to overflowing with kid gloves, ballet slippers, stockings, feathers, lace collars, nineteenth-century coins, smelling salts, period playing cards, drawstring reticules, a vintage sewing kit - all the accessories with which she augments the breathtaking Regency outfits she wears to each year's Annual General Meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America. A walk-in closet holds her thirty size 6 gowns - the green-and-orange with striped silk overlay, which premiered in Seattle in 2001; the flowered silk brocade day dress, from Los Angeles in 2004; the square-necked pale-pink georgette with hand-embroidered bodice; the dark red with cutout sleeves and matching long velvet coat; the lace and silk confection so daringly low-cut that, at the Vancouver ball in 2007, she armed her friends with a code word ("Shakespeare!") to deploy if they noticed a hint of areola peeking out.

Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom
by Deborah Yaffe
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013
277 pages

Today I'm featuring a review book I plan to begin later this week. Even though I don't dress in costume or attend JASNA events (yet), I still consider myself a Janeite and identify with the publisher's target audience:
For anyone who has ever loved a Jane Austen novel, a warm and witty look at the passionate, thriving world of Austen fandom. 
They walk among us in their bonnets and Empire-waist gowns, clutching their souvenir tote bags and battered paperbacks: the Janeites, Jane Austen’s legion of devoted fans. Who are these obsessed admirers, whose passion has transformed Austen from classic novelist to pop-culture phenomenon? Deborah Yaffe, journalist and Janeite, sets out to answer this question, exploring the remarkable endurance of Austen’s stories, the unusual zeal that their author inspires, and the striking cross-section of lives she has touched. 
Along the way, Yaffe meets a Florida lawyer with a byzantine theory about hidden subtexts in the novels, a writer of Austen fan fiction who found her own Mr. Darcy while reimagining Pride and Prejudice, and a lit professor whose roller-derby nom de skate is Stone Cold Jane Austen. Yaffe goes where Janeites gather, joining a pilgrimage to historic sites in Britain, chatting online with fellow fans, and attending the annual ball of the Jane Austen Society of North America—in period costume. Part chronicle of a vibrant literary community, part memoir of a lifelong love, Among the Janeites is a funny, touching meditation on the nature of fandom.
Do you consider yourself a Janeite? Does the opening paragraph appeal to you? I think this book sounds like a lot of fun.


Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.




26 comments:

  1. I don't think I've read any of Jane Austin's books, but being a Janeites sounds like a lot of fun. Enjoy!

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    1. Pat - I've wondered about getting dressed up for those meetings ;-)

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  2. Sounds tempting...and just "seeing" what's in her drawers and her closet makes me want to keep reading.

    Here's MY TUESDAY MEMES POST

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - The dress descriptions paint quite a picture!

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  3. Love the intro...I'd keep reading. Here's my Tuesday post: http://www.bookclublibrarian.com/2013/09/first-chapter-first-paragraph-32.html

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  4. Good intro! I'm not a Janeite, sorry, but those who are, are intense in their respect and affection for the author, so I know this must be a great find for you. Enjoy!

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  5. I would, too. It's funny - I've been listening to Claire Harman's book, Jane's Fame, all about how much she 'disappeared' in the decades right after her death. What a difference 200 years makes!

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    1. Audrey - I've been considering Jane's Fame, too. Will be curious to know what you think of it.

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  6. It sounds interesting. I've tried reading Pride and Prejudice a couple times but I haven't managed to get into it yet. I'll try again in a year or so. Even though I'm not a janiete, this sounds like an interesting read. I hope you enjoy it. This is my first time joining this meme. You can see my intro here

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  7. I really enjoyed this book, especially since I've met in person or online most of the people mentioned in it. I thought it was very accurate but also very accommodating--Austenmania is a very big tent, and there's room for everyone.

    The bit about the dress is wonderful. I acknowledged early in my Janeite years that wearing Regency dress was not in the cards. Personally, I don't think the styles are flattering to many people--I far prefer the Edwardian look myself, and the dress I invariably wear to JASNA AGM balls is more appropriate to Downton Abbey circa 1920 than Pemberley circa 1813.

    Hope you enjoy it--I sure did!

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    1. JaneGS - I'll take Downton Abbey dress any day! Love that you know many of these people... can't wait to get started.

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  8. I've only read a couple of her books and a biography about her, but it is my intention some day to read them all! I love her. Not sure I'd dress up like her but I think she was a woman way ahead of her time.

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    1. Sandy - Jane certainly was ahead of her time. Not sure how soon I'll be dressing like her though ;-)

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  9. I've never read any of Austen's books, but I'd keep reading. It sounds like a fun read.

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  11. I read P&P years ago, and that is about it. This does sound rather fun though. I just might read more if I had this one, but probably won't seek it out. Enjoy and thanks for joining out.

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  12. I've only read one book by Jane Austen but I want to read more.

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  13. I'd guess I'm a Janite. At least I know I love all of her boks. This sounds like a book I'd like. I look forward to reading your review.

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  14. Our JASNA chapter is going to read & discuss this in November, and I'm looking forward to it. The "Florida lawyer" with the byzantine theories (bizarre beyond words) is on an Austen yahoo groups I help moderate.

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    1. Lisa - Sounds like a fun group. I still belong to several yahoo groups and even technically still co-own one, although I haven't been active there in years.

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  15. this has been on my list -- I'm not in any fan club, but I'm an Austen fan and this sounds fascinating.

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  16. I adore Jane Austen and her books but I don't belong to any groups. This book sounds fascinating and I'd love to read about these avid fans and their activities. I hope it's the fun and fascinating read it sounds like!

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    1. Amy - I have high hopes for this one!

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