A Resurgence of Jane Austen
Several people believe Colin Firth’s stellar two-year “flirt” with Oscar – first with a spectacular performance in “A Single Man” and then in “The King’s Speech” – led to a resurgence of Jane Austen’s popularity. In the 1995 BBC mini-series, Firth played the enigmatic Mr. Darcy from Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and a legion of Austen fans cheered on his most recent successes. Obviously, I am one of those fanatics, and although I have never noted the total absence of Jane Austen mania, I have seen the rise and fall of her popularity in modern culture. I write Jane Austen adaptations, as well as Regency era romances, and have seen firsthand the scramble of traditional publishers to snap up Jane Austen fan fiction (known as JAFF) for publication. I did not come to the publishing world in such a manner, but I have many Austenesque friends who have known a bit of notoriety as an Austen-inspired author.
Recently, I received a note on Facebook from a former student, who I would say “fought” me tooth and nail when I insisted upon teaching the beloved Pride and Prejudice to his AP class. He attended a film production school at the university level, and upon his first post graduation interview, the 20s something production staff described a screenplay they were considering. My student said, “Oh, that is just like Pride and Prejudice.” When the others were not as informed on Austen as my student, he explained the basic plot of P&P and earned the job. I laughed at his message for I always told him that he needed to know something of Jane Austen for some day he would be on “Jeopardy” and the final question to win all would be “Who is Jane Austen?” I was half right.
For a more detailed analysis of this “new” phenomena – this Austen mania – read the article below from The Star.
Almost 200 years after her death, it is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen and her works have found new life in the online world.
But these days, there’s another, real-world reason for all the interest in the 19th-century novelist: English actor Colin Firth.
Beloved among fans for his portrayal of Mr. Darcy in the famed 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice.
Firth was the reason “a lot of people got hooked on the novels,” said Deidre Lynch, an English professor at the University of Toronto, whose Austen classes typically have as big a wait list as the classes themselves.
But, she added, that’s too simple an explanation for Austen’s ever-growing legion of fans. Social media, too, have given Austen a second life.
Austen is on Twitter — well, fans tweeting in her name — and is the subject of countless Facebook fan pages that grow daily, one with almost 850,000 “likes.” Devotees have created aFacebook newsfeed version of P&P, and others post videos to Youtube in Austen’s honour, from serious scene recreations to hilarious send-ups.
“It’s like votive offerings to Jane Austen, as if she were a saint,” said Lynch, editor of Janeites: Austen’s Disciples and Devotees.
In her current undergraduate class on romantic poetry and prose “Austen makes a few appearances,” she said. “The students would probably prefer more.”
Publishers often have trouble keeping up with demand for Pride and Prejudice.
There has been “a pretty steadily increasing Austen presence in popular culture — but not much of that really connected to the books Austen wrote,” noted Elaine Bander, president of the Canadian chapter of the Jane Austen Society of North America.
To read the complete article, please visit, http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/books/article/934803–jane-austen-is-back-thanks-to-colin-firth
Austen-inspired titles by Regina Jeffers (Visit www.rjeffers.com for excerpts, events, etc.)
Darcy’s Passions: Pride and Prejudice Retold from His Point of View
Darcy’s Temptations: A Sequel to Pride and Prejudice
Captain Frederick Wentworth’s Persuasion: Austen’s Classic Retold from His Point of View
Vampire Darcy’s Desire: A Paranormal Pride and Prejudice
The Phantom of Pemberley: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery
Christmas at Pemberley: A Holiday Sequel
The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery
The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery
Honor and Hope: A Contemporary Romantica Based on Pride and Prejudice
(releasing in 2015) The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery